How to Write a Follow-up Letter

There are three phrases that every follow-up letter contains – “Thought I’d just check in”, “I just wanted to check in” and “I am just checking in to see”. Usually, most of these follow up e-mails are ineffective and most of the time, repetitive. When you write a follow up letter, you are not just checking n, you want to accomplish something.

So now the question is, how do we make the letter effective and accomplish the set goals? Read on to find out how the best follow-up letter can be written. 

There are 5 steps that you should follow to create the perfect follow up letter.

  1. Determine the objective
  2. Open the letter with context
  3. State the purpose clearly
  4. Craft precisely the subject line
  5. Decide when to send the follow-up letter

1. Determine the Objective

Before starting the follow-up letter, you need to clarify what the objective is. That way, you will have an effective letter.

The 4 primary objectives are: when we need information, we need to clarify something, see if we got the job and get an update on something; when we want to request a meeting and ask for something or receive a feedback; when we want to catch up with a connection because it’s been long, or we’ve hear some exciting news about their company or about them, or share something about us; and, when we want to connect with a certain person because it’s been long since we spoke to him/her and discuss some important news.

2. Open the letter with a context

Many times, when we write these follow-up letters, we get carried away and we forget to mention about a personal connection or an interest which will help the person who reads the letter to remember us. So, you need to emphasize the previous letters or e-mails to make it easier for them to respond. Some good openers are things like:

  • I was inspired by your speech
  • We met last week at…
  • My friend suggested that  reach to you
  • I read your blog daily

3. State the purpose clearly

Don’t beat around the bush. You should explicitly mention your intentions in the introduction. Also, if there is any underlying purpose,it should be explained. So, don’t just say I would like to see you and chat about that thing you do. Be specific. Explain your problem and the reason for wanting to see the person and what do you exactly need.

4. Craft precisely the subject line

Keep the subject lines in email follow-ups short, simple and sweet, but keep the intriguing part to make the reader curious. One study has shown that these 3 things are a must for the subject line.

  • Use concrete times and numbers.
  • Use words like “tomorrow” to create anticipation and urgency
  • Or, simply omit the subject line, that way readers will have to open the e-mail and see what’s it about

5. Decide when to follow up

So, the letter is written. Now, when should you send it? A follow up letters after a conference or a meeting or a thank you letter should be sent 24 hours after the event, after submitting and application wait 48 hours, after no getting a response for a job interview or wanting to set a meeting, wait 1 to 2 weeks and follow up letters for catching up with connections should be sent once every 3 months.

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