How to Write the Perfect Follow Up Email

If you’ve just had an important meeting or phone call about your invention, with a potential manufacturer, investor, licensor, or otherwise, waiting to hear back from the other party can be a real test of patience. Take this chance to write the perfect follow up email and impress them with your communication skills.

When to Follow Up?

Determining when to send a follow up email depends on the kind of meeting or conference call. If this was an initial point of contact, send your email between 6 and 24 hours later. You don’t want to seem overzealous by sending an email immediately, but if you wait too long, you may be viewed as rude or uncommitted. If you are getting in touch with an ongoing contact, your window of opportunity is longer; reach out to them a few days later if you are waiting on something from them or just want to stay at the top of their minds.

Determine Goal

What do you hope to achieve by sending a follow up email? There are four primary objectives in this instance: need information, request another meeting, catch up, or thank you. Here’s how to determine what kind of email to send:

  1. Need information – If you need to clarify something, get an update on a pending item, or ask another direct question.
  2. Request a meeting – If you need to ask many lengthy questions, ask for a favor, receive feedback, or present a significant amount of information.
  3. Catch up – If you haven’t spoken in a while or want to give exciting news or an update.
  4. Thank you – Show your appreciation for a recent interaction or item and maintain your connection.

Open with Relevancy

Businesses and professionals work with many people on a daily basis. When working with someone, especially before you’ve nurtured a close working relationship, you need to outline how you know them and the nature of your business. Here’s some suggested ways to show how you are relevant to a connection:

  • We met last week at [Name of Event or Location].
  • We talked last [Day] about [Name of Your Venture]
  • I heard you speak at [Name of Event] and I was inspired to reach out to you
  • Last time we spoke, we discussed [Previous Topic]
  • Following up about the email I sent you a few weeks ago about [Previous Topic]

Using these strategies, you can reintroduce yourself and set the stage for your email.

State Your Purpose

Here’s where you get to the point of your message. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Be very specific with your language and don’t beat around the bush. For example, instead of saying, “I’d like to meet for lunch and pick your brain a bit,” say “I’d like to meet for lunch and discuss the potential for our businesses to work together on an upcoming project.” This way, you explain your intentions from the get-go and don’t waste anyone’s time. Be sure to close with an action item; ask a direct question, request an action, or mention a deadline. Give them a clear path on how to reply so there is no confusion on how to move forward.

If you are writing a follow up email, the ball is in your court. Be direct, accurate, and concise by following these steps. Reliable and succinct communication is helpful and appreciated in the worlds of business and innovation.