There’s no shortage of data on the effectiveness of cold emails, but one underrated and even more effective strategy that builds on cold emails is having a follow-up sequence.

The stark reality is that 70% of salespeople stop sending emails after the first one, leaving out lots of potential opportunities. In this article, we’ll go over what makes follow-up emails so effective, how you can write one that drives results, how many and how often to send, and a lot more.

In this blog, you will learn:

  • Why Cold Email Follow Ups Work
  • Elements of Effective Cold Email Follow Ups
  • Cold Email Follow Up Templates You Can Copy

Why Follow-Ups to Cold Emails Work

Using not one, but many follow-up emails can triple response rates compared to not sending any. Simply following up with just one email can increase the chances of hearing back by 25%.

These numbers can be game-changers for a business, especially with a follow-up sequence organized at scale. But that’s where things can get challenging. Creating a follow-up email requires the same care and consideration as creating a cold email, and can be time-consuming if not automated, as we’ll see in a moment.

How to Write a Cold Email Follow-Up

We’ve gone over the importance of follow-ups, now let’s cover the main four elements to crafting a great follow-up email.

Use Another Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

If you took the right steps in creating your cold email, you’ve already used a subject line that grabs attention. Similarly, the goal of a follow-up email is to be opened by the prospect, and that starts with the subject line.

The same tactics for cold email subject lines can be used here. Keep your subject line short to around 45 characters for optimal visibility on mobile devices. Add personalization like their name, a pain point, or additional info that will build intrigue.

Some examples are:

  • Hey [Prospect Name], this helped reach [insert case study metric].
  • [Mutual connection] mentioned you the other day!
  • [Prospect name], is [pain point] still an issue?

These subject lines are short, concise, and build intrigue to learn more. The subject line of a follow-up email doesn’t always have to make it clear it’s a follow-up, it’s just another attempt to get the conversation going.

Give Context

Starting out, mentioning that your email is a follow-up is not always necessary. That’s because your prospect may have deleted the previous email, forgotten it, or it simply got lost in their inbox.

When it comes to what kind of context to include, email tracking tools can help you decide on the right approach.

For example, a prospect that opened your email is not the same as one who didn’t, and both should be addressed separately if possible. An opened email shows there was interest at some point but not enough to result in a reply, and now the key is to approach from a different angle. But in case these email tracking tools are not available, the upcoming principle still applies.

Focus on How Your Prospect Will Benefit

Whether you know if your prospect opened the previous email or not, the focus of your follow-up is the same: explaining what’s in it for them. Example questions to ask when crafting a follow-up are:

  • What pain point can be addressed that wasn’t previously mentioned?
  • How can you convey your value in a different light?
  • What social proof or outcomes can you mention that will garner interest?
  • Are there any special offers you can give that will entice your prospect to take action?

If you know which prospects didn’t open your email then the follow-up should include the same core aspects of the original outreach attempt, since they are still unaware of the value you bring to the table.

Include a Call To Action That Gets Traction

Your previous cold email included a CTA but this time you want something a little more personalized. The previous CTA was likely inviting and warm like “What time can we chat?” but now, something a little more powerful and urgent is needed.

In addition to including a scheduling link like Calendly, some ideas are:

  • Add statements that address the pain point in your CTA: “Let’s chat this week on how we can [solve pain point] for good.”
  • Be straightforward. Consider making your CTA a Calendly button that says: “Schedule a time that works for you.”

Follow-Up Emails: When and How Many

There is no exact number on how many follow-ups to send, but as we saw earlier, reports show that 4-7 follow-up emails can triple reply rates.

The problem is there are too many variables to pinpoint best practices. A list of CEOs is not the same as a list of dentist clinics. The former typically reply very quickly and require more persistence and follow-ups in case they don’t.

Based on email reply times, over 95% of replies happen within 24 hours. Past that, and it’s more likely than not that your email won’t get a reply. That’s why some experts would recommend sending a follow-up the next day to keep the ball rolling.

Take into consideration your prospect’s time, how busy they might be, and time zone differences. There’s a fine balance between adding value and becoming a nuisance, but generally sending a follow-up every two to three days is safe.

How To Automate Follow-Up Emails with Instantly

Manually sending email follow-ups can be a hassle and a huge time-sink, but you can easily automate all that and a lot more when setting up your email campaign.

automated email follow up emails

You can add as many steps (follow-ups) to your campaign as you like and schedule what days, time, and frequency suit your campaign best.

email follow up scheduling

Learn more on how you can create, edit, and automate your cold outreach with to save time, track results, and boost conversions.

3 Bonus Cold Email Follow-Up Templates

Looking for inspiration for your next follow-up sequence? These 3 follow-up email templates might help.

Short and Simple

A short and sweet follow-up shows you respect your prospect’s time and is a pleasant reminder for them to connect.

Hey {{Name}},
I’m reaching out because our [SaaS solution] has proven to bring in 2x more weekly leads for [industry e.g. real estate agents].
We’ve got a free trial period running right now and the feedback from [prospect location] has been phenomenal.
Let’s talk details! You can schedule a time that works for you.
[Schedule link]

Give a Compliment

A compliment goes a long way in person and in emails. It shows you’ve done some homework and opens a prospect up to replying.

Hi {{Name}},
I saw on Twitter your recent thread on lead generation and shared it with my team at [company name]!
Our [lead gen solution] has just been released and I’d love to get your feedback. We’ve got a special account set up and ready for you to try. Would [date and time] work to talk details?
Let me know!
[Calendly CTA button to schedule a call]

Share Value

Sharing industry insights and tips is always welcome, especially if they are unique and based on your own research.

Hey {{name}},
Forgot to share this last time! I know how {{pain point}} is still a major issue for many companies, so I thought I’d share a quick workaround that has worked wonders for my clients:
{{brief description of solution}}.
Let me know how it works if you try it out. If that was helpful, let's talk about how to solve this problem for good!
[Include booking link]

Key Takeaways

Follow-up sequences are an integral part of an effective outreach campaign. Think of them as extra opportunities to get a conversation started. When setting up a follow-up email, keep in mind that:

  • Follow-up emails don’t need to be pushy or annoying.
  • You don’t always have to mention your email is a follow-up.
  • You can exchange value and approach a pain point from a different angle.
  • Offering free trials, special deals, and other benefits can help your prospect take the next step.