Meetings are great and networking events are fun, but don’t forget the next step: a perfect follow up e-mail that’ll help you stand out from all those other people in the crowd.

follow-up email after meeting

 

Because let’s face it–how many people do we really remember after attending a conference?

Sure, you may have added a hundred (or two) connections on LinkedIn, but chances are that if you try and remember who they are and what they do, you’ll come up blank.

Imagine this, though: you go to a regional business conference, shake some hands, and start a great conversation about linguini with Mr. Ravioli, a business owner who moonlights as a chef.

You talk for hours about pasta, which so happens to be your favorite dish. But sadly, once the conference ends, you part ways and forget all about the pasta–and the person behind it.

BUT.

A few days later, a zinger of an e-mail pops up. “Hi,” it says. You don’t usually read e-mails, but you read this one because the subject line is interesting.

As you read on, you remember Mr. Ravioli, and start wondering how you ever forgot about him. After typing a happy response back to him, he sends a calendar invite for lunch and boom, three weeks later, you’re working on a small side project together.

Why do you go to conferences and meetings? It isn’t to be sold to, we’re sure.

Rather, you–like everyone else in the world–crave real, human connection.

The best way to kickstart conversations that matter is to FOLLOW. UP.

Here, we’ve collected some top tips for you so that you can craft the perfect catch-up e-mail–one that people will actually open and read.

The key to enthralling readers is to stop trying so hard to sound like a professional. Using big words and overly formal language can sound salesly and robotic; you’ll fail to make that vital connection with the person on the other side of the screen.

On the other hand, if you try too hard to sound jokey or friendly before you’ve reminded them who you are and why you’re messaging, you may come off as a creep.

Like most things in life, the art of the perfect FUP e-mail (sorry, I just really like that acronym) requires balance.

Don’t start out right away with the sales pitch (if you’re trying to sell to them, that is).

Instead, offer some value of your own by recommending a book or sharing something that’s helped you.

To be safe, here’s a bare-bones template that you can use to set the stage:

  1. How you met: at what event?
  2. A takeaway from your conversation: what did you talk about? What did you learn? How was it relevant to your daily/business life? How are you relevant to them?
  3. Your request: If you want to meet in person, suggest a venue or activity (coffee is the standard) and a few dates.

Still want a few more tips? Here are 6 more to keep in mind (or read on if you just want to grab those templates and run).

#1 Let them know why you’re following up.

You can send an e-mail gushing about all the fun things you talked about at the meeting or conference, but if you don’t tell them why you’re e-mailing, they may forget to respond. It’s just basic business etiquette–to let your client know why you’re getting in touch.

If you’re familiar with SEO and content marketing, then you know how important the call-to-action is. You should also have some sort of call to action in your e-mail, prompting your receiver to take the next step.

#2 Sort your leads and contacts.

We all go to events for different reasons. It could be to grow your pool of leads or to make sales. (Or perhaps you just want to get a bunch of free stuff). Always keep your purpose in mind when you’re making your connections–it’s possible to end up with hundreds of business cards after a weekend conference, and if you don’t sort them, you may never look at them again.

If you just want to grow your network, sending a LinkedIn invitation to each new contact with a short explanation of who you are might be enough. But if you want to do things like increase brand awareness, close sales, or make introductions, then the FUP e-mail is necessary.

#3 Show them that you care + listen.

One of the golden rules of selling is to make it all about the customer. People love receiving help, so it’s important to make yourself available before you start warming them up.

If they love books, you can offer them a free pdf of a book you really enjoy–if they mentioned a certain food they like, why not send them a recipe?

Be personal–show them that you listened to the details that most other people would’ve passed over. Look back at your notes and make your FUP e-mail shine!

Other ways to wow them: personalize, personalize, personalize.

Use their name, and make sure it’s the right one (seriously: God knows how many copypasted e-mails we get all day, every day, addressed to the wrong person).

Personalization helps your recipient feel like they’re worth more than a spammy blanket blast.

If you’re sending a post-meeting e-mail, then this tip still applies. Many meetings focus on the problems that have to be solved and the progress that’s been made. Though that’s important, you should also spend time congratulating your employees for a job well done. Give them recognition to affirm the work they’ve completed

#4 Keep it direct and simple.

Aim for a maximum of three paragraphs for each follow-up e-mail.

One that’s too long will feel spammy and boring unless you had a whopper of a chat with them about a bunch of different topics. Even then, the truth is that we’re busy–and responding to really long e-mails can be exhausting.

Subject lines don’t have to be entire sentences: just enough to remind them of who you are is enough. Directness and simplicity is especially important in the first e-mail, where you’re making your second first impression

#5 Don’t be afraid to get on a call.

Sometimes we can’t make time to meet in person. Sometimes we’re simply too far away. In that case, a phone call can work wonders.

If it’s been a few days or weeks and they haven’t responded to your initial follow up, it’s perfectly okay to follow up again.

To up the ante: even if you’ve crafted the most perfect e-mail, your contact just might not reply.

They might not even open it. That minor rejection may sting a little, and that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on them entirely.

You have their business card, right? Go call them.

The phone is your best friend, and a powerful one, especially in the frantic world of sales.

Maybe your e-mails just got buried; maybe they weren’t even delivered. By getting your person on a phone call, you can recreate the connection and

#6 Time it right.

At Toggl, we love timing things. And when you’re writing follow-up e-mails, it’s important to time the sending properly.

It can feel too hardcore to reach out to new connections right after the event. Some recommend waiting a week, others recommend sending that e-mail out within a few days. Personally, I often wait until the one week mark.

What do you know about your connections?

If they work in an office, chances are they’ll check their e-mail first thing in the morning.

Though people do also check their inboxes after lunch, a lot of e-mails get sent out then, and it’s more likely that your message will get lost.

Aim for mid-serious business hours when their mindset is still a bit fresher.

Another tip: take time to listen to the conversations you’re having.

If a person says that they’re going to go to a wedding the week after the conference, then don’t send them an e-mail the day before the wedding. Instead, make a big impression by following up afterwards (you can even ask how it went for bonus points).

Now, without further ado: here are five (and one bonus) e-mail templates you can steal 🙂

Follow-up Email After Networking:

Subject line: Have you ever heard of [recommendation] for [problem]?

Hi [contact name],

It was great meeting you at [event name]. I’m [insert a little bit about you here–name, company, etc.]. I checked out your blog after [event name] and really loved your perspective on [certain topic]. Have you ever heard of [recommendation]? It’s something I use with my own team, and it’s been quite successful.

I’d love to talk more about it or send some examples over if you like. It was great meeting you at [event name] and I hope we’ll see each other again soon.

[Signature]

Subject line: I’d love to hear more about [project they’re working on]

Hi [contact name],

I really enjoyed speaking to you at [event name]. I loved hearing your thoughts about [specific topic–feel free to include some flattery here]. I saw on your [blog/LinkedIn] that you’re currently working on [insert project here], and [talk about how this relates to you or how you can offer help]. Let me know if you’d like to chat about it over coffee sometime, I’d love to hear more about it!

[Signature]

Bonus: The Fun One

Subject line: I met you at [event name] 🙂

Hi [name],

It was awesome to meet you at [event name]. Right now, you might be thinking, “Who is that?”. If you are, then here I am:

[picture of you, preferably smiling]

How was the rest of the event for you? I caught {speakers} session. It was superb!

If you ever need any advice on [topic of expertise], just fire me an email.

I’m always up for coffee or lunch or drinks if you’re ever in [location].

Have an absolutely splendid day,

[Signature]

To make connections:

Subject line: Connecting you to [insert name here]

Hi [name],

How are you doing? I wanted to reach out and connect you to someone you might be interested in meeting. This is [recommendation name], they [tell them about what your contact does]. (S)he could help you out with [project] that I know you’re working on. Let me know if you’re interested–I’ll set up an intro 🙂

[Signature]

Subject line: Introduction to [insert name here]?

Hey [name],

I really enjoyed meeting you last week at [event]. I enjoyed our conversation about [topics discussed here].

I was really humbled and honored by your interest in what I’m working on right now, and you mentioned that you know [name] at [company name]. If you have the time, an introduction to [name] would be very helpful, and (s)he might even be interested in hearing more about it.

To make it as easy as possible for you (I understand you may have a lot going on right now), I’ve written a short blurb below. Would you be able to take a moment to introduce us?

[Signature]

[Short blurb here]

Thank You Email After Meeting:

Subject line: Keep it up, everyone!

Hey everyone,

Incredibly excited about the progress we’ve all made. Wanted to take a moment to recognize a few key accomplishments:

[key accomplishments + why they matter]

In addition, I wanted to recognize some awesome people who’ve gone above and beyond in making this magic happen.

[tag people, describe their accomplishments, and why it matters].

As you can see, one of the most important components of each of these templates is the personal connection.

Whether that’s through being personable and personal and friendly, or by offering help, or even by attaching a photo of your lovely face, making that person stop and smile is a key step in winning them over.