How to write follow-up email (+11 examples)

If someone ignores your message, it absolutely doesn’t mean, by default, they refuse to work with you. There are numerous explanations for this, from distractions to vacation/sick leave. 

You probably have already heard that by contacting prospects only once, you cut at least 50% of available options.

Even when people understand the cold email follow-up is essential, they don’t always remember that 6 follow-ups is ≠ 6 identical messages in a row like «just checking in… have you read my message».  

The emails may be of any length and follow up phrases, though they should feel human and relevant. When you are going to ping someone, it is a good idea to access the context and make informed decisions about the content you send. The following up process is all about getting a reply. Put yourself in the recipient's shoes and consider what might be relevant. 

Here are 6 email follow-up scenarios with some tips you can adapt to your own situation.

What causes prospects to ignore your email

We often struggle to get responses from popular guys who are correspondingly busy. Below we collected a few reasons, so you don't feel embarrassed or think you'll sound aggressive with your business email follow up. 

  • Missed the first email among the piles of others in their inbox.

  • They opened your first message, started reading, and then got distracted. When they came back, your email was hidden under many new ones.

  • They understood the need to read the email later in detail, marked it unread, then procrastinated, and finally deleted it. 

  • They basically ignore all cold emails — you should test other channels or contact their colleagues.  

  • They basically skip emails on a certain subject. So they’ll ignore even the perfect follow up email.

  • The subject line is boring and looks spammy. 

  • They expect you will sell something and avoid it.

  • The email isn’t urgent, and they put it off.

  • They are on vacation or sick leave.

  • They aren’t the right person in the company and aren’t motivated to redirect you.

  • And so on.

Bonus: prospects might ignore you because they actively use another email
With the app, you can find all prospect's valid professional emails

What is a follow-up email

A follow-up email is a message you send after you’ve already contacted a person, though you didn’t reach your goal from the first email (a reply, a meeting, a decision, etc.) 

How to send a follow-up email

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when planning your follow-ups:

  1. You don’t need follow-ups in some cases

  2. Adopt a number of follow-ups for your audience

  3. Try various tones and formats

  4. Focus on one fact/idea per follow-up

Follow-ups aren't worth the effort in some cases

You have a market of millions of potential clients/partners/you name it. In this case, it turns out that it is more cost-effective to outreach new prospects than to follow up. The first email is more likely to be answered. With each next sales follow-up email, the likelihood decreases. Simple maths. 

Here is the Yesware data, e.g., you have a 30% likelihood to get a reply on the first email and 10% — on the 8th email. 

Determine how many follow-ups will fit your audience

You might need 10-13 follow-ups in enterprise sales, and only 1-2 make sense in link-building and journalist outreach.

In the U.S., it's normal to send 7 follow up sales emails, in the EU, it's 4, and in Japan, it's even less and less frequent.

With cold outreach, it's a good idea to stop at some point (6-7th email), while with warm leads, you can send an infinite number of unopened emails until the recipient unsubscribes. 

Experiment with tones and formats

Even if you know your audience perfectly, you don’t know the exact personality on the other side of the screen. So we recommend testing various techniques with each effective follow-up email. You can even automate it.

Idea per follow-up

Avoid pulling all your research into one writing. First, it is creepy for a prospect — «he's watching me?» Second, you spend all reasons for reaching out at once, though you could add one fact across your pings. 

Focus on one fact/idea per follow-up instead.

When to send a follow-up email

The first follow-up is better to send in 1-2 days, so the recipient has time to check it. The 2d ping and 3rd follow up email are sent during the same week with similar time gaps. 4th-6th are sent every week. 

Tip: During 4-6 pings, start contacting other people from the company. 

We recommend: 

  • Variate your sending days and times. You never know the exact timetable of the recipient. So you can just guess when they check their inbox.

  • Avoid too frequent follow up sales emails. You may seem aggressive and overly salesy.

  • Make time gaps appropriate for your audience. E.g., you can send the first follow-up for a US prospect in 2 days, though you’d better wait 2 weeks in the case of a Japanese prospect.

What to include in a follow-up email

The content of each new sales follow-up email should bring benefit to recipient. Even if the potential client were skeptical about your first email, they might change their mind with your new reasons. Another way, they may respect you for your quality work and respond just based on the grounds.

It means you don’t just remind about yourself referring to your first message. You furnish each cold email follow-up with a new explanation of why prospects should respond to you. 

Here are ideas of what you can add to your emails:

  • A client's feedback from the company in the same field

  • Diagrams that show the results they can expect

  • Blogs, e-books, guides — any unique content that will be helpful

  • Your case studies

  • GIFs and memes to make them smile

  • Summary from a piece of niche news 

  • Tell about one of their competitors, what they do, and their progress

  • And more

Follow up email examples

  • First contact after no reaction

  • You don’t get a response on other channels

  • The recipient ghosted 

  • A lead «isn’t interested» in your offer

  • You sent >7 follow-ups with silence in response

  • A potential client unsubscribes or strictly refused

Below are suggestions for message content in various scenarios. Take the offered versions and adapt them to your audience. 

Follow-up email sample #1. First business follow-up email sample after no response

Assuming your first message just gets lost in the recipient’s inbox, the first ping may have less value. So-called «bump» emails get your initial message an extra chance of being seen. Send the message in the thread with the first email. «Bump» emails are fast, straight to the point, and easy to respond to. That’s why the tactic often gets a reasonable response rate. Here is follow up email after no response template: 

Subject: Re: {{companyName}} + e.ventures

Hey {{firstName}}, 

Have you checked my previous email? It would be great to connect over an introductory call in the coming days or weeks.

I'd be happy to elaborate on our investment thesis and how we like to be helpful to businesses outside of just a capital injection.

Though if you find it cost-effective to dedicate extra time to your sending a follow up email after no response sample, sure, add little value and more personalization:

Subject: Re: I've seen your Start-up profile on Launch DXB

Hi {{firstName}}

Hope you are well!

Have you reviewed my previous email?

Also please have a look at our blog post about steps for MVP development for startups.

I hope you'll find it interesting!

Best regards, 

{{signature}}

Follow-up email sample #2. You don’t get a reply on other channels

If you are applying a multi-channel cadence, email is most likely one of your steps. For instance, you connected and messaged them on LinkedIn. Then, with their name and company, you found their email using a contact enrichment tool. Now you want to craft the second follow up email template. 

1. Extra info after LinkedIn message

Subject: promised to send you the {{video_article_presentation_document_etc}}

Hi!

I contacted you on LinkedIn and promised to send you extended information on dealing with {{customer_problem}}.

Would you be open for a 10-minute call on Monday or Tuesday at 4 pm, so I can explain the document?

2. Business follow up letter sample after non-business related chat on LinkedIn

Subject: Question?

Hello {{firstName}},

We recently got in touch on LinkedIn, I'm Louis.

The resurgence of COVID-19 will cause you to think about new ways to disinfect your public places.

I am offering an innovative disinfection solution, effective (99.99%), durable (1 year of disinfection after application), and above all, eco-responsible. All while respecting your budget line.

Do you have time next week for a short introduction call?

Thank you in advance for your return,

Regards,

{{signature}}

Follow-up email sample #3. Your prospect ghosted 

Let’s imagine you sent the first email, and they positively replied, you proceed and ask for a meeting, and then…silence. Or they agreed to sign up imminently and again… nothing has happened since then. 

There are cases when prospects seem interested, though they don’t proceed with any conversation. Here we provide several samples of reminder email for no response.

1. You agreed they would contact you in 2 months

Subject: Talked in December. What’s next? 

Good morning, {{first_name}}. Fantastic weekend?

We had a couple of convos in December about cold call outreach effectiveness for your team, talked about some next steps right after the holidays, and I noticed we hadn’t gotten that time scheduled yet. I think one of a few things may have happened: 

1) 2021 ambushed you and the team with other priorities, and this has been tossed to the back burner 

2) You decided to move forward with cold call training, simply not with me 

3) Like many, you’re still digging out, appreciate the patience and nurturing nudge, and are ready to chat 

If you face these or other reasons, let me know if you are ready to proceed with us? 

I’m OK with any response, simply don’t like to assume (I’m typically wrong when I do)

:)

Talk soon!

{{signature}}

2. Quick follow up when you agreed they would test your tool

Subject: on our arrangements

Hello, {{first_name}}! 3 weeks ago, we agreed you would test our tool. Maybe you have some doubts?

Would you mind a 10 min call so we can discuss your experience with {{name_of_the_tool}}? 

If you are more comfortable with email, messenger, or other communication formats, I am open to any.

Regards,

{{signature}}

Follow-up email sample #4. A prospect «isn’t interested» in your offer

This cold email follow-up template for the case when you are 99% sure they need it or use the alternative. For example, you know they just closed the investment round and need your financial tool. Check the samples.

1. Cold email follow-up for handling the objection

Subject: Cases from uninterested clients

Hi! {{first_name}}, I understand your decision. Most of our customers initially responded with not being interested because they didn’t know us. Would you like to know why they became customers?

{{signature}}

2. Follow up email template with research specifically for their company 

Subject: what I get from researching {{marketing}} at {{company_name}}

Hi! I caught your decision. It is absolutely OK. You might haven't had time to learn the full potential of {{product_name}} for you.

I prepared a short summary of results your company can get in 6 months with {{product_name}}. Would you check? It will take several minutes. 

Thanks for your time. I hope this information helps you make a decision and would be happy to discuss it. 

{{signature}}

Follow-up email sample #5. You sent >7 follow-ups with no response

At this stage, you have nothing to lose. So it is time for a weird and creative sample follow-up email after no response from a client. Here are 2 examples. 

I had a client who ignored everything. I sent him a poem and added: «I hope while you were reading this poem over your morning coffee, you recalled me and will reply today». And he replied!

Matthew Roberts told us about his quick follow-up experience with FaceTime cold calls.

«One time, I booked a meeting with a CEO, and he mentioned he was going to tell his sales team to do the same (face-timing) — which I advised against and said i don't think its the best tactic, but in sales, you have to try everything, so we did :)»

Follow-up email sample #6. A prospect unsubscribes or strictly refused

In this case, you should leave them alone, THOUGH you have the last-chance email.  Tell something extraordinary to catch their attention or at least make a good impression so that they will recommend your product to their friends, colleagues, business partners, clients, etc. Follow up email template of what you can send in the situation.

Subject: I stop outreaching you, but you need to know this

Hi! 

You are unsubscribed from my messages. 

I have to notify you that {{one_of_their_main_competitors}} started to work with us last week.

Tip. In case you badly need the client: 1. Contact their colleagues. 2. Outreach them through other channels while avoiding talks about business for some time. 

Summary 

  • Prospects may ignore you. It is OK.

  • If you have an endless market, it may turn out cold email follow-up is cost-effective for you.

  • Writing a good follow up email, add something helpful, interesting, or funny.

  • Place one reason of contact per ping. Don’t overload your email.

  • Your audience will determine how often and how many emails you send. Though you will typically send 6-7 emails during 2-3 weeks.