If you’re running a small business, you probably know that regular contact with your prospects and customers is essential for building those relationships and solving customer issues quickly.
But even getting through to your most engaged customers can be hard work given today’s busy schedules and crowded inboxes. Your messages have to resonate from the get-go. You just can’t afford to bore your contacts with bland subject lines, irrelevant information, or vague requests. So how can you stay in touch without annoying them?
In this post, we’ll explore different alternative ways for you to successfully reach out to your prospects and customers—without resorting to unimaginative “touching base” messages.
What we’ll cover:
- What is a “touch base” email?
- 10 alternative “touch base” email examples
- 3 non-email alternatives to “touch base” emails (that just might be more effective)
First, let’s define our terms.
📥 Are you over email? If you hit at least one of the points on our checklist, it’s time to consider an email alternative.
What exactly is a “touch base” email?
The phrase “touching base” is often used in business contexts when reconnecting with someone (e.g., “just touching base”) or proposing to make an appointment with them (e.g., “let’s touch base”).
“Touch base” emails are used in a variety of contexts: to arrange a meeting with a client, to ask a stakeholder what they think about a recent project development, or just to stay top of mind with prospects and customers.
The trouble is that “touching base” is an overly-used piece of business jargon. In fact, one in four employees regards it as the most annoying office buzzword around.1 The expression doesn’t stand out or convey anything particularly meaningful to those who read it—making it far from ideal if you want your emails to be opened, read, and replied to.
You’ll need something a little more imaginative and precise in order to get through to your contacts. You can either do this by being more thoughtful about your emails or by opting for non-email alternatives that help get your message across.
Let’s look at the email route first.
10 alternative “touch base” email examples
Whenever you’re making contact with a prospect or customer via email, you should make sure your message is clear, to-the-point, and contains some personal relevance for the recipient.
Emails of this kind are far more likely to make an impact and elicit a favorable response compared to messages that are vague, rambling, or insufficiently personalized.
Here are 10 alternatives to the cookie-cutter “touch base” email:
1. Propose a specific topic, date, and time
If you’re proposing a call or meeting with your contact, be specific—don’t leave them guessing with something vague like “let’s touch base in the next few weeks.”
A simple, clear-cut recommendation about what you’d like to talk about and when you’d like to talk about it makes it easier for your contact to say yes or no. You can then follow up with a calendar invite.
Example: “Hello [contact name]. Let’s book some time to talk about [topic]. How does [date and time] work for you?
2. Share a relevant resource
One of the best ways to stay top of mind with your prospects—without coming across as intrusive or pushy—is to send them a resource you think they’ll find valuable.
Sharing a useful article, podcast, eBook, or industry report will help you build trust by showing that you care about their industry and their success.
Example: “Hey [prospect]. As someone who works in healthcare [or any other industry], I thought you might find this guide on how to run a remote-friendly healthcare practice illuminating. It points out some interesting tips about hiring and marketing.”
3. Reference a piece of their content
One way to grab the attention of your recipient is to mention a recent piece of content they’ve published. This could be an article, a LinkedIn post, or even a Quora answer they recently wrote.
Make sure that any commentary you offer is thoughtful. You don’t want to sound too general, but you don’t want to come across as a stalker either.
Example: “Hey [client]. I just read your latest blog post about [topic]. Really interesting! I hadn’t thought about [relevant point] in quite that way before.”
4. Congratulate them after a trigger event
Events like promotions, product launches, and new rounds of investment present a great opportunity to reach out to your prospects and customers in a way that comes off as natural.
You can use your congratulations just as a way of keeping up appearances or as a way to bring up a product or service that your contact might find useful in light of the trigger event.
Example: “Hello [contact name]. Congratulations on the new role—can’t say I’m surprised! Let me know if you’d like to talk about [relevant product or service]. Many of our other clients in a similar role to yours swear by it.”
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5. Bring up common challenges
One way to show that you genuinely understand the pain points and needs of your prospects is to reach out to them about emerging challenges in their industry.
This proactive measure lets them know that your company has their best interests at heart, and gives you a better insight into the specific issues facing the players in their market.
Example: “Hello [prospect]. A lot of our clients have recently been experiencing [emerging challenge]. Have you been seeing the same issues? We’ve found that [tip] tends to help. If you’d like to hear more, how about a call next Friday?”
6. Offer some actionable advice
What better way to demonstrate the value you can bring to prospects than to offer them personalized, actionable advice about how to achieve a goal or fix some problem in their business?
The trick is to be respectful and gentle in your approach. You don’t want to put them off by insulting their efforts.
Example: “Hello [prospect]. Just seen some excellent reviews of [their product or service] on [review website]. Your clients seem particularly happy with [relevant features]. Have you ever considered doing [actionable tip]? I think it could help take [their company] to another level. Let me know if you’d like to discuss this further on a call.”
7. Reiterate your value
Sometimes your prospects and existing customers just need a reminder of what you can actually do for them.
A simple message that reiterates the various ways you can deliver value to their particular business may well convince them to move the conversation forward.
Example: “Hello [customer]. I hope you’ve been getting the most out of [your product or service]. Don’t forget we can also help you achieve [relevant goals] with our [relevant products or services]. If that’s something you’d like to discuss, let me know and I can arrange a brief call.”
8. Ask for information
When working on large-scale projects involving multiple stakeholders, you’ll often have to request information from your colleagues or partners.
Instead of saying “touch base,” why not get straight to the point?
Example: “Hey [stakeholder name]. Have you had a chance to look at the report I sent last week? Would be good to get your team’s feedback before Friday’s meeting. Are you free for a call at 3:00 P.M. tomorrow?”
9. Invite your contact to an event
A great way to add value to your prospects’ lives is to invite them to a local event or webinar where they can network with other players in their industry.
This creates the opportunity for you to meet them in person without forcing the matter.
Example: “Hey [prospect]. [Your company name] is hosting an educational event about [industry topic] at [location and date]. We’d really love to see you there.”
10. Reach out to ex-clients
Sometimes it makes sense to “touch base” with your previous clients to see how they’re getting on with their new supplier. They may be underwhelmed with the service they’re getting and would welcome a fresh conversation with you.
3 non-email alternatives to “touch base” emails
Instead of playing email tag all day, you can also stay connected with your prospects, customers, and clients by using other (often more effective) communication channels:
Here are three alternatives to email that can help keep your business conversations flowing—and the kicker is, you can do all three of them in the same app. Convenient, eh?
1. A business phone system
Touch-base calls are the voice-based equivalents to touch-base emails.
RingCentral’s cloud-based business phone system lets you make and receive secure calls using your carrier minutes, Wi-Fi network, or cellular data across all your devices. The system also includes conferencing, business SMS, and online fax functionality:
Learn more about the best cold calling software for small businesses.
2. Video meetings
When meeting in person just isn’t practical, RingCentral Video lets you speak face-to-face with clients and colleagues from anywhere, on any device.
You can even share your screen and record your online meetings (and save them to the cloud too). It’s literally an anywhere, anyplace workspace:
3. Team messaging
Team chats let you touch base and collaborate with other people in your company wherever you are.
You can also add guests from outside your company for easier cross-functional collaboration on more complicated projects.
Oh, and the bonus of using RingCentral’s app… is that you can have all three of these communication channels—messaging, video, and phone—in one convenient app:
No more “just touching base” emails…
When reaching out to a prospect, customer, or project partner, it’s essential to compose messages that draw the reader’s attention and compel them to respond.
This means doing away with well-worn, yawn-inducing office jargon.
Use the tips and examples covered in this post as inspiration to improve your business communication.