How humor affects response rates for follow-up sales emails (we’ve got the data)

by Steli Efti

I preach the gospel of the follow-up almost every day of my life. I've written an entire book about it. And if you're in sales, you've probably come across these follow-up emails that employ humor to elicit a response. Do they work?

In this post we share some general best practices plus the exact follow-up email a B2B software company used, including all the metrics that really matter to sales teams selling via email, namely: open- and response rates.

How do you spice up the follow-up?

Many ask me for new creative ways to spice up their follow-up hustle and I've recently come across an awesome guy who's putting some "funny" in his follow-up and seeing great results with it.

Rachman is the co-founder of FunnyBizz and we met at the Lean Startup Conference in December.

He gave an awesome talk on how to effectively follow up with humor.

One of my favorite ideas from the talk was that he used to follow up with potential sponsors for his conference and when he didn't hear back, he would send them a funny gif of Cookie Monster waiting with no further text. :)

cookie_monster_waiting_(1)

The response rates were great (watch the video below of his talk if you want to learn more). 

Experiments in humor talk

After his talk, I told him I wanted to learn more about FunnyBizz. He reached out and I thought I'd test his true follow-up hustle by not responding for a while. :)

You know, it's one thing to preach something on stage and another to practice it in real life. When he didn’t hear from me in a while, he sent this awesome follow-up video. 

Personal follow-up video (the funny is happening at the second half)

This is a great example of how to be creative in your follow-up and create immediate value in a relationship by putting a smile on someone's face and making their day a little brighter. 

The baby ducks follow-up

A reader recently forwarded me a hilarious follow-up email he received from GoCo.io. I thought it was great and wanted to share it with you all:

funny-follow-up.png

We got permission from the author to share some results of how those emails performed.

It's important to remember that open rates and reply rates will greatly vary by industry, size of companies you target, and the roles within those companies.
 
In the below scenario, GoCo.io is a HR & Benefits Software solution that targets the CXO of companies with 10 to 500 employees. They shared both the results of the Baby Duck Goodbye email, and how it did compared to the control that was previously used which is a straight text only good bye email. See the results below:
sales-follow-up-email-humor-statistics.png
The reply rate on the cute baby duck email was nearly 2X that of the plain text email. 
 
They do track positive, negative, and neutral replies and they were willing to share that the ratio stayed consistent between the two emails.
 

Learn (aka steal) these strategies to crush it harder in your follow-up hustle! 

Want to learn more about following up with prospects? Get my latest book (as of May 2017) free!

The Follow-up Formula