Learn how to set automatic follow-up email campaigns to be sent after an email campaign is sent, to dramatically increase your response rates. Reminders will be sent to your recipients in stages, until you get a reply (or an open or click).
An example: you send an email campaign to 100 warm leads from a trade show offering to set up a demo of your product. When you send that campaign, you set it so that two days later, a reminder is sent to anyone that hasn’t replied, and three days after that, another reminder is sent, and a few days after that, a final email is sent asking for a reply.
It’s easy to use, and you can try it right now using the standard follow-up language we’ve come up with. Just check the box next to each “stage” you want sent, make any adjustments to the timing and language, and hit the GMass button to send.
Important points to know
- You can use this feature for both mass emails and individual emails. If you’ve been using another Gmail tool, like Rebump, for follow-ups to your individual personal emails, you can eliminate that tool and use GMass instead.
- You can choose whether the automatic follow-up is based on recipients opening or replying or clicking. If you choose “Didn’t Open” as your follow-up action, fewer follow-ups will be sent, because you will almost always have more Opens than you will Replies. If you choose “Didn’t Reply” as your action, more follow-ups will be sent.
- Use the power of this feature sparingly. You likely don’t want to configure auto follow-ups with every campaign you send. This will cause your recipients to get additional emails from you, and you should only use this feature on emails to people where you genuinely want a reply.
- If you want your auto follow-up messages to include more than just plain text, you can add rich text the message to your follow-up emails. This is done by creating the auto follow-up message in the Gmail Compose window and saving it to your account, and then selecting “Send custom message…” and choosing the message from the dropdown menu.
- You can also personalize the auto follow-up email with personalization variables, as shown in the screenshot below.
- After you’ve launched a campaign with automatic follow-ups, you can edit or cancel the auto follow-up settings. Here you can also add auto follow-ups to a campaign after the fact if you forgot to do so when you originally sent it, but be careful. Changing the settings to an already-sent campaign can trigger an immediate batch of reminder emails to be sent, if you’re not careful with the settings. If you change your mind and now wish to prevent auto follow-ups from sending, just set the “Days” to 0 for any particular Stage.
- You can manually remove someone from the sequence of auto follow-ups. For more information on how to do that, see this separate blog post on manually removing someone from an auto follow-up sequence.
- You can use this feature with or without Google Sheets. If you use it with Google Sheets you can personalize your emails based on much more than just First and Last Name.
- If you’re setting auto follow-ups based on replies, you can toggle a domain-match setting such that if anybody at a domain responds, all future follow-ups to everybody at the same domain will stop. See the auto follow-up domain match setting doc for more information.
How the timing works
The timing of the reminder emails is based on the time that each individual email of a campaign was sent, not when the campaign was launched. Example scenarios:
- The Days for each Stage are based on the time the original email is sent, not when the prior Stage is sent. For example, if Stage 1=2 Days, and Stage 2=5 Days, then Stage 1 will send 2 days after the original email, and Stage 2 will send 5 days after the original email, not 5 days after Stage 1 is sent.
- If you create your campaign on Monday, but schedule it to be sent on Wednesday with the first stage follow-up sending two days later, then the first follow-up to the non-responder will be sent two days from Wednesday, meaning Friday.
- If you create a campaign on Monday and use the “spread out” feature to send 100 emails/day for three days, and you include a Stage 1 follow-up going 2 days later, then each non-responder will get his first follow-up two days after his original email. So for the 100 emails on Monday, the follow-ups will be sent Wednesday. For the 100 emails sent on Tuesday, the follow-ups will be sent Thursday, and so on.
- If you use the “Just create drafts” option on your campaign on a Monday, but then wait to click the link to have the drafts sent until Tuesday, the timing of the automatic follow-ups will be based on Tuesday because that is when the Drafts were sent.
- If you enable the Skip Weekends option, then an auto follow-up will never get sent on a weekend, and the different Stage setting for Days become business days, not all days. Monday through Friday are business days. For example, if your original campaign sends on Wednesday and has a Stage 1 follow-up set to 7 days, and you enable Skip Weekends, then the Stage 1 follow-up will send 9 days later on the following Friday, since that Friday is 7 business days after that Wednesday.
What counts as a reply?
We’ve refined our algorithm that detects replies to an outreach campaign by poring over thousands of sample emails. Our reply detection mechanism is now fairly accurate but isn’t 100% perfect.
Generally speaking, an email is only counted as a reply if it’s a legitimate reply from a person and not a bounce or an out-of-office auto reply. An email has a much higher chance of being counted as a reply if it appears as a reply to the same conversation thread in Gmail. Out-of-office auto-replies usually arrive as part of a separate thread, and not part of the original thread, so this is what prevents them from being counted a a reply.
What you see, and what your recipient sees
Your recipient will see your follow-up emails on top of the original and part of the same conversational thread.
You will see the follow-up emails as part of the same email thread in your Sent Mail folder, and each consecutive reminder will include the original and any previous reminders below.
The idea is that a follow-up email looks just like if you had found the original email from your Sent Mail, hit Reply, and then typed a new email on top and hit Send.
You will get email marketing reports on each follow-up stage just like you would any other mail merge campaign. The follow-up campaigns that are sent to non-responders will be labeled slightly differently so you an easily identify a regular email campaign versus an automatically sent follow-up email campaign.
The sending of auto follow-up emails is dependent upon certain factors, like being able to locate the original “sent” email in your Gmail account. Beware of these dangers which can lead to auto follow-up mishaps:
- Do not delete the original campaign from GMass Reports –> Sent Copies.
Doing so will prevent your auto follow-up emails from sending, because GMass relies on finding the original campaign to construct the auto follow-up.
- Do not delete the individual sent emails from your Sent Mail folder.
Doing so will also prevent auto follow-up emails from sending, because GMass won’t be able to find the original sent email to add the follow-up on top of.
- Do not add the “GMass Reports –> Replies” Label manually when replies to your campaign arrive in your Inbox.
GMass will automatically apply this Label to replies. If you manually apply this Label, GMass will skip the message and be unaware of the reply, and then an auto follow-up will go out to someone that has already replied.
- You can configure up to 8 stages of auto follow-ups.
- After you’ve set your auto follow-ups, you can cancel or edit them.
- If someone you’ve emailed calls you instead of replying to you, you may want to manually remove them from the auto follow-up sequence.
- You can use auto follow-ups to create an onboarding series of emails for new users. For example, if you want a series of 8 emails to go out in a timed manner after someone signs up on your website, you can do that.
- Sometimes you’re emailing multiple people at an organization hoping to just get one of them to reply. In that case you should stop auto follow-ups for everybody at an organization if just one person replies.
- The GMass campaign DRAFT must exist in your account under the GMass Auto Follow-ups Label in order to edit or delete auto follow-ups. If you accidentally deleted the DRAFT, try restoring your DRAFT.