Link Building Follow-Up Emails: Tips for Actually Getting a Response


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  • Follow-up emails can increase your chance of getting a link and building a long-term relationship with a prospect 
  • Study your audience to determine the best days and times to send a follow-up message 
  • Having a good subject line and providing benefit for the recipient is the best way to get a response from your prospect 
  • Continue to refine your follow-up email strategy as more data about your audience comes to you 

If you’re in the digital marketing space, there’s no doubt that you have had to send a cold email or two, most likely using a generic email template that probably didn’t get you a ton of responses. Cold email outreach is one of the most popular sales tactics, and as a result, professionals have an inbox full of dozens of emails that they will never open. This can be discouraging when you remember that the majority of link acquisitions come from outreach.

One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is that they refuse to take data into account. The average email open rate is about 20%, with click rates even lower at around 2% to 4%. There can be multiple factors that contribute to someone opening your email, like using an intriguing subject line, the email coming from a trustworthy company, or maybe it’s just a slow day and your recipient has nothing better to do other than scroll through their inbox. 

With all of that said, let’s get into some best practices for follow-up emails that can increase your link building potential.

Why send a follow-up email?

Simply put, more emails mean more opportunities for a response, but you still need to determine an end goal. The most common reasons for a follow-up email are to get more information about an opportunity, maintain a positive relationship with someone in your network, or to say thank you for working with someone in the past. Before you write a follow-up email, think about what your intention is and craft the message and subject line accordingly. 

How to improve your chances of getting a response

While it might seem tedious to send dozens of follow-up emails, we have some tips for you that will help you boost your response rate and make it worth your while.

  • Write a catchy subject line

Subject lines are the most crucial part of your email. They are the first thing your recipient will see and can make the difference between an opened message or one being marked as spam and blocked. When writing a subject line, try to include concrete numbers to catch their attention and create a sense of urgency by using words like tomorrow. 

When you find a subject line that works well, don’t stop there! Continue to test your emails to see which subject lines get the most attention and make adjustments as needed.

  • Emphasize the benefit for your audience

If your subject line was good enough to get people to open the message, they will be thoroughly disappointed if the content of your email isn’t up to par. Make it clear what solution you will provide if your reader completes the action you are pushing them to do. 

  • Incorporate a strong CTA

At the end of your email should be a clear call to action that is easy for recipients to understand and act on while also providing some sort of immediate value. This includes responding with information that you’ve requested, scheduling a meeting time to discuss further details about an opportunity, or catching up on what happened in their life since you last spoke.

  • Put them on a time crunch

Giving your prospects a sense of urgency will get them to respond faster, but don’t pressure them to feel like they have to decide on the spot. Giving them a 48-hour window is usually the sweet spot. 

When to send your follow-up email

Except for a thank-you note which should be sent within the first 24 hours, there isn’t a perfect formula regarding when to send your first follow-up. A general rule of thumb is to allow at least two days in between each message to make sure that you don’t overwhelm your prospects and give them enough time to respond. The most optimal time to send a follow-up email is 10 a.m. in your prospects’ respective time zone, followed by 8 p.m. and 2 p.m., but these are general guidelines, and you shouldn’t feel restricted to sending emails at only these times. 

Think about your audience and cater to their needs. For example, if you’re sending emails to busy parents of young children, keep in mind that they may not get to check their email before Friday night, at which point three of your messages in their inbox will not make them feel kindly towards you. Test what works with your audience and work with data based on your leads and segments. 

Lastly, following up with a network connection that you want to maintain a good relationship with every three months is a good general timeframe. Link exchange opportunities can often be found through current contacts, so it’s nice to catch up every so often to keep the relationship in good standing. 

Final thoughts

As with any other digital marketing tactic, you need to allow enough time for your efforts to show results. Once you determine the best timeframe to send follow-up emails to your prospects, continue to work on improving your content and optimizing your pitch as the data pours in. 

For more information on optimizing your email campaign strategy, you can contact us here! We would love to help.

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