How To Write A Follow Up Email That Gets Replies

If you aren't following up with your leads, you're missing out on potential revenue. Learn how to write a follow up email that drives conversions today.

how to write a follow up email

Why Send Follow-Ups to Cold Emails?

It can be difficult to write effective cold emails. If you're like most people, you probably cringe at the thought of having to follow up on cold outreach.

There's no telling whether customized cold emails will work. And sending a follow-up message to someone who hasn't responded to your initial sales emails as a salesperson will, at some point, be discouraging.

However, follow-up emails have shown great success and should be a component of cold outreach for anyone looking to boost conversion rates.

But why?

  • 92% of sales pros give up after the 4th call, but 80% of prospects say “no” four times before saying “yes.” (Marketing Donut)
  • 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact, but most reps give up after just 2. (InsideSales)
  • Sales professionals who follow up within 24 hours of their initial contact attempt get an average response rate of about 25%. (Yesware)
  • 50% of the leads you generate are qualified but not ready to buy right now. (Gleanster Research)
  • High growth organizations report an average of 16 touchpoints per prospect within a 2-4 week span. (TOPO Sales Development)
  • The optimal number of email messages is five, and the optimal number of call attempts is six. (Velocify)

Follow-up statistics clearly suggest that following up with your prospects should be integrated into your sales pipeline, regardless of your methodology. Unfortunately, often due to a lack of sales automation and internal process, most salespeople fail to follow up with prospects.

Even if you didn't receive a reply to your primary email—consider why they may not have responded to your first outreach attempt. No response doesn't always equate to a dead-end or disinterest. Composing your second shot at contacting them is essential in converting cold emails into paying customers.

When To Send A Follow-Up Email

When it comes to sales follow-up emails, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. If you respond too soon, you risk coming across as pushy or, worse, being flagged as spam. If you wait too long, they may forget who you are, what you're offering, or lose interest.

Generally, you should wait between one and three days to follow up. This gives the prospect enough time to read and digest your initial email without forgetting about you entirely.

The best way to determine how often you should follow up with a prospect is to experiment; there's no way to know what will work best until you try.

If you're just getting started, here's what we suggest:

  • Follow-up #1: 2 days after the intro email.
  • Follow-up #2: 4 days after.
  • Follow-up #3: 7 days after.
  • Follow-up #4: 14 days after.
  • Follow-up #5: 30 days after.
follow up email example - guest blogs

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If you're selling time-sensitive products or services, you'll need to follow up more quickly. Similarly, you might want to send more frequent follow-ups to hot prospects (those who have shown interest in what you're selling) and less frequent follow-ups to cold prospects.

There's always the option of tailoring your follow-up schedule to each prospect. Some other factors to consider when deciding how often to follow up with a prospect include:

  • The complexity of the sale
  • The size of the purchase
  • Whether you're selling to a business or an individual consumer
  • How interested the prospect seems (if there has been correspondence)

So, now we know sending follow-up emails needs to be part of your outreach strategy, but how many? And when?

So, How Many Follow-Up Emails Should You Send?

There's a lot of reluctance when it comes to sending follow-up emails. People (generally) don't want to bother other people. It's one thing to send one lone offer, but if they wanted to reply, they would have done so already, right?

Can't we just accept that? Won't people get irritated?

That's a definite possibility. It's also something you shouldn't be afraid of.

Following up too often will undoubtedly annoy some potential customers, but new prospects seldom reply after the first cold email.

So, how do we find the balance?

When do we call it quits?

The follow-up sweet spot for your organization will be determined by your product or service and the life cycle of your consumer. In any case, establishing a follow-up email sequence and continuing to test your approach will be critical in converting more leads.

That being said, the bare minimum is THREE.

Email 1: Initial Outreach

Assuming you already know how to write an outreach email, we are going to keep it short and include the following elements:

  • Get their Attention: Hit them with the hook in the subject line.
  • Explain why you're reaching out.
  • Insert value proposition
  • Tell them why they should put their confidence in you.
  • Use an unambiguous CTA.

Keep a conversational tone, customize your content, add value, and clarify what you're looking for.

Email 2: The Reminder (2-3 days)

Emails are frequently overlooked; your prospect may be preoccupied or on vacation for a few days. The influence of a brief reminder can be remarkable. The reminder should be tactfully worded, as though you are simply reminding them of a task they may have forgotten.

Rather than repeating yourself, follow up in the same thread, inquire if they saw your previous email and if they had a chance to consider your offer.

Email 3: The (Fake) Break-Up

Still no reply?

The break-up email almost always elicits a response.

Some people just need a second reminder, while others need to be influenced to participate. While it may sound a bit manipulative, no one wants to miss out on a great offer.

The one-sentence this email needs to include is as follows:

"What could have persuaded you to change your mind?"

This approach is powerful because it causes the prospect to reconsider your offer and why they didn't reply. Often, when people find they don't have a compelling answer to this question, they refocus on the value of your proposal from a new perspective.

Advice For Writing Follow Up Emails

Follow-up emails are important because they give you an opportunity to continue the conversation with your customers and build a relationship. But, if not done correctly, they can quickly become bothersome and be classed as spam.

Here’s how to avoid the spam box:

Determine The Objective: Before composing your follow-up emails, think about what you want to achieve. Is the email intended to persuade the reader into making a purchase, or is it merely a reminder?

Diversify Your Approach: Don't stop at the inbox. Try a phone call or reach out on social media. A multichannel outreach strategy aims to educate and intrigue potential consumers.

Optimize It For Mobile: Fifty-five percent of emails are read via mobile devices. So it makes sense to ensure your emails are mobile-friendly. Keep your messaging short and sweet.

Success Starts In The Subject Line: A strong subject line is the foundation of any email, including a follow-up email. A strong subject line accomplishes several goals, the most noteworthy being piqued interest and established trust in your product/service.

Be Persistent: Your follow-up email aims to reach the top of your prospect's inbox and seek their attention, so they don't forget about you. Maintain a steady stream of communication around your initial contact.

Be Specific With Your CTA: Make your Call-To-Action clear with a specific time and date. For instance, instead of stopping at "Let's get in touch," you can try "Let's touch base on Wednesday afternoon."

Things To Avoid When Writing A Follow-Up Email

When attempting to convert leads with follow-up emails, there are also a few things you should avoid doing. Remember, the goal is to build a relationship with the prospect, not make a quick conversion.

Be Overly Aggressive: Nobody loves overly pushy sales tactics. Build trust by adding value to your proposal, be calm, positive, and professional. Make sure you give a prospect plenty of room to purchase without feeling pressured or guilty.

Write A Novel: You may risk confusing your prospects and diverting their attention to unimportant details if you send them lengthy, meandering follow-up emails. Keep follow-up emails around 50-125 words.

Repeat Yourself: It's said the definition of insanity is "repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result" That is also true for follow-up emails. If the first email didn't elicit a response, the same email on repeat likely won't either.

Omit the CTA: When you fail to include a CTA, you risk leaving your prospect unclear about what you want them to do next in the buying process. So make sure there's a CTA there, but more importantly, it's straightforward and time-specific.

How To Add Value To Follow-Up Emails

Adding value to your follow-up emails is important because it shows that you are serious about continuing the conversation and value your customers' time. By providing additional information, resources, or insights, you indicate that you want to continue the relationship and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Thoughtful follow-up emails demonstrate your value as a professional and help build an influential relationship with prospects or potential partners.

Here’s a few simple ways to add value to your follow-ups:

Relevant Content

Sharing relevant content helps keep your communications exciting and engaging. No one wants to receive a generic, boring email – especially if they're already familiar with your product or service. By sharing fresh, relevant content (or even just offering a new perspective on something), you can keep things interesting and give your readers something new to consider.

When you share relevant content in your follow-ups, it keeps your offer top-of-mind so that they'll think of you when they're ready to buy. Sharing valuable content can also help increase your email open rates and click-through rates, leading to more sales and better results for your business overall.

Testimonials

A testimonial aims to overcome skepticism and lend credibility to your claims, encouraging more people to take action.

For example, let's say you sell a productivity app. In your follow-up email to people who have downloaded the free trial, you could include a testimonial from one of your happy customers. This would show recipients that other people have found value in your app and help to convince them to purchase the full version. Testimonials can be incredibly useful in follow-up emails, as they provide social proof that your product or service is worth checking out.

testimonial example

Case Studies

Case studies are a powerful marketing tool that can help you add value to your follow-up emails By sharing a real-world example of how you or your company have helped solve a problem for someone else. With case studies, you quickly build trust and credibility with potential customers by illustrating the benefits of your product or service in a relatable way.

Success Stories

Like case studies, when you share success stories in your follow-up emails, you're providing valuable insight into what's possible for your recipients. By sharing stories of how others have used your product or service to achieve their goals, you're helping your recipients visualize what's possible for them. When prospects can visualize themselves achieving their goals, they're much more likely to take action.

How To Write A Followup Email: The Templates

There's nothing more frustrating when doing cold outreach than radio silence. You start to wonder if they even got it or if you're being ignored outright. Either way, it can be tough to know what to do next.

If you've ever been in this situation and needed to write a follow-up email, you know how awkward it can feel trying to find the right words. You want to sound professional and polite without coming across as pushy or annoying and still, somehow sway odds in your favor—no easy task.

The good news is we've created these templates to help you craft the perfect follow-up email, no matter the situation. Whether you're trying to schedule a meeting or simply requesting information, we've got you.

Template 1: Short And Sweet

Subject Line: Request From A Fan!

Hey Prospect X,
I just wanted to let you know I’m a big fan of your work at [company X]. I think I have a few ideas that could help you [value proposition]
Would it be okay for me to reach out next week and share those ideas with you? I promise it won’t take up too much of your time.
Thanks,

Sales emails should be brief, but follow-ups even more so. You do not have to eliminate all of the courtesies to keep it quick, though. This template demonstrates that you may still show respect for their busy schedule while remaining polite and friendly.

Template 2: Personalized Value

Subject Line: Your Insights On [Topic] Caught My Eye

Hi there Prospect X,
I saw your post on [social network] about [topic]. I especially liked your comment about [X] —it was very insightful.
I wanted to share a couple of resources about [topic] that I think you'll find interesting. Both of these resources discuss [topic] in-depth and offer valuable wisdom.
Link 1
Link 2
I'd love to hear what you think.
Let’s connect!

It’s obvious this template’s approach is: give a little, get a little. And why not? It's always a good strategy to share knowledge, social proof, statistics, or any other relevant material in your follow-up. After all, you're trying to develop a collaborative relationship.

Template 3: The Break-Up

Subject Line: Was It Something We Said?

Hey Prospect X,
I'm writing to follow up on my email and voicemail. Are you still interested in our services?
If you are, please let me know what I can do to assist you through the following steps.
If not, what could have persuaded you to choose [company name]?
Best,

We touched on this heavy hitter earlier, the much-beloved "(fake) break-up" These emails allow you to either cut off communication by confirming that a prospect will not be progressing or get a response that they are still interested but have been preoccupied.

Template 4: Another Time, No Hard Feelings

Subject Line: One Last Thing Before I Sign Off

Hey Prospect X,
I hope you're doing well. I just wanted to touch base with you about [value proposition] one last time.
I completely understand if the timing isn't right, and I won't contact you again if that's the case. However, if you ever need help or have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
I'd be more than happy to help.
Take care for now!

In another way to style “The Break Up,” the closing line of this template serves two purposes. It's written as if the connection is already over, yet it still offers value and an easy method to reconnect with the salesperson should the prospect's interest be renewed.

See what we did there?

Template 5: If Not Now, When?

Subject Line: I Have New Solutions For [Pain Point]. Let’s Connect!

Prospect X,
I understand that it can be challenging to [pain point]. That's why I think you'll find my ideas extremely helpful.
I'd be happy to share those ideas with you next week. Would that time work for you?
It would be an awesome opportunity to catch up and see how I could help take your business to the next level.
Sincerely,

This template is to the point; It works because it almost assumes contact will be made. This example walks the line of being pushy but reads like the extension of a helping hand instead of demanding.

Template 6: Fast Flattery

Subject Line: The only thing better than your social media posts…

Hi Prospect X,
I just wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed your posts on [Social Media] about topic [X]. I'm a big fan of your account and always excited to hear about what you're up to.
Recently, I read two really helpful posts on the topic and wanted to share them with you:
[Link 1] and [Link 2]
I wondered if you'd also be curious to hear about what we do at [company name].
I would be happy to chat if you're up for it.
Cheers.

The explanation for the follow-up in this example is relevant and unassuming while also including a simple compliment. After that, it's an easy win when you share additional info that would be of interest to the prospect.

Template 7: Ask For Honest Feedback

Subject Line: Let’s Not Beat Around The Bush…

Hey Prospect X,
I just wanted to touch base. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from you!
I completely understand that you're busy. Please let me know if or when I should contact you in the future.
What best describes your response to this email:
I'll get back to you next week.
Email me later, like, WAY later.
You're one email away from the spam box.
Though I hope to hear from you, I respect the choice is always yours.
Cheers!

This template is popular because it frequently receives responses. It works by making replying easy and impersonal. Bear in mind that it's a good idea to adjust the optional responses to suit your audience.

Template 8: The Value Quickie

Subject Line: You Didn't Ask, But I'm Going To Tell You Anyway

Prospect X,
You likely experienced [pain point]
This is what my clients have found helpful: [actionable piece/s of advice]
I have a few more ideas for improving [X]. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing them. They could really help your business.
Best,

An uncomplicated formula performs nicely because it doesn't take long to read, offers quick value, and appears conversational rather than salesy. This short format is especially practical if your target audience is likely to open emails on a mobile device.

Template 9: The Solution

Subject Line: Uh…You Might Want To Take A Look At This

Hey Prospect X,
I noticed that you might be interested in improving [pain point].
Here's our eBook about how to do just that. It has a lot of helpful advice. You might find [specific tip or section] especially useful.
If you'd like more information or have any questions about [topic], let's set up a call.
Can’t wait to chat more,

In this example, the first line makes a strong statement that addresses their needs. You provide them with something relevant to their interests.

Template 10: A Delicate Reminder

Subject Line: Got A Minute? I Promise This Won't Take Long.

Prospect X,
It's been a while since we spoke about [product/service] and its possible benefits for [company X].
I'm reaching out again because I think there might still be a good fit, especially now that you've had time to think about it.
If you're able to spare a few minutes, I'd love to walk you through our product's benefits in detail to help you understand the value of our collaboration.
I'll follow up with you shortly.

Following up after making contact is just polite, right? It shows that you're interested and willing to put in the extra effort. Plus, it's an excellent opportunity to provide additional information that can help move things forward.

Key Takeaways

If you're not following up with your leads, you're missing out on a lot of potential revenue. Automating your follow-ups is the best way to make sure that you don't miss any opportunities.

So, are you ready to increase your reply rate and simplify your lead workflow?
Instantly makes it easy for you to personalize your outreach, automate your follow-ups, and integrate with your entire tech stack so that you can get the most out of your email communication.

Get in touch!