Question

How do you automate follow-up emails?

I've got a funny use-case for a client I'm volunteering on.

They're dealing with some legacy folks who work in Excel. Every week they send out an email to a series of people with an Excel sheet attached. Then they ask for it back. If they don't get it back within X days they want to follow up.

Right now I'm automating the sends by using Zapier to "watch" for a Google Drive file, perform a lookup based on the name, and send the email. It's awkward, but it works! The trouble comes on the follow-up side.

Strangely Gmail doesn't have a "reply" Zapier function. This feels like a job reply.io or hubspot could certainly handle, but I wonder if it's overkill.

How do you think about automating follow-up emails?

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devil_danii's avatar

Hi, I have developed a product that does the automation of sending follow-ups for me. The product is fully developed now. Now I am working on the UI/UX, marketing and other things. Also, we are actively looking for new users to test out our product. I can set up a free account for you if you want.

Thanks.

5 points
ezramechaber's avatar
@ezramechaber (replying to @devil_danii )
27d

Does it integrate with Zapier (or allow specific search strings)? Would love to talk more!

1 point
devil_danii's avatar
@devil_danii (replying to @ezramechaber )
27d

Currently, It is under development phase. But we have all the basic features that you mention that you wanted (send follow-ups only if no replies are found). But we can discuss more email me if you are interested danipratik91@gmail.com.

1 point
maguay's avatar
27d

This is actually a challenge with a lot of drip email services. I use Customer.io, and it can get someone out of a drip campaign if they open a message or click a link in a message—but it can't watch for replies, and so can't stop a campaign if someone replies.

automated followup emails in Front

So instead I've used Front, after starting to use it for customer support emails. It syncs with your email account and can watch for replies, and so could be perfect for this setup. Basically, you'd add your inbox to Front, create a new Sequence, add all the contacts who should get the email, write the first email with the spreadsheet, and then add a second email to the sequence. By default, the second email will show at the top "Followup in 2 days if no reply"—set that to the number of days you want to wait. That will then only send the followup email to the people who haven't replied yet. You can't start a Front sequence from Zapier, so it'd always be a bit manual in getting the initial email sent, but the followups would be automated.

Zapier does now have a Gmail Reply to Email action, so I think you could build this full workflow in Zapier though it'd be a bit tedious. I think basically you'd have to have one Zap that watched Gmail for new emails, and listed them in a Google Sheets sheet (or a Zapier Storage database) with their sender email, subject, email ID, and more. Then you'd have another Zap that has a say Google Sheets trigger to watch for new entries in a contact sheet to send emails, a Gmail action to send the first email, a delay to wait to send the followup, then a Google Sheets search action to check the first Zap's spreadsheet to see if the recipient had replied yet, and if not have a final action to send the followup email. You could maybe simplify this with a Gmail Find action instead of the spreadsheet log.

On a far more manual way, I've done stuff like this with Superhuman more than fully automating it. Typically the flow there is I'll email someone, then set a "remind me" for several days later, and Superhuman will put the original email back in my inbox on that date unless the recipient replies first. And now, Gmail itself has something similar built-in with its "Snooze email" feature. But that's better for one-on-one emails, not sending emails to a list of folks.

4 points
ezramechaber's avatar
@ezramechaber (replying to @maguay )
27d

That's a phenomenally thorough answer, and the Zapier logic is a smart way of doing it - I was originally looking to use the Zapier's "reply to email" gmail extension, but storage is a really smart way of thinking about it.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ezramechaber )
27d

Frankly I often just go with Google Sheets instead of Storage (as it's easier to view your data and make sure things are working right—and then to use that as a backup if they go wrong), but definitely nice to have a built-in option.

1 point
ezramechaber's avatar
@ezramechaber (replying to @maguay )
17d

So I spent some time with Front which seemed SO promising, but I'm kind of shocked that their Sequences only works if you have a .csv upload. Very strange!

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ezramechaber )
17d

@ezramechaber I was thinking that you could add contacts to a Front workflow from Zapier ... but you're right, it is still locked down to only .csv imports and manually adding contacts.

There is one trick that helps: You can send a Front Sequence to a contact group. Add contacts to a contact group in Front first, then in the first step of building a Front Sequence where you can either import a CSV or type contacts manually, type the contact group name, and Front will populate all of those contacts into the Sequence. That helps automate one-off new campaigns, though there's still no way to make a campaign that's automatically sent to every new contact though. You could have Zapier update a contact with a group name based on an event, then run the Sequence again, but yeah, it is surprisingly manual still.

1 point
qthdh's avatar
27d

Maybe Mailshake would help.
It's been built specifically for outreach business emails but their follow-up feature is pretty powerful.

4 points
ezramechaber's avatar
@ezramechaber (replying to @qthdh )
27d

I haven't seen Mailshake before, thanks for sharing it!

1 point
osbennn's avatar
@osbennn (replying to @qthdh )
26d

Yeah, this is what my team uses for outreach, and we like it a lot.

1 point
osbennn's avatar
@osbennn (replying to @osbennn )
26d

If you don't want to migrate your whole operation to a dedicated app, then this might do the trick for you well enough within gmail: https://www.boomeranggmail.com/l/follow-up-email-no-response.html

1 point
Charles's avatar
27d

Intercom would work really well in this case.

2 points
ezramechaber's avatar
@ezramechaber (replying to @Charles )
27d

Wasn't on my list for thinking about, but totally should have been. Thanks man.

1 point
david_sarlos's avatar

Hi @ezramechaber 👋 Rebump is an easy-to-use tool that integrates nicely in your Gmail.

You can create different sequences and add multiple bumps with custom follow-up dates and variables.

I've used for some months now and worth the value for sure. You can check it out here: https://www.rebump.cc

2 points
duncanm's avatar
23d

https://bluetick.io/ can almost certainly do this.

Sidenote: Bluetick is built by Mike Taber, the co-founder of MicroConf.

2 points
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