July 29, 2021
7 Tips For Writing Follow-up Emails That Get A Reply
Guest Contributor

No one likes to write follow-up emails, and it’s very easy to keep putting off the task. 

You might assume that if someone has not responded to your email, it means they’re not interested. But, the truth is, there are a number of reasons why people don’t respond, and they usually just need a gentle nudge. 

Whether it’s because their inboxes are too full, they’re too busy and simply forgot, or if they need more information before making a decision, a well-crafted follow-up email may be all you need to get them to engage with you. 

Read on to learn why follow-up emails are so important, and discover the 7 tips for writing automated follow-up emails after no response.

1. Be clear and direct

There is no denying that consistent follow-ups deliver results. But, you have to be clear and direct in your emails to increase your chances of provoking a response.

Keep in mind that people’s inboxes are crowded places. According to recent reports, B2B emails have an open rate of just 21.3%, which means that you may have to be persistent if you want recipients to respond to your messages. 

Here are some tips to help you craft clear and direct emails:

  • Get to the point and let people know what you hope to achieve within the first few sentences.
  • Make it crystal clear how and why the message is relevant to the recipient.
  • Make the reason for the email evident at a glance.
  • Make sure the receiver clearly understands what they should do next.
  • To help you save time, consider creating an email template that you can use on a daily basis. This will allow you to have an outline everytime you sit down to type in a follow-up email.

Pro tip: If you have more than one request to make, it’s best to only choose the most important one for your follow-ups to avoid bombarding your recipient with information.

2. Add a call to action (CTA)

Your next step in writing effective follow-up emails is to add a persuasive call to action. This can either be in the form of a value-packed call to action that makes you stand out, or in the way of something like the call widget. Adding a call us now button can attract your recipients and motivate them to contact you instantly, without having to go through the hassle of finding a phone number.

Keep in mind that not all calls to action are equal. You can have many reasons for sending follow-up emails, including:

  • following up after sending resources
  • after a missed call
  • once a demo or free trial ends
  • gauging interest after sending a quote or product samples
  • following up on a sent contract
  • sending an introduction after connecting on social media
  • responding to a sales inquiry
  • taking the next step in a link building/content promotion campaign

Whatever the reason, use a strong CTA to make it very clear what your recipient should do. Don’t leave it up to them to read between the lines and interpret your message. 

And make sure you avoid vague language, such as “What do you think?“, or “Do you have an update on this?“.

Instead, engineer the last line of your email in a more effective way, as in the example below:

follow-up email example

Doing this not only piques your recipient’s curiosity, but also adds a compelling CTA that further motivates them to respond to your email.

3. Craft a compelling subject line

Before you email recipients can even read your thoughtfully crafted email, you first need to encourage them to open it by using a compelling subject line. 

When your follow-up email lands in their inbox, the subject line will be the first thing email recipients notice. That’s why it has to be a really good one to increase your chances of getting a response. 

The most effective way to craft a subject line is to personalize it. 

According to various studies, people are 26% more likely to open emails with personalized subject lines.

personalized subject lines statistics
Image source

Personalized content is now non-negotiable and content personalization can come in many different forms. 

But, with regard to email subject lines, here are a few basic ideas you can build upon: 

  • {FirstName}, I forgot to mention…
  • To be honest, {CompanyName} has blown me away
  • Let’s give it another try, {FirstName}
  • Can I change your mind, {FirstName}?

You can also mention the last conversation you had as a way to add context. 

Just make sure your subject line does not feel spammy. Also, you must always try to demonstrate value whenever you can. 

This may take some effort, but it will be well worth the investment as subject lines can have a huge impact on your open and reply rates, and ultimately your overall result, especially if you’re trying to pitch a guest post.

Pro tip: If your follow-up email ties in with the one you sent initially, you can simply respond to the most recent message, so you don’t need to spend time coming up with a catchy subject line.

4. Time your follow-up emails

One of the biggest questions email marketers have is how long they should wait for a response after sending the initial email. 

The answer is simple: Don’t wait too long. When it comes to getting an answer from a follow-up email, timing can be very important.

You need to give your recipient some time, so they can get to your email

Oftentimes, when people don’t respond to your emails, it’s because you caught them in the middle of something. As a result, they often forget to respond, and as time passes, your email is buried at the bottom of the inbox. 

All it takes is a polite follow-up message after a few days that will elicit a response without being annoying. Also, the issue may arise from the incorrect email addresses, so make sure to verify the emails. There are many email finder tools that can help you with that.

However, don’t wait so long that they end up forgetting all about it

If you follow up too soon, it may make you look pushy or intrusive, and no one likes that. But, if you wait too long to send a follow-up email, your contact may lose the context of the conversation.

Ideally, you want to give your contacts 2 to 3 days to respond to your email. 

5. Get the number and frequency right

Sending one follow-up email is all well and good, but what do you do if you still don’t get a response? 

Studies show that it often takes multiple touches for customers to respond to emails, which is why you need to be persistent if you’re going to increase your email reply rate.

This case study from SalesFolk shows that: 

  • 92% of email replies came from the follow-ups
  • 55% of the responses were generated between the 4th and 8th email follow-ups
number of follow up email statistic

But the question remains: How many follow-up emails should you send?

There is no one rule that states the minimum number of follow-ups you should send. It’s more a matter of common sense. 

Just keep in mind that there is a very fine line between persistence and being annoying. Also, as shown by the case study above, the 1st, 6th, and 7th follow-up emails only bring a small increase in the reply rate, which means that it may not be worthwhile to send more than 3 or 4 follow-up emails. 

Besides, sending too many emails may get you tagged as a spammer when irritated recipients complain – and that is the last thing you want. 

So rather than focusing on quantity, a better idea would be to work on improving the quality of each of your emails, so you can get better results with less work.

Here’s an example of the email follow-up schedule used by Reply.io: 

email follow-up schedule example
Image Source

6. Offer something of value

We’ve talked about providing a clear ask, but when you have a compelling call to action and, at the same time, provide value, you will be a lot more likely to get an answer to your email.

The good news is, adding value doesn’t always mean plugging your product or service. It can also be your company’s lead magnet, a free informational webinar you host, or anything else that your prospects will find valuable and useful.

For instance, if you published a new blog post on a topic that’s relevant to the recipient, or if you have released a new product or feature that they would find useful, why not include it in your next follow-up?

You can add value and phrase your email in a way that reminds your prospect that a reply is overdue without being pushy, as in the example below:

Here are a few other ways you can add ongoing value to your emails:

  • share relevant industry news
  • send a podcast episode in your prospect’s niche
  • give free advice, feedback, or analysis
  • make them laugh with an interesting story, joke, or GIF
  • share your company’s free e-book or white paper
  • share a webinar recording around your prospect’s pain point

7. Automate your follow-up emails

There are basically two ways to send email follow-ups: manually, or by scheduling an automated follow-up sequence. 

The way you choose to handle your email follow-ups will depend on the magnitude of your email outreach. 

If you’re managing fewer than two dozen contacts at a time, it’s possible to send your follow-ups manually. However, if you are managing more than that, the process can get a bit tricky. In fact, it can turn into total chaos without the right tools to assist you. 

This is where email automation comes in.

With modern email marketing platforms, you will not only be able to send huge volumes of emails, but you’ll also have the tools to automate personalization at scale

Examples of email platforms you can use include Woodpecker, Mailshake, and Hunter Campaigns. 

You can simply prepare your follow-up sequence and then let the tool handle everything else for you, including:

  • sending the emails
  • keeping track of the last time you followed up
  • seeing who has already responded
  • finding out who you need to follow up again
  • getting insights about how your follow-up emails performed
  • A/B testing your emails to improve results

… and much more.

In short, using a tool like the ones mentioned above is like hiring an assistant to work around the clock for you!

Pro tip: If you are doing a lot of outreach to bloggers and influencers, there are great blogger outreach platforms you can use to automate your outreach, as well as find relevant prospects and contact info.

Additional tips for effective follow-up emails

The 7 tips outlined above will help you create follow-up emails that get a response. 

Below are a few additional tips that will help you craft outstanding emails:

  • Write with brevity: If someone has already failed to reply to your original email, don’t make them read yet another huge message. Besides, the whole point of a follow-up email isn’t to convince your prospect all over again, but rather to remind them of the initial message they didn’t reply to.
  • Hook them in the first sentence: Write a catchy opening line that will immediately hook your prospect. It should give context and make them interested to learn more about your offer. Avoid generic opening lines like “Just checking in“, “Touching base“, or “Just wanted to check in and find out“.
  • Use upbeat language: Your first email serves to break the wall of formality, which means that your subsequent emails can be written in a friendly, more personal tone. From the opening line to the call to action, focus on using upbeat language to make your emails seem more appealing.
  • Avoid the “bumping to the top of your inbox” approach: A high email response rate comes from building respectful, lasting relationships with your contacts. The approach of bumping emails to the top of your recipient’s inbox is ineffective because it doesn’t do anything to provide value or make your prospect feel good.
  • Don’t guilt-trip your prospects: It’s hard not to feel negative about prospects not answering your emails. But, you have to stay positive and resilient no matter what. Be wary of annoyance, frustration, and other negative feelings that may creep into your email as this won’t get you any closer to your goal.
  • Be available once you hit send: According to research, up to 50% of sales go to vendors who respond first. So, after your follow-up is sent, make sure you avail yourself for an hour or so in case your lead is ready to take action immediately after they open your email. 

That’s a wrap

These tips will help you get more responses from your contacts. Many of your competitors don’t use this information to their advantage, which means that if you are persistent, you will get the lion’s share of the business.

Your turn. Which of these tips for writing automated follow-up emails resonates with you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Ron Stefanski is an online entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business.  You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com. You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.

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Guest Contributor
This post was written by a guest contributor and polished by Point Visible editorial team.


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