June 18, 2013


How dare you not reply!

Have you felt like saying that when you don’t get an answer to an email?

Do you wait? If you followup, how do you proceed? In recent months, I’ve been moving away from posting messages on social networks and back towards boring old email. That’s because of my recent workshops on how to build trust needed a targeted approach.

Here are three effective ways to get responses to your emails.
  1. Become a welcome guest
  2. Personalize
  3. Followup with a light touch

Become A Welcome Guest

Help your connections get to know you before you ask them for something. Nearly everyone I email is already a connection on LinkedIn. That means they’ve already agreed to accept messages (100% opt-in). They can see my ongoing activity (mainly links to articles intended to be of value to them). That familiarity helps build a connection, even if they don’t read every word. By giving, you invoke their desire to reciprocate (the #1 universal principle of influence).

You can do the same. When you send an email, it’s more likely to get opened (even without a clever subject line).


If all your email is about something you’re selling, you can easily be seen as a mild spammer. That also applies for email newsletters.

My emails sometimes use templates (e.g., information about the next workshop) but I usually customize them for each person. That’s possible because I’m very targeted.

If you want to reach lots of people with a generic message, a newsletter will simplify your work but also reduce your effectiveness. As an offset, you’ll need a larger mailing list, which means more generic content.

Followup With A Light Touch

Now you’ve sent a personalized email to someone you know, waited and received no reply. What next? Chances are good that the person you contacted is busy — just like you. They likely have a system for dealing with their inboxes. Resending the same email may annoy them and add to their clutter.

Send a short, friendly email, possibly on a different topic.

That’s often enough to remind them of your original email. For a workshop, that’s even easier because I have a link to more details in my email signature. There’s no need to say anything more.
If they usually respond quickly, something unusual may be taking place in their lives. Example: I haven’t heard from you in a while. I hope everything is okay.

You could ask a direct question if you’re seeking a yes/no answer. Example: Are you coming to my workshop? I want to make sure there are enough workbooks.

You could also send a link to an article you think may interest them. When they thank you, you’ve got an opening: I was wondering if you had a chance to (whatever your original email was about).

You won’t always get a reply to your emails but you can increase the likelihood.


PS Do you have other techniques?

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