9 "Just touching base" follow-up email alternatives

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Author photo: Dann Albright

Dann Albright


If you want to grab someone’s attention, you need to stand out. And a generic “let’s touch base” email just isn’t going to cut it.


Because everyone says that. Touch base emails are boring office jargon that don’t stand out in a crowded inbox. They say, “Let’s have a conversation about ... well, something.”

And guess what? You have surprisingly many other options with more interesting (and impactful) wording.

In this post, we'll look at what follows your cold emails or initial conversations when sending your "touching base" follow-up emails (yes, this impacts open rates and how many responses you get from potential clients) and nine ways to send a sales email that doesn't just say, "Let's touch base":

  1. Re-emphasize your business value.
  2. Share something of interest.
  3. Propose a specific topic.
  4. Request a piece of information.
  5. Suggest a time and date.
  6. Comment on a piece of content.
  7. Send an invitation.
  8. Ask a question.
  9. Stand out with humor.

First, let's look at timing.

Timing matters. Your CRM can help with that.

So, before we go over what to say in your “touch base” emails—when should your sales team send them?

You could manually check all your customer records daily… or write reminders for yourself on sticky notes—or, you could do a lot of other, much more productive things with your time instead (like get even more clients) and have your CRM simply tell you when it’s time to follow up.

With a CRM, you can create system-generated tasks that are automatically scheduled based on triggers you set.

For example, your CRM can be set-up so that when an opportunity reaches a particular stage in the pipeline (like when a prospect downloads an ebook on your website), it creates a task for you to send them a follow-up email. Automatically.

Here's how building a workflow automation like this looks in Copper:

In Copper, a task could be created for you to send a follow-up email to an opportunity depending on the trigger you choose.

You can also integrate your CRM with a calendar tool like Google Calendar, so you’ll get alerts reminding you about your tasks no matter where you are or which device you’re using (in case you just so happen to not already have your CRM open).

Let’s be real though: a lot of people like to sync their lives to Google Calendar regardless. CRM lets you do that.

With Copper, you can set either one-time reminders in Google Calendar, or set them to repeat if you’d like to receive multiple.

Now, let's look at examples of emails you can write to follow up without saying, "Let's touch base."

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1. Re-emphasize your business value.

Want to catch someone’s attention?

Tell them what you can do for them. It’s probably how you made contact in the first place, and if it worked once, it’ll likely work again.

This is going to require knowledge of your prospect’s business, their specific problems, and your value proposition.

Here’s an example:

This type of email makes it immediately clear what you’re offering and why your prospect should respond.

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Watch and learn.

Learn how to do sales prospecting more effectively in this free webinar.

2. Share something of interest.

You can also offer something other than your product or service.

Try sending something that your prospect would like to read: a new blog post, a white paper, the results of your company’s research, or something else similarly valuable.

You can probably see a pattern here: in many cases, you don’t need to be as direct as saying, “Let’s schedule a meeting.”

Just let your prospect know that you’re available and want to help. They’ll get in touch when they’re ready.

3. Propose a specific topic.

“Let’s touch base” doesn’t say anything. It’s like saying, “Let’s catch up” or “Let’s make small talk.”

No one in the business world wants that. They want a specific agenda and an actual point to your meeting.

It doesn’t have to be anything ground-breaking. Here’s something rather simple:

Now your prospect or customer knows what you want to talk about. And they can see the value in the proposed conversation.

4. Request a piece of information.

Not every “touch base” email will be sent to a prospect or customer. Sometimes you’ll want to touch base with a colleague who you’d like to get information from.

Instead of using an overused phrase, why not just get straight to the point?

The recipient knows what you want, why you want it, and has a couple options for getting in touch.

Much more efficient than “Hey, let’s touch base.”

5. Suggest a time and date.

Many emails say, “Let’s touch base in a few weeks” or some other nebulous amount of time.

(Author’s note: this is a close cousin to “I’ll circle back around” or “Let’s take this offline.” Just say no to terrible office jargon.)

For a much better result, make a specific recommendation like this:

This makes it easy for your recipient to say yes or no. All they have to do is check their calendar and write a quick response. You can follow up with a calendar invite or another suggestion.

Make it easy for your prospect, and you’ll get much better responses.

6. Comment on a piece of content.

If your prospect blogs or is active on social media, you can tactfully respond to something they post.

The key here is tactfully. Don’t sound like a stalker.

Here’s one way you might go about it:

Again, notice here that you don’t need to include a hard pitch or a request for a specific commitment. Just make it clear that you’re still around, paying attention, and happy to help.

7. Send an invitation.

If you’re in the same area as your prospect, you can invite them to an event where you could meet in person. If you’re distant, an invite to a webinar or another online event will work too.

This is a lot like sending an ebook or white paper—you’re providing value. But you might also be setting up a time to talk without being pushy about it.

You could also propose a meeting immediately following the webinar, or during a break at a conference, or whatever else works for you and your prospect.

Whether you want to be this direct is up to you.

8. Ask a question.

Almost any of the ideas in this list can be phrased as a question, and this is a great way to get a response from your prospect.

The human brain can’t help but respond to questions.

Here’s a simple example:

Using a question in your subject line is also a great way to get people to open your email. Which is the first step in getting them to touch base with you.

9. Stand out with humor.

“Let’s touch base” is extremely... unfunny.

There’s nothing entertaining or interesting about it at all. Want to stand out from the dozens of competing emails?

Be funny. Make a joke. Share a funny story. Getting someone to laugh—even a little—will boost your chances of success.

You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian for this to work:

This isn’t an award-winning joke. You might even say that it’s not funny at all.

But even this little bit of levity is enough to stand out in a crowded inbox and get you one step closer to a follow-up call.

Say no to touching base.

“Let’s touch base” emails are boring. And being boring is not going to help you schedule sales calls, engage prospects, or close deals.

These nine ideas will help you take a different tack than the sales and marketing people competing for your prospects’ and customers’ attention.

Use them in combination with or to inspire your own creative ways to continue conversations.

And if you have a suggestion for replacing “let’s touch base” or other boring business phrases, let us know on Twitter! We’re always looking for ways to communicate more clearly.

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