Copy  July 5, 2023

Unusual follow-up ideas after the first cold email: a fintech guide

Unusual follow-up ideas after the first cold email: a fintech guide

Do you put as much thought into your follow-up emails as you do the first cold email in your sequence?

For many of us, the answer is no, but… you can steal the ideas in this article and start sprucing up any bland follow-up emails clogging up your pipeline. Hopefully, they’ll help you stand out and get better responses. 

The most popular follow-up email format I’ve seen involves asking if the prospect has seen your previous email, while crossing your fingers and chanting ‘yes, yes’ in a husky voice.

It relies on making them curious about the email they might have missed and hence click back to it.

 But if you are reaching out to a person who has been bombarded with cold emails all day, they know this technique and will probably bundle you in with hundreds of other spammers the moment they see the first-line preview below.

The alternative:

The tip/education 

The previous approach takes from the prospect, it is an ask or demand for something (their attention). Flip the script and give instead of taking. Base your email around a tip/insight that you know will be valuable to your prospect.

The image below shows this ‘give’ technique in action. 

I only knew it was effective because of a mistake I’d made in my campaign.

 I had set up my prospect to receive the email that was third in my sequence as the first email. Without context from the preceding emails, the prospect still got the heart of what I was trying to communicate. Here’s their reply(after extra prodding).

Sharing unique insight as a follow-up worked because it educated the prospect on a process with direct ties to the service I was selling. So ensure the tip you share is connected to the service you’re offering.

To create an educational follow-up email, dig into your buyer persona. Understand all facets of the problem you solve for them, its impact, and the process/activity it affects. Then find insight about a way to do one of these activities that is unknown.

For example, if you're selling a fintech product that helps with reducing card chargebacks, share a simple DIY tip they can implement, even if they choose not to buy your product. 

Then finish it up with a soft call to action that circles back to your product or service. Below is a template for our chargeback management service example:

"{{First name}}, here's an often ignored technique for using {{name the approach you use to solve the problem}} to reduce {{name the problem}} that helped {{name company/customer who's used your technique}} cut/fight/ {{name the problem}} by {{include numbers here percentage points of reference}}"

This is how it would look when fleshed out.

"Jerry here's an ignored technique for using post-purchase follow-ups to reduce chargeback—it helped XYZ Solutions cut chargebacks by 15% last year. Steal this:

Instead of thank-you emails... incorporate surveys into your post-purchase flow. 

(It allows you to gather feedback proactively and address any concerns or issues your customers may have before they chargeback.)

 There are free tools you can use for this—let me know if you need any recommendations.

Anyway, in case you want to reduce chargebacks without tying up your team's time...

I can help automate it to catch them before they happen, plus resolve disputes and prevent false declines, I can help."

Custom video follow-ups

The beauty of using video as a follow-up email is that it stands out from the crowd and it helps humanise you in ways text cannot. It also provides a great opportunity to show and not tell the problem you want to solve for them and its impact. You can use tone to connect and show your personality (if you have one ;)

PS: there are AI tools that replace your background with your prospects’ website/LinkedIn page to increase the chances of a click. But let’s not get into that AI rabbit hole for now.

Try recording custom videos for prospects that show intent, e.g. your email getting opened multiple times. But set a high threshold—above 3 opens—for this to account for automatic opens from security bots and Apple devices (Apple allows its users the option to a privacy setting that triggers an 'open report' on every email sent to them even if they never read it).

Follow these tips to create your custom video script:

Why you reached out: reference a trigger (e.g. "Hi, saw you hired a new payments fraud analyst) or a problem (e.g. "Hey, saw the news of Visa/Mastercard increasing transaction fees?")

Put a spotlight on the problem: share a real-life example if possible (e.g. "transaction fees are eating into profit margins faster than my teenage son can finish a French fry")

A summary of your approach to solving that problem; weave in a customer story if appropriate (e.g."We've been helping Paysend Solutions cut fees by 90% through Open Banking payments")

Call to action (e.g. "Thought you might be curious about this, open to learning more?")

Do all this in less than one minute, especially if the prospect hasn’t replied to any of your emails. I prefer to keep my follow-up videos 40 seconds long or shorter.

To increase the chances of a click, many of the popular tools for embedding videos into cold emails offer you the option of creating a custom thumbnail. Below is an example of one I used to sell a standard operating procedure writing (process documentation) service.

I found something on the prospect's website that was relevant to what I was selling (a testimonial from one of their customers) took a screenshot and wrote a custom headline on the image. 

So, for example, if you are a company selling a fraud detection and prevention platform to fintechs. If you saw a job ad like the one below from a potential customer.

You could just take a screenshot and use that (plus your face) as the thumbnail to your video follow-up email. 

It feels more relevant when your prospect sees something of theirs in the thumbnail than just a plain image. Try it next time a prospect ghosts you.

For more on using videos in cold emails, here's a read you might enjoy Using Videos in Cold Emails.

Short and sweet follow-ups

This type of follow-up works well when you've written a strong first email and just want them to circle back to the preceding email.

Make them short (and cryptic) to intrigue the prospect to click through. Examples include, "What did you think?" "Thoughts?" "Was this off the mark?" “Have you solved it?” 

Now, if you've written a descriptive subject line, the two can combine well to give the prospect context on what you’re talking about without revealing too much. Like this:

Break up emails

This is my least favourite type of follow-up, though people swear it works because it triggers replies (lots of negatives included).

Anyway, instead of breaking up with someone before you even go on a date. Here are two alternatives I stole from other salespeople.

The humour monger 

The humour in screenshotted email comes from the absurdity of a breakup email where someone pretends to be upset that a prospect—who doesn't owe them anything—is not replying to their outreach and resorts to throwing a tantrum. 

This email plays on that and comes out unique. Though I'm sure there'll be prospects who won't like it—which is normal with break-up emails, so if you have the head for it, try it :)

Referral break-up

Take your typical break-up email and use it to ask for a referral instead of putting your nose up and turning your back on your prospect. Here's a structure you can use:

"Hey, seems like the timing is not right for this. Curious if you know anyone who has  {{a problem you want to solve for them}}? Anyway, perhaps we'll connect when the time is right."

I have yet to try this, but I like how, rather than throwing a tantrum, it flips the interaction to ask for help.

And if they reply and say they don't know anyone "but if someone comes to mind I’ll let you know..." (people love this line though I'm not sure what compels them to say it), you can piggyback off that offer  in the future when you find someone in their network you would like an intro to.

If you have any unusual follow-up ideas that are working for you, share them with me ([email protected]) and I'll add to the list. 

PS: when you need help with cold email copy and follow-up, I'm the guy you call.

Sharing is caring... well... sort of ;)

Gabriel Onyango
Gabriel Onyango
[email protected]

About Me

A writer, in a marketer's skin, wearing a cold emailer's floppy socks. The unorthodox combination of these is what you've probably experienced in this blog. Freelance cold email manager; open to working with teams on cold email campaigns, copy, ICP research (snooping()and custom list building. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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