How To Deal With Any Email Campaign Reply

Email campaigns are all about getting a reaction. It may come in many forms, but getting a reply, as any marketer knows, is the most exciting.

But what if the reply you received is negative? And what if you didn’t get a reply at all? Your next steps are crucial. Every reply, even a non-existent one, has to be dealt with.

Dealing with negative replies

Negative replies usually fall into one of the following categories – uninterested, angry, sales objections, and not-for-me replies. Identifying exactly which type you’ve just received will let you react correctly and sometimes even save the prospect. Let’s take a closer look.

Uninterested Replies

Uninterested reply

These are hard to analyze, as the sender doesn’t really provide much info to work with. We just know they’re unwilling to cooperate any further and are being very polite in declining your offer.

The first thing to do if you start receiving replies like this is to create a stat sheet to track further replies. Try to understand why your offer didn’t manage to interest the recipient. Usually, it’s one of the following reasons:

  • Your targeting is off
  • Your product is not competitive enough to make people consider a switch from their current solution
  • Your email doesn’t fully reflect the value of your offer

There are a couple ways you can fix this.
First, check your targeting. Check if your lead generation tools are providing quality results. Try to use lead gen tools with in-built targeting features.

If targeting doesn’t seem to be a problem, take a good look at your product. Does it solve a real problem? Do you have any major competitors? Study your competitors’ pros and cons and use those to present your product in a better light. If you believe your product can be improved, collect as much feedback from existing users and potential customers as you can for further analysis.

If neither of those seems to be the problem, your copy is probably the reason you’re failing to convert your leads. Hire a professional copywriter to create an attractive email copy if you can afford it. If not, create a new copy yourself and A/B test!

Send follow-ups with an improved offer only if you’re sure you’ve fixed the aforementioned mistakes.

Angry Replies

Angry replies

Let’s get one thing clear – it’s very, extremely unlikely that a cold email will evoke such a reaction. Most people receiving such replies are spammers or scammers. If you’re sure you’re not involved in any such behavior, you definitely have a lot of damage control to do.

Angry replies can get… well, intense. People will try their best to express exactly how angry they are, through swearing, threats, etc. Don’t take those personally. Do, however, work on making sure this never happens again.

Many things can cause a reply like that, but a simple cold email really shouldn’t. Thoroughly check your email copy and targeting. If your targeting isn’t off and you’re not suddenly offering AI software solutions to gardeners, your email copy is most likely the problem. Check if it’s too long, too impersonal, talks too much about you and not enough about solving your lead’s problems. Adding personalization is a good first step in making your email look less like spam and more like a hand-crafted personalized message.

Depending on the value of the lead, damage control may involve an apology email. Other than that, do not irritate the upset leads any further. The best thing you can do is learn from this and never repeat your mistakes again.

Sales Objections

Sales objection

Getting this kind of a reply is a good sign: even though the person may seem uninterested, your offer seemed good enough to attract their attention.

Your next step is to convince their sales department that your solution is better and richer in features, as this may provoke a follow-up for price negotiations. Your strategy can go one of the two ways now: you can try to convince them to give your product a try or give out something of value in return for cooperation.

Objections often give us a lot of details on what the prospects dislike in our product or what they want to see in it. As we’ve mentioned in our articles before, feedback is everything, and this will allow you to build a much better strategy in the future.

For now, check whether you have highlighted the main benefits of your product, and work on a convincing follow-up.

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Not-For-Me Replies

Not-for-me reply

The good thing about these replies is that the person will always give you a reason to explain their refusal. It’s mostly out of politeness, but this info is extremely valuable to you.

In most cases, if your targeting is not off, the prospect is not interested in your offer simply because they don’t see it as the solution to their problem, and your goal is to prove them wrong in the follow-up.

Show that your solution can prove valuable in numerous cases and solve the problems they may not have even detected yet. If your first email didn’t hit the mark, you may also want to check if you have the data on the company is fresh, as any company’s needs change with time. A/B test, verify and try again.

Now what?

Be mindful of the emotional state of the person that composed the email. What are they feeling? Curiosity? Anger? Indifference?

For the uninterested, express polite regret that your offer doesn’t suit them, but give a brief summary of the other tools/services/features/products you offer.

Angry replies should be handled with extreme care. Write an apology, right in the subject line. Keep it short, with no promotion whatsoever.

Sales objections require planning, as you are dealing with sales, who clearly want to drop the price on your product as low as it can go.

Not-for-me replies should involve either a change in targeting or changes in the initial offer. Look at your product from a different angle and find something to pique their interest.

Dealing with positive replies

You may have heard a saying, “Prepare for the worst, the good will take care of itself”. Well, that’s not true.

While obviously getting a positive, interested, and enthusiastic reply is the ultimate goal, your next steps are what defines the final outcome of the campaign.

Step 1. Don’t put off the response.  

No one likes waiting. Neither does your prospect. From the moment they’ve sent their reply, every single move you make will show them exactly how they’ll be treated from now on.

A quick response will show dedication and eagerness to please the client, which is something way too many companies lack these days. Your willingness to continue the dialogue will pay off not only in positive testimonials, but will also lead to a more personal conversation, which is vital for a quick conversion.

Step 2. Focus on your prospect.

Use any data you have on your prospect. The minimum is their name, company name, and position. Personalize your email, and don’t be afraid to try a slightly more casual tone (when appropriate, of course). Human-like approach to email marketing always leads to positive results.

Personalization, however, has its limits. Over-personalizing your email can raise serious questions from your prospect about your sources, GDPR compliance, and basic ethics. Never overstep the line.

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Step 3. Study your prospect.

They might be ready to cooperate, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to negotiate. Study their pain points, weaknesses, and all the ways you can be useful for them. They will ask questions, and you need to be ready with the answers.

Step 4. Don’t wait.

In email marketing, you should always be the one to take the initiative in the conversation. Don’t let the prospect ruminate – step forward and offer an answer to any of their worries, before they even arise. Your prospect should feel confident, prepared, and informed. Analyze your prospect’s reply for any hints at their doubts and clear them.

Step 5. Step by step sale.

Having a clear action plan, a path, is always a good way to build a relationship with a prospect. Consider forging your deal in multiple steps: every time you finish a conversation with your prospect, define the next step so that they know exactly what to expect and don’t feel blindsided.

Now what?

Once you get the reply, analyze it and plan your next moves. But don’t delay – your response should always be quick and constructive. Your conversation should resemble proactive planning, not scrambling to solve a problem.

Dealing with no replies

While getting a reply is the goal, we should face the facts – the most common outcome is radio silence.

With zero information on why the prospect is not interested in your offer to the point where they won’t reply, or even open your email, you need to put your detective hat on and investigate what could be the issue.

Potential Issue 1. You don’t personalize.

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again – personalization is key!

We’ve even dedicated a whole chapter of our popular 75 Email Marketing Statistics You Should Know About In 2019 article to personalization.

If your email is not getting opened, it’s most likely that it looks like a mass campaign and lacks the human-ness that we always search for when making important decisions. Make your email look like it’s been individually hand-crafted, exclusively for this prospect and with respect to their needs and worries.

Potential Issue 2. You are using templates.

The concept of a template in itself isn’t bad. But once you share the same template with 10,000 other marketers… Don’t even get me started.

Craft your own message and if it proves to have high positive reply rates, use it as a template. Trust me, all the templates you see on the internet are already shopworn, and what was once a highly efficient email copy is not one anymore.

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Potential Issue 3. Your email is too long.

It’s almost 2019, leave walls of text in the past. Your message should always be short, easy to read, and to the point. Don’t describe all the fancy features you offer, reveal just enough to catch their attention and leave them wanting more.

Potential Issue 4: You talk about yourself too much.

No one cares about how good you are. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. Your prospect doesn’t care how big your company is, what awards you’ve won, or how much potential you’re showing.

They care about themselves, their profit, and solving their problem. And if you don’t care about this too, you will not get a reply. Check if your email comes across as too self-absorbed and salesy.

Potential Issue 5: You don’t know your audience.

Even when it seems like your email is perfect, the subject line is clear, the content of your email is to the point and the CTAs are self-explanatory, one thing can be off – your audience.

If your target audience is not clearly defined, sending an email campaign becomes no more effective than a shot in the dark. This, however, is easy to fix – just check for the following common mistakes:

  • Multiple target audiences: you think your product can appeal to multiple audiences (HR, sales, marketers), and you use one email copy for all of them.
  • Your product has changed: if your product, service, or platform underwent some drastic changes, your target audience changes with them.
  • Your data is old: keep your target audience research and prospect data up to date. Old data can do more harm than good.
  • You don’t have a Perfect Buyer Persona: before you can define your target audience and start collecting leads, you need to create a perfect buyer persona.

Now what?

Always follow up on no-replies. Change your initial email and focus on what else you can offer. Use the advice above to check, recheck, and perfect your email copy.

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Don’t Stop Improving

No one said email marketing is easy. You need to be caring and attentive with each and every prospect. So pay attention to all the replies you receive, improve your email marketing tactics and techniques, and always do your best.


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