6 Follow-Up Strategies That Build B2B
“I don’t want to bother people.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“I followed up once but never heard back.”
If you’ve ever thought one of these (or something similar) when it comes to the idea of follow up, you’re in good company. In fact, I’d wager most freelance writers have thought some version of these at some point.
After all, you’re a nice person. You don’t want to be pushy.
It’s not just freelance writers who think this way either. Back in 2012-2015, I gave digital marketing workshops for small business owners, and they said the same thing about using social media and email marketing.
Yet, if you don’t stay in contact with prospects and customers, they probably won’t remember you when they’re ready to buy.
It’s not personal. They have a thousand other things on their mind just like you probably do.
According to Hubspot, “At any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying. 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin.”
Imagine this scenario; you have a list of prospects who’ve said, “stay in touch” or, “we’ll keep you on file.”
Great. That’s the first touch.
Yet, 56% of those prospects may not be ready for your services for 3-14 months.
Do you want to rely on the possibility they’ll remember you or do you want to be proactive with your business?
And that’s why it’s important to follow up.
There’s no “perfect” follow-up schedule either. I know some freelance writers who say they resend their initial email after a week in case it wasn’t seen the first time, and then make a note to follow up after three weeks, and then two months later based on if they received a response or not.
Others take a more scattershot approach.
There’s no science to it.
And if you’re wondering “what to say,” as part of your follow up, then I have a solution for you. Make it personal if you can. Your goal with the initial outreach is to start a conversation. The more conversations you can have with a prospect, the greater chance you’ll develop a relationship that can turn into business.
Here are six follow-up ideas for you.
6 Follow-Up Strategies
Compliment Them on a Recent Achievement — Did they recently win an award? Buy out another company? Gain mention in a prestigious publication? Celebrate a work anniversary? Send a congratulatory note to your contact. It shows you’re paying attention and that can set you apart from anyone else who may send them messages about writing for them.
If you set up a Google Alert for mentions, you’ll receive notifications. Another good resource is to follow the company on LinkedIn. If they’re active on the company page, then you’ll see their posts.
- Interact on Social Media — If you follow the company on LinkedIn, and they make an announcement, you can interact right there. Most companies don’t get that much engagement on their posts, so you’ll stand out.
- Connect with the Marketing Staff on LinkedIn — If the marketing staff are active on LinkedIn, that’s a great way to get to know them. You can connect with them and see their posts. If you make a point to post insightful comments that add to the discussion, you’ll stand out.
- Send a Relevant Article — There’s always a new angle or perspective to a topic. If you see something of interest, send a link to your contact. A simple, “thought you might be interested in this …” is low friction, yet it reminds them you exist.
- Send a Piece of Your Own — If you wrote something you’re especially proud of, send it along. Especially if it relates to the industry or type of content they produce. You never know …
- Network at an Industry Event or Twitter Chat — Is there a webinar or industry event coming up? Since most of these are virtual now, you can sign up to attend online. Follow the hashtags on Twitter and see what industry insiders are saying. For example, open Twitter and type in #SMMW20 for content on the recent Social Media Marketing World event.
As you can see, following up is about providing value and building relationships. You can use a simple Google Sheet or Excel to keep track. List the person, their title, their company, and your dates of follow up.
Hopefully, these ideas answer the question, “What do you say in your follow up?” And, don’t get discouraged. A quick glance at my outreach over the past 15 months says I’ve gained at least four new clients after following up 4-7 times. People leave organizations, resources get reallocated, and a “no” six months ago can very well turn into a “yes, please” today.
The key is to always add to your prospect list and build follow-up activities into your daily or weekly routine. Do this consistently and you’ll grow your business.
What’s your go-to follow-up strategy?
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