How To Send A Helpful, Non-Confrontational Reminder Email

Reminder emails can be awkward to write, but you need answers. This guide will help you know when to send a reminder email and has templates to get you started.

reminder emails

Reminder emails are a necessity in the fast-paced world of work that many of us find ourselves in nowadays. People regularly forget to respond or sometimes need a helping hand. Writing those reminder emails can feel awkward, and you might not know where to start. That’s completely normal, and why we’ve compiled this article. You’ll learn:

  • What the purpose of a reminder is
  • When to send a reminder email
  • How to write a reminder email
  • How to request a follow-up
  • Reminder email templates
  • How send an email reminder to your boss

What Is A Reminder Email?

Imagine you need someone to do something for you, you need them to act, reply, or complete something, and they haven’t. That’s where the reminder email comes into play. It’s a short, courteous request for them to do something.

It could be that a colleague said they’d send over a PDF but hasn’t. Maybe your boss hasn’t approved that leave request. Or a client hasn’t gotten back to you with their latest brief. You could send a small reminder to nudge them along the way.

You’ll send a reminder email with the aim of receiving a faster response than simply waiting them out. They might have completely forgotten after all. Plus it reopens communication where it might have gone quiet without intervention.

When Should You Send A Reminder Email?

There are lots of instances when you might send a reminder email. The scope of the email changes depending on your request, position, and requirements. Some people, such as eCommerce companies, might send literally thousands of reminder emails a day (think abandoned cart emails), while others might send one a week if they’re chasing a missed deadline.

Typical instances include:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Missed payments
  • Late deliveries
  • Late replies to emails and invitations
  • Missing requested information

Internally, most businesses see reminder emails sent because someone hasn’t completed an action they said they will. For instance, Jeremy said that he’d send Mark the latest presentation by 5 pm on Thursday. 5 pm on Thursday comes and goes, and no email has been received. Mark might feel annoyed by this, but the easiest solution is to assume that Jeremy hasn’t had the time to respond or has innocently forgotten. If Mark sends a quick reminder that he’s waiting on something it should nudge Jeremy enough to reply.

Many people wonder specifically how long they should wait before sending a reminder email. That really depends on the situation. Specific deadlines are usually more urgent. Therefore, it’d be perfectly acceptable to send a reminder a day after the deadline is passed. If, however, it’s slightly more unclear when the deadline was, or if it’s not absolutely pressing, then you might consider waiting a week or two before chasing.

reminder emails

Writing Perfect Reminder Emails

The perfect reminder email will vary depending on the recipient, but there are certainly some standards that you should follow.

Open On A Friendly Note

The last thing you want to do is start off the wrong way. That means you’ll want to open on a friendly note rather than an aggressive one. Remember that chances are the person needs a genuine reminder and will thank you for asking them. There’s no need to start in a way that will make them feel uneasy. You might thank them for their work so far or check in on their well-being.

Don’t Blame Anyone

As mentioned above, this shouldn't be a chance for you to attribute blame to anyone. Enter the conversation with an open mind and assume that there has been something that has stopped the recipient from replying or they have had a genuine lapse of the mind. Aim to start sentences with I or We rather than You. This is a less direct way of asking questions.

Have A Clear Action

If the person has missed a deadline because they’re under a great deal of stress or are short of time, you want to avoid adding to their workload. That means making it clear precisely what you’d like them to do. Create a single-sentence call to action that makes your request clear. Something along the lines of, “Let me know when I can expect XYZ,” or “It’d be great to hear from you by the end of the day.”

Request A Follow-Up

Without a request for a follow-up, people may simply move on about their day. If you request a response, even subtly, they will feel more compelled to respond. It could be as simple as asking if they require anything further from you or that if there are any issues meeting your request they should let you know.

Grab Attention With The Subject Line

The subject line of your email is your opportunity to grab their attention. Take the chance to address them with personalization, and keep it concise. You might include some urgency terms such as “Action Required” so they know to open your email promptly. A more subtle approach would be to include the word reminder somewhere in your subject line.

Reminder Email Templates

These templates are a good starting point for when you need to send a reminder email.

To Your Boss

Dear {{Employer Name}}
I wanted to quickly ask about my vacation request in November. We discussed my request on {{Date}}, and we were going to finalize it by {{Date}}.
It would be much appreciated if we could complete the request as soon as we can so I can begin arranging flights. Please let me know if this is approved as soon as possible.
All The Best,
{{ Your Name }}

When You’ve Had No Reply

Hi {{Recipient}},
I really appreciated the opportunity to discuss {{topic}} with you on {{Date}}. It’s certainly exciting that we might be working together soon.
I wanted to check if you received our proposal sent on {{Date sent}}. I know you were looking forward to receiving it.
If you need me to send it again, please don’t hesitate to ask, or if I can help further.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Kind Regards,
{{Your Name}}

Deadline Missed

Hi {{Recipient}},
It was great to discuss the proposal for {{Client Name}} with you on {{Date}}. We talked about how it’d be great to get it to them by {{Date}}.
As that date has passed, it’d be great to know when we can expect to get the proposal to the client.
Let me know if I can help you wrap it up.
All the best,
{{Your Name}}

Key Takeaways

Reminder emails might feel awkward initially but remember that everyone is only human. Chances are they’ve made a genuine mistake and will actually thank you for sending them a reminder.

  • Always act politely in reminder emails.
  • Never attribute blame.
  • If you’re using an email tool you can always automate follow-up reminder emails if you don’t receive a response.

Considering automating your reminder emails? Especially if you’re running major campaigns. Instantly is a great option for you. Try the powerful automation tools for free today.