Today, your friendly creatives at Ashore learned a fun fact that will either make you feel very old or very young. The first email was sent in 1971 – that’s fifty years ago! Of course, for most people, email wasn’t a common fixture in our daily routines until the 90s, complete with dial-up internet and the creation of spam emails (did you know that they got their name from a Monty Python sketch?).
If only those were the only issues we had to deal with when it comes to email these days. Now, we have email spoofing, email bombing, phishing scams, overfull inboxes and general information overload. And, you can’t forget the anxiety many people now associate with email.
We, as a people, hate composing emails. Almost as much as we hate reading them. This makes developing an email follow up sequence that will actually yield a response in a timely fashion pretty difficult.
Getting the Greenlight
During the proofing process, getting a response from your clients is absolutely mandatory to complete a project. Their insights and feedback help you iterate on your current designs, and their approval is the greenlight you need to move to production or implementation. When clients won’t respond to your emails, it brings everything to a screeching halt.
It’s stressful to say the least when your emails fail to elicit any response from your clients, but what are you going to do? Emails are a fixture of any business’s activities, so perhaps it’s about time you craft a simple email follow up sequence that helps you do your job and get paid. How does that sound? Good? Okay, let’s get started.
For an email sequence to reach the recipient, be read by them and then (hopefully) replied to, you need to get a couple of things right.
Per the name, follow up emails are usually sent following a previous email. However, you can also send them following a phone call, Zoom meeting or simply a long period of no communication. Science tells us that most emails are opened on the day they were sent, so you’re probably thinking that if you don’t get a response, you could send a follow up email the next day, right? Bad idea.
Wait a few days (like, at least three) before beginning your email follow up sequence. You want to give your clients time to prepare a response, especially if you’re asking them to do something like review a proof and give you their feedback. That kind of thing takes time. For each subsequent email in your sequence, wait a little longer before sending the next one. The frequency can be up to you and what seems to work best for your clients, but of course, you don’t want to wait too long or you’ll start blowing past deadlines.
Now, the day. Many people believe Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to send emails, but this is certainly not set in stone. It’s normally bad form to send emails on the weekends, though, because no one wants to look at a work-related email then. Monday mornings are also unfavorable due to the influx of emails people got over the weekend. Friday afternoons tend to be bad for emailing, as well, because people are busy fixating about their upcoming 48 hours of freedom.
As for the time of day, try to aim for the morning, sometime between 10am and 11am (their time). You don’t want to be too early and get lost in the shuffle when they first get to work, but the afternoon isn’t good for productivity. And, can you guess the absolute worst time of the day to expect a response? Noon.
Proper Email Etiquette: No Frills, No Fuss
The Tone and Formatting:
There are many ways to convey tone in your emails, but you’ll want to be careful that you aren’t sending the wrong impression to your recipients. Certain styling elements such as using all caps, bolding and italicizing words and using too many exclamation points can irritate or confuse readers,
Caps: DOESN’T IT FEEL LIKE SOMEONE IS SHOUTING AT YOU RIGHT NOW? Don’t shout at your clients, or anyone else for that matter, in your emails.
Exclamation Points: Exclamation points can convey enthusiasm! However, if you use too many, it could lead readers to believe your anxious or agitated!!!! Also, it’s just not very professional.
Bold, Underlining and Italics: Emphasizing key parts of your email is totally fine, but if you do it too often, it starts to feel a bit condescending, wouldn’t you agree?
Emojis: To ensure that your email is conveying the proper emotions, emojis may seem like a safe bet, but using them in professional, work emails isn’t a smart idea. In fact, it may make you look incompetent.
For clarity’s sake, just stick to a single, straightforward message, and use these styling and formatting components sparingly.
When it comes to your email’s messaging, the best advice is to remember who exactly you’re talking to. Is it a client whose business pays your bills, or are they other members on your team whose input is required to move forward? Considering the nature of the relationship you have with your recipients will help direct your messaging. For clients, be polite and informative, but not superfluous. Avoid being too casual as this can come off as abrupt or blunt to clients.
For others, such as team members, who you have a defined relationship with, feel free to compose more succinct, instructive emails. Just try not to be too passive aggressive. Even after repeated attempts at communication with no response, you’ll still catch more flies with honey.
The Subject Lines:
Subject lines could be considered an artform really. It takes practice to get them just right – not too long or too short, not too vague or too dense, not too blunt or too confusing. You don’t want the email to immediately set the wrong tone do you? Who wants to even open an email with a subject line like, “URGENT: Following Up About Questions Regarding Design of Brochure”? That just sounds like an email that will only give you a headache.
Instead, make your subject lines direct and clear. Express the goal of the email in as few words as possible, and avoid using alarmist language such as “urgent” or “important” too often. A good example could be, “Website Mockups: Feedback Requested,” or, “New Brochure Design for Review.”
Have You Asked Yourself Why You’re Using Email
If – even after simplifying and streamlining your email follow up sequence and messaging as much as possible – you’re still not seeing a high degree of responsiveness, maybe it’s time you ask yourself why you’re messing with email in the first place. Is email really the best communication medium for soliciting feedback from your clients or fellow team members? Especially since, when you are actually dealing with a responsive person, all of their comments are still buried in email threads.
For a fast, dependable proofing process, an online proofing software will streamline approval by taking valuable feedback out of email threads and putting it in context with the files being reviewed. You simply upload your files and start sending review links out to your approvers – it only takes seconds. When you utilize a platform like Ashore, you never have to worry about sending copious amounts of follow up emails again.
Automate Your Email Follow Up Sequence With Ashore
Our dynamic system of automatic reminders are our users’ secret to success on Ashore. Customize automatic reminders down to the day and time to fit the needs of your schedule and your clients’. You have the option to set reminder settings for your entire account or individually for each approver. Once you’ve figured out the details, all you need to do is set back and let Ashore handle client notification and follow up.
Ashore users also have the freedom to customize the email Ashore sends to their approvers. You can have several different email templates, even one for each stage of your workflows. Email template variables allow you to add specific information including an approver’s name, the proof’s name and more, all with minimal effort on your part.
Automatic reminders take the onus off of you to manually manage email correspondence while also improving proof approval by 50%. For Ashore users, it’s a win-win. To start winning for yourself and your approvers, sign up for a 14-day free trial of Ashore today.