If you were to open up your email right now and take a look through your inbox, how many unread messages do you think you would find? There's likely quite a few in there. Maybe even hundreds or thousands.
Data from Statista reports that in 2021, there were an estimated 319.6 billion emails sent and received daily around the world. And that number is expected to rise to 376.4 billion by 2025.
However, many of those emails aren't actually getting opened or read, especially if they're coming from retailers. The average open rate for emails in the retail industry is only about 33%, with click-through rates averaging at less than 1%.
With our inboxes flooded with hundreds of emails each day, how are business owners expected to break through the clutter to get their message across? Is it even worth the effort?
Despite the challenge, sending a perfectly tailored follow-up email is an important part of sales outreach and may be the difference between earning a sale or not.
In this blog post, we'll give you a step-by-step overview on how to craft the perfect follow-up sales email that actually gets opened, read, and responded to.
Why should retail sales associates send follow-up emails?
Before we jump into our tips on the art of email follow-up, let's go over why it's important for retailers to put in the effort in the first place.
Here are just a few reasons setting up a follow-up email sequence is important for retailers:
- They remind customers of products they were interested in: Let's face it. We're all busy, and sometimes well-intentioned customers simply forget they were planning to buy something. A quick email may be all it takes to jog their memory and close the sale.
- They give sales reps an opportunity to build stronger relationships: When a customer reads a personal email sent to them touching base on their most recent customer experience or their latest purchase, it shows them you really care. This builds customer loyalty and elevates your brand.
- They encourage repeat business: If your sales team gets into the habit of sending a follow-up message after a customer has made a purchase, they can share similar products that the customer might also enjoy, encouraging them to come and shop with you again soon. This done big things for your customer retention efforts.
How to write the perfect sales follow-up email
Given that email outreach can have such a powerful impact on your sales, customer retention, and overall brand reputation, it's crucial for all of your sales professionals to be trained on how to write a great message.
Below we've outlined a step-by-step process that will help you and your team craft an effective sales follow-up email every time.
Step 1: Start with a strong subject line
First, the email subject line is arguably the most important part of any sales email. After all, nothing written inside will get read if your customer isn't interested enough in the email subject line to actually click on it.
When writing an email subject line, avoid generic phrases like, "Just wanted to check in!" or "Did you see my original email?" We all get dozens of messages like this every day, and they don't get opened.
Instead, treat your email subject line like a teaser or trailer, giving your customer a sneak peek at what's waiting for them inside. It also helps if you include their name, or even the product they purchased or showed interest in, so there's that extra personal touch.
So try something like, "Matching cufflinks came in that match your suit, Taylor!" or "Jackson, is that ring everything your wife hoped for?" These email subject lines are far more compelling, and prove they aren't just mass messages that everyone gets.
Step 2: Personalize your message
We touched on this a little bit in the first step, but make sure that your message is personalized. Customers can tell when a message is templated, so don't try to cut corners by sending out the same exact message to each of your shoppers.
Although, it can be helpful to use an email template to save time. Just be sure to switch out personal details for each one so it doesn't feel automated or sloppy. Nobody wants to get an email with the wrong person's name on it because you forgot to switch it out.
Personalized emails always perform better, and recent data is proving that it's increasingly what customers expect. McKinsey & Company reports that 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
Step 3: Include a special offer or incentive
Next, it never hurts to sweeten the deal by sending your email recipient a discount or special incentive to encourage them to come into the store.
For example, let's say you own a furniture store and you have a couple come in to look at dressers. You have a quick chat with them while they're looking and learn they are moving into a new home and want to upgrade a few pieces for their new bedroom. However, they leave the store without buying anything, promising they'll be back in a couple of days.
Instead of waiting for them to return on their own (which might never happen) you could send a follow-up email with ideas on products you think they might like for their new bedroom. To make their decision even easier, you could offer a bundle deal on a dresser and matching bedside tables to encourage them to come back into the store and buy all of the pieces.
Step 4: Set up automated reminders to follow up
While sending out impersonal messages in mass is a bad idea, automation can still play a part in ensuring your sales team is sending out emails without sacrificing personalization. Rather than automating a generic message to go out after a trigger event, you can set up automated reminders to notify a sales associate when it's time to follow up with a client.
A client management tool like Clientbook is a valuable resource for tasks like these, as it allows you to set up unique follow-up sequences and automatically remind your sales team when they need to check in. That way, you get the best of both worlds. Automation without losing the personal touch.
Step 5: Measure your results
Finally, the last step to any email campaign is to test it and see how it's working. There are several metrics you could use to see how things are going, including your delivery rate, open rate, response rate, conversion rate, and number of bounces.
If your messages aren't getting opened, it may be time to review your subject lines and test different ones. Or, if you're noticing your emails are getting opened, but have no replies or clicks, you may want to add more relevant content in the body of your email, or include a more personalized offer.
It's also important to remember that email isn't the only way for your sales team to reach your customers. Depending on your audience and the communication style they respond to best, you may want to experiment with other ways of connecting with them.
For example, if you have an older customer base, they may be more likely to respond to phone calls rather than checking their email every day. Or, if you have a lot of young customers, especially Gen Zers, texting them can be more effective, or even using social media to connect with them. Text messages have a far higher open rate than emails on average, so it may be worth a try.
How Clientbook can help
Crafting the perfect message to your customers can seem daunting, especially if you have a lot of customers that come into your store or visit your website each day. It may seem simpler to set up email automation and just leave it at that.
However, sending out personalized messages—even if you have thousands of clients—is possible with a tool like Clientbook.
Clientbook is a mobile app that allows retailers to manage client contacts, store client data, set up automated follow-up reminders, and even message customers right from the app. It's the perfect way to utilize technology to make the job of your sales team easier without losing the personalization that today's consumers expect and respond to.
Reaching potential customers through their inbox, especially with personalized product recommendations and offers, is a proven way to encourage people to come back to your store and make a purchase. But your message has to be written just right. If it doesn't have a compelling subject line, is missing personal details, or doesn't have strong incentives for the customer, it's not going to do its job.
But remember—there are helpful resources like Clientbook built to help retailers like you meet their goals and better connect with their clients. With Clientbook, it's easier than ever for your sales associates to follow up with clients, connect with them on a personal level, and get them back into your store time and time again.
If you're ready to see how Clientbook can help you better engage with your current and potential clients, book a demo today.