23 Better Alternatives to the “Just Checking In” Email

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“Just checking in” emails are the worst. If you’re sending an email, it’s obvious that you’re checking in. You don’t need to say it again.

Plus, “just checking in” emails don’t provide any value to buyers. They don’t care that you want to get in touch with them, especially if you haven’t already provided them with a compelling reason to do so.

But people often send “just checking in” emails because they’re so easy. It takes almost no thought or time to write some variation of, “Hi [Person of Interest’s Name], I haven’t heard back from you, so I wanted to check in. Cheers, [Your Name].”

In fact, I timed that and it took 19 seconds for me to type.

But the ease of writing these “just checking in” emails — i.e. the thing that them so tempting to send — is the same reason they’re worthless: They’re easy to write because they don’t provide any value to your buyer.

If they never responded to your first email, chances are they didn’t feel it was worth their time. Why would you reinforce that impression by wasting their time even more?

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should stop following up with prospects — just that you put slightly more effort into it. Below are 23 things to reference in a follow-up email besides the obvious fact that you’re checking in.

23 Email Subjects That Are Better Than “Just Checking In”

If they never responded:

  1. Send them a short piece of actionable advice.
  2. Send over a longer how-to guide and offer to follow up in person if they want.
  3. Point out a weakness in their business that should be fixed.
  4. Share an article relevant to their industry or profession.
  5. Respond to a social message, then follow up with more resources.
  6. Answer one of their questions on an online forum, then follow up with more resources.
  7. Reference a relevant blog post they just published.
  8. Send them a blog post your company has just published.
  9. Recommend an event in their area.
  10. Invite them to an upcoming webinar or educational event your company is hosting.
  11. Send them a link to relevant press coverage of one of your highest-profile customers.
  12. Call attention to something their competitor is doing well and ask how they plan to address it.
  13. Bring up a common challenge your buyers face and ask if they’re experiencing it.
  14. Send a, “Did this email get buried?” email.
  15. Ask if they’re still interested in achieving X goal, then provide a suggestion for how to get there.
  16. Send a breakup email to close the loop.

If any of these trigger events occur:

  1. Congratulate a potential decision maker on a promotion: A former champion could now influence a purchase decision.
  2. Reach out to a decision maker after a blocker leaves the company: The road may be clearer for you for make a sale.
  3. Reach out to a new C-level executive: High-level changes can indicate a change in strategy.
  4. Congratulate them on a funding round: More resources usually means growth, and growth means addressing priorities that weren’t previously top-of-mind.
  5. Ask whether newly created positions relevant to your product reflect new company initiatives: Strategic shifts indicate changing needs.

If you lost the deal:

  1. Check how things are going a month after implementing a competitor’s product.
  2. Check how things are going as their contract with a competitor is winding down.

Bonus: 6 Times You Should Send a “Just Checking In” Email

Of course, every rule has an exception. If you’ve already started a sales process, there are many scenarios that could warrant a “just checking in” email. Usually, however, these scenarios have two things in common:

  • Your prospect made a commitment to do something and hasn’t done it, or has gone dark.
  • An email or call following up on any of these situations should presumably be focused on that missed commitment — it’s not just a generic check-in.

Any or all of the following situations all but necessitate a “just checking in” call or email:

  1. If they told you to reach back out in X days/weeks/months.
  2. If they went dark after a call.
  3. If they didn’t show up to a scheduled call.
  4. If they told you they needed a few days to make an internal evaluation, then went dark.
  5. If they committed to to signing a contract and didn’t.
  6. If they started a product trial but you haven’t heard back on their progress.

The rule of thumb for “just checking in” emails is essentially this: If you have a good reason to reach out or new value to provide, reach out.

If you don’t, think of one. And if you can’t think of a single legitimate reason to follow up that would be beneficial to the recipient, don’t. Spend your time crafting more helpful emails, and the recipients will thank you for it.

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