How to write better follow up emails using the AIDA framework

AIDA is a widely used term in Marketing circles. You can use it as effectively in your follow up emails like how it is used in building marketing funnels. Let’s do a little recap of what AIDA stands for.

AIDA is used in advertising and marketing for taking buyers through 4 stages before they ultimately make a purchase – 

aida in follow up emails

1. Awareness/Attention – This step involves making buyers aware of your product, service or brand based on the understanding of their pains, challenges, and interests. 

2. Interest – Second stage involves generating interest from the buyers. This step involves holding their attention by talking to them about their pain points or making their pain points apparent and how it is having an adverse impact on their business.

3. Desire – This is the stage where you generate a desire to purchase your product. You talk about the benefits of using your product through features, social proof, case studies, etc.

4. Action – Action stage involves creating the urgency to buy or making the transition to take an action such as booking a call, making a purchase or filling a form seamless and easy. 

How does the AIDA model apply to write follow up emails

First of all, if you are sending cold emails and not following up, you are only doing 10% of the job required to generate leads through outbound email campaigns.

Secondly, if you are following up only once or twice, you are still leaving money on the table.

Steli Efti, Founder at advises on following up once every month after first 4 followups in a week until you get a response.
Courtest – Close

I hope now that we are on the same page that follow up emails move the needle in your favor, let us dive deeper into how we can apply the AIDA framework in writing follow-up email copies.

Generally, there is a tendency to either 

  • Provide too much information in the first email itself, create information overload and leave the prospect confused.
  • Or there are followups where only subject lines vary but the underlying message is the same without adding any value on top of the previous communication.

A subtle approach would be to take your prospect through the 4 stages with each follow-up written specifically to move the prospect to the next stage.

Depending on how many follow-ups you want to schedule you can keep each stage as much long or short.

To co-relate with advertising think How many ads of a particular type (stage) would you like to place for an individual buyer across different channels.

1. Cold Email/First E-mail – Attention Phase

The first email in the sequence is about getting attention and creating awareness by introducing your product/service. Go with the assumption that your prospect would be hearing about your product/service for the first time and it’s the start of a possible long-term relationship.

Think like how you don’t ask someone out on a date the first time you meet, you introduce yourself, share a few interesting bits without telling your whole life story. 

At the same time, leaving them curious enough to know more.  

Talk about what your product is and how it can benefit, with one of the following call to action- 

  • Nudging reader to visit your website  
  • Watch a demo video
  • Sharing a link to a personalized landing page 
  • You can even ask a simple question to which they can reply quickly without putting too much thought.
first follow up email - attention phase

2. First Follow up – Interest phase 

Continue from where you left off and build a connect, for e.g. you can start by asking whether they had a chance to look at the information you shared in the previous email.

Pique their interest by 

  • Sharing an article or blog that talks about solving their pain points or
  • Highlight their pain points and how your product/service can help

The goal is to generate trust by talking about their pain points and that you are reaching out with a solution that alleviates the pain.

At this stage, you can add social proof by giving reference to a competitor who faced similar pain point or by mentioning the names of companies which are similar in terms of stage of business.

One big mistake people often make is giving the wrong name as a reference, for e.g. mentioning the name of an enterprise company while reaching out to a mid-size company.

While enterprise names are great to hear but an insight into how you helped a mid-size company which faced similar challenges would be much more valuable. 

Keep the call to action as a link to a blog or help article that explains about tackling specific pain points.

second follow up email - interest phase

3. Second Follow up – Desire Phase

Keep building on the previous follow-ups, this time shifting attention to an industry-specific use case with a domain-based case study or white paper, that appeals directly.

Quantify the benefits so the reader feels the desire to reply back and know more details.

Think about how you made the other person feel as if you have known them forever and they are more than happy to go out on a first date.

Keep call to action either as a link to the specific case study or booking your calendar for a call/demo.

third follow up email - desire phase

4. Third Follow up email – Action Phase

Ideally, desire should lead to an action in itself, this followup should take care in case it does not happen and your prospect needs a bit more push. 

Ask about feedback on all the information you have shared previously and make it more of a goodbye prompting them to take action with a reply if they have not responded previously.

Capitalize by adding a bit of humor to improve your chances.

fourth follow up email - action phase

Capitalize by adding a bit of humor to improve your chances.

fourth follow up email part 2 - action phase

Although, we have demonstrated the framework by using one follow up email in each stage, however, you can use multiple follow-ups in each stage to nurture your prospect towards a reply.

Write the content of follow-up emails keeping in mind the stage you are writing them for.

We also recommend reading this article by Sales Hacker community on Step by Step guide on Sales Call Follow-ups with templates.

Here is what to do next

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Cold Emails