Following up with a prospective customer or client is an artform. You need to come across as professional yet not be too aggressive. You have to watch your timing, as well as the volume of emails you’re sending.
Because email is something you can write in advance and schedule to send, it is one of the best ways to follow up.
But how do you write a message that gets you a response?
Stay tuned to determine how often you should follow up and the essential parts of a follow-up email. You'll also find nine examples of email for everyday occasions.
How Many Follow-Ups Is Too Far?
In terms of sales, about 80% of people will say “no” before agreeing. Does that mean you need to send at least four follow-up emails?
If we look at various reports on email open rates, the first email typically receives the highest rate. However, each subsequent message also gets a significant percentage, and that’s important to keep an eye on.
Given the data from Yesware, in a chain of 10 emails, you can get a 6–30% response rate. While the rate dwindles with each follow-up, persistence gives you an overall better response rate.
But blasting out emails will most likely annoy your recipient.
So how do you increase the likelihood of prospects not just opening or reading your emails, but actually replying to them? Let’s cover some ways to make a follow-up email enticing.
Things to Keep in Mind when Writing a Follow-Up Email
Whether you need to write a follow-up after a sales call or a discussion with a colleague, there are a few essentials to keep in mind while you're typing.
Before you start typing a follow-up email, make sure you know why you are reaching out.
Do you want to secure a deal, schedule another time to connect, or provide information to clarify a talking point? If you can determine the end goal, it will be easier to write a convincing call to action.
Some people are bad at remembering information. And that's usually okay – life is so hectic, there's a lot of data to process. Setting the scene for the recipient helps them understand why you are reaching out or how you met.
The context will also stop them from wondering how a stranger got their email because you're not a complete stranger anymore.
Make a straightforward and concise explanation of why you're emailing. It's common practice to say outright that it's a follow-up, but it's not necessary. The other person still needs to know why you decided to send another email.
Timing is crucial to keeping the conversation on track. Sometimes a call or a meeting will run over, and take up the time you had planned to prepare a summary of what was covered.
To resolve this, many people use email apps that allow scheduling messages. Then, you can write a follow-up in advance, and the app will send it automatically.
If you want to increase your chances of getting a response, make it personal. An inbox is a long list of subject lines – there's more luck if yours stands out.
Don't worry about making the subject too long. According to a study on email outreach, 36–50 word long subject lines have an almost 25% higher response rate.
If you want an email to lead somewhere, it has to have a call to action. And this action is based on your goals.
A CTA should be clear and actionable. It should give the recipient options and room for negotiation without sounding weak and hopeful. The purpose of a CTA is to achieve results.
The importance of including a signature is a topic in itself. Your sign-off gives essential details, such as who and what you are, where you work, and how someone can reach you.
Your signature should also follow your brand guidelines template to complete the image if you represent a company.
With these elements in mind, you can move on to writing a follow-up email.
Steps to Writing a Follow-Up Email
To sum up what we have just discussed, here is a handy checklist for crafting your email.
1. Open with context
Always start your follow-up email with a brief reason for writing it.
2. Provide more details
People often procrastinate replying because they don't know how to small-talk in emails. If appropriate, give details that include prompts, like a few questions or a request to provide feedback about a specific element.
3. Add a CTA
A call to action is another prompt to reply. It explains what you are expecting in response to the email.
For example, it can be a request to call back or arrange a meeting. It might simply be that you are waiting for a reply.
4. Add a signature
Your sign-off is a tool for recipients to find out more about you and your business. Aside from the contact details we mentioned above, a signature can also contain the following elements:
- A portrait photo so your emails don't go faceless.
- A link to your website.
- A CTA.
Your signature can also prompt any recipient to visit your website, blog, or contact you in any manner.
5. Craft a subject line
Most of your email success hangs onto the subject lines as they are the first thing to pop up in an inbox. It's also the essence of minimalism.
While a longer subject is more likely to get a response, it should be personalized to the person you're emailing but stay in line with the email's purpose.
A good strategy is to say what value a person can achieve by clicking on your email.
9 Common Follow-Up Email Examples
The theory is good, but sometimes practice is challenging without a few examples to lean on. Here are nine email templates following some of the most common occasions.
Any of these templates can be saved as canned responses or into your favorite online notebook.
After a Business Phone Call
Phone calls can be information-heavy and don't typically have a transcript for future reference. That's why it's useful to follow up the call with an email that summarizes your conversation, especially if you want the other person to do something in return.
It was great chatting with you about [something memorable about your conversation] the other day. I look forward to starting work on [your joint project/deal] so you can [the benefit they expect to achieve].
Please fill in the attached form so we can move to the next step. This should only take 10-15 minutes.
I will get back to you within a day after getting your response. I look forward to hearing from you!
[Your email signature]
This template has clear context, objectives, and a CTA but it might not get the response you want. If this is your case, don't shy away from sending another follow-up to your follow-up. Stay tuned for that example.
After a Virtual Meeting or Conference
Back to back virtual meetings? With so many standups, webinars, and conferences happening, this might be a more common type of follow-up to send than the previous example.
Let's take a meeting as an example, with the purpose of discussing an opportunity.
I enjoyed learning more about what your company does, especially that you [mentioned something memorable about the conversation].
Here's a brief overview of the services we provide:
– [mention only the services relevant to your prospect]
In case you need to compare notes, I've attached the recording of our meeting, as promised.
As far as next steps go, are there other stakeholders you’d like to include in the conversation?
Looking forward to discussing your project further soon.
This example starts on a pleasant note and sets the scene – in what circumstances you conversed with the recipient. It also provides information that the other person can use as a prompt to start a conversation.
After a Voicemail
How many times have you actually listened to a voicemail someone left? Make sure that a recipient listened to yours with a quick follow-up.
I'm dropping in to tell you that I sent you a voicemail about [purpose of your call].
In case an email is more convenient for you, here's the scope:
[mention what you do and how you can be beneficial]
Give me a call or reply to this email. Look forward to connecting with you.
People like options if there aren't too many. In this case, there are two. And a CTA to use one of them.
After a Contest
Contests are a great way to engage the audience with your brand and add up to your subscriber count. But only one or a handful of people can come out of it as winners. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow up with the entire mailing list.
How to announce winners in style? By congratulating everyone who participated.
Thank you for participating in [name of the contest]! We certainly enjoyed each and every one of your entries.
As for the fun part, let's take a moment to applaud the contest winner – [Name of contest winner].
If it wasn’t your lucky day, don’t fret. More contests are on their way. Stay tuned for future events.
This template is versatile. It speaks to all the participants and has a CTA to nurture expectations.
Note that you could go another route and follow up the winner announcement with another email. But in this case, you risk spoiling the mood for people who didn't open the first email. No one wants to be the last to find out.
After an Introduction
Making a good impression on a new acquaintance might be easy for you, but can you make it last? A follow-up email may do just that.
It was nice meeting you at [place where you met]. I'd love to learn more about [something you discussed/purpose of your email], as [reason why you're interested].
Let's catch up in the following weeks. I'm free on [days or dates when you're free] if that's convenient for you.
Looking forward to your response.
The template puts introductions into the context of your meeting place. It also provides a reason for emailing and also provides options for a response.
After Requesting an Action
Hope you're having a great week!
Just checking in if you had the chance to go through the [onboarding materials: link to documents or videos] I sent you last Tuesday.
I would also like to mention that our product can [add a few relevant benefits].
Let me know if you have any questions. Look forward to hearing from you.
With best regards,
This example has an extra phrase. Depending on your circumstances, it can be a good idea to ask how they're doing. This shows that you're interested in a solid relationship with the other person. It also shows that your interest is beyond simple gain.
After Sending a Quote
If a prospect is interested in your service, making sure a lead doesn't go cold is up to your email communication.
Phone calls may be annoying or inconvenient, but an email can be answered at any moment. On the other hand, they may get lost in an inbox.
Now imagine someone as busy as you – a quote demands several follow-up emails.
Just checking in to see if you had the chance to review the quote I sent you on [date] for [project in question].
If you need more details about our services or want to discuss the quote further, let's arrange a call. I'm available on [days or dates when you're free] if that's convenient for you.
Look forward to hearing from you.
With emails like this one, you need to move the prospect further down your pipeline. Otherwise, giving more details about your services in writing could extend the follow-up sequence for longer than it needs to be. That's why the call to action is requesting a meeting with clear directions for what information you need from them.
After a Follow-Up
Right on queue after the last example, if you didn't hear from someone after a follow-up sending another one is more than necessary. Remember that as many as nine emails can fall through the cracks before you get a response to the tenth one.
I didn't hear from you about [what your last email was about]. In case it got lost, here's a recap of our previous conversations:
[Give a summary of the project/deal you're trying to initiate]
If now isn't the right time, let me know when we can get back to discussing your project in more detail.
Look forward to hearing from you.
After Several Follow-Ups
As studies conclude, being persistent can give you a better response rate. However, a one-sided conversation can't last forever, so one of your follow-ups will have to be the last.
I’m sure you are busy these days. I tried reaching you several times about [purpose of your email] but haven't heard back from you.
I’d hate to be the reason you’re frustrated with your inbox, so do let me know if I should just get in touch with you at a later time when you’re less inundated with emails.
Would be glad to hear from you at any time.
Many people lead a busy life, so being persistent is key to improving response rates. Studies show that people might be more likely to reply to a sixth or sometimes the tenth email, so don't stop at two follow-ups.
At the same time, make sure you add value to the conversation – have an objective, reflect a purpose, and call the recipient to action. Writing catchy subject lines and closing with a professional email signature also helps.
About the Author
Carla Andre-Brown is a content marketer for Mailbird. She promotes having a healthy relationship with remote work and our inboxes. When she’s not working on content, she’s teaching digital marketing at BCIT or trying out a spicy recipe.