What is a Follow-Up Email? Getting the Responses You Deserve

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Follow-up emails are sent after an initial interaction to remind customers to complete an action, request feedback, or continue a conversation.

In the email marketing world, the “Just checking in” or “Would love to hear back” messages you have been sending are known as follow-up emails.

Getting your follow-up emails noticed is challenging and requires a strategic approach. Let’s master the art of following-up by understanding what these emails are, how to write them, and when to send them for maximum exposure.

What is a Follow-Up Email?

A follow-up email is a message sent after an initial communication, such as a job interview, meeting, conversation, or a sales pitch. 

For example, if you recently met with a company executive, you could wish to thank them for their time. Typically, you will send a follow-up email expressing gratitude while highlighting potential collaboration opportunities. 

Follow up emails are commonly used in business settings, but they can be used in any situation where you need to nudge someone for an email response.

Critical Aspects of Follow-Up Emails

Follow-up emails are usually brief and professional. Their purpose, email timing, and content can vary depending on your need for initiating a chain message.

Below, you will find critical aspects to keep in mind:

  • Clarity: Ensure the purpose of your follow-up email is clear and briefly mentions the important points upfront.
  • Timing: Send the follow-up message promptly while the initial conversation remains fresh in the recipient’s mind.
  • Personalization: Personalize the email with the recipient’s name and specific details. 
  • Relevance: Keep the content relevant to the previous interaction. Avoid introducing a new topic that could confuse the recipients.
  • Value: Add value to your follow-up email by providing additional information or updates.
  • CTA: Clearly mention what you want the recipients to do next: respond, confirm details, or continue the discussion.

Keep the tone of your follow-up emails professional and courteous. You may also want to mention the key points in the introduction so the recipients quickly recognize the message.

Follow-up emails are critical to increasing email responses and maintaining professional relationships. Let’s analyze the advantages of using them.

Why Do Follow-Up Emails Matter?

Following up with someone you recently met or worked with establishes professionalism and the willingness to maintain contact. 

Follow-up emails are essential for a variety of reasons, such as:

  1. They increase response rates: A well-crafted follow-up email acts as a reminder, gently pushing the recipients to take action.
  2. They show genuine interest: Sending a follow-up message shows that you are genuinely interested and not just sending out mass emails for higher conversions.
  3. They help build relationships: Following up shows that you care about the discussion and are open for further comments.
  4. They help address potential concerns: A follow-up email allows you to address any concerns related to previous interactions and provide additional information.

More importantly, following up opens doors for other opportunities and keeps you top of mind with the recipients. 

Based on your circumstances and need, you can choose to send a variety of follow-up emails, like the ones below.

Types of Follow-Up Emails

Each type of follow-up email serves a different purpose and context. For example, if you lately met someone at a networking event, you would start and end the follow-up message differently compared to a follow-up sales email.

Common follow-up email types include the following.

Scenario Purpose Example Subject Line
Information gathering Request additional information to move forwardFollowing up: [Job title] Application [Need for specific information]
Meeting request Scheduling a meeting to discuss a topic in detail Following up: Meeting request for [topic]
Thank you Express gratitude for spending time or providing assistanceThank you for the interview
Check-inReconnecting with someone to kindle their interestsChecking in – how are things at your end?
Sales follow-up Encourage the recipient to move forward in the marketing funnelFollowing up on your sales inquiry [product/service]
Trigger-based follow-up Respond to a specific trigger or action by the recipient Thanks for downloading the e-book 
Reconnection email Sent to reconnect with someone after a period of silenceWould like to know your thoughts on the [initial interaction]
Types of follow-up emails

Choosing the right kind and timing to send a follow-up email depends on the nature of the previous interaction and the need to continue the conversation.

Let’s explore the best times to send a follow-up message without overwhelming your readers.

When to Send a Follow-Up Email?

The right time to send follow-up emails depends on the situation’s context and urgency.

This table shows the common practice for following up.

Follow-Up Timing 
Initial contact 2-3 business days 
After a meeting Within 24 hours
No response3-5 business days after initial email
The best time to send follow-up emails

Picking the Perfect Time For Following-Up  — When and How?

  1. After a job interview: Send a thank you email within 24 hours of the interview to express appreciation and gratitude.
  2. After sending a proposal or pitch: Follow up within a week to see if the recipient has further questions or needs clarity.
  3. After requesting information: The follow-up timeframe can depend on the urgency, but it’s best to send an email within two weeks.
  4. After networking: Follow up with new contacts made during the networking event, usually within a week.
  5. After sending important documentation: Follow up to ensure the recipients received the documents, immediately after the email or within a day.
  6. After a referral or introduction: Promptly follow-up after being referred by someone. Thank them, acknowledge the referral, and introduce yourself. 

Following Up During the Holidays and Weekends – Things to Consider

Sometimes, responses to follow-up emails can get delayed due to external situations such as holidays or weekends.

Remember the following tips to better work around timings: 

  1. Set calendar reminders and schedule a follow-up message if you haven’t heard back within the timeframe.
  2. Avoid sending emails on the weekends or holidays, as recipients are less likely to be checking their emails.
  3. Limit follow-ups to 2-3. Anything more than that might frustrate the readers.

A well-written follow-up email sent at the right time can maximize the chances of responses. Let’s learn the nitty-gritty details that make a good follow-up email.

How to Write Follow-Up Emails That Get Responses

Writing a follow-up email that gets a response can take more than one try. From the subject line to the closing, you must be clear and concise.

The tips below will help you create follow-up emails that are more likely to receive responses.

Define Your Objective

While personal follow-ups have different purposes, business follow-up emails have a single goal – to ultimately turn the prospect into a paying customer.

Whether its a follow-up sales email or a business proposal, identify the reason for sending one. Think about how it will elevate your current position — will it create more personal relations or increase sales?

Your objective could be any of the following:

  • To receive a response from the recipient for a previous inquiry.
  • To schedule a meeting or follow-up for a discussion.
  • To confirm details or agreements agreed upon in the previous discussions.
  • To prompt the recipient to take an action such as purchasing or providing input.

Write a Clear Subject Line

While content is important, the subject line of your follow-up emails establishes the likelihood of higher open ratesA concise subject line grabs attention and communicates urgency, improving the overall communication.

The subject line is also important for the following reasons:

  • Sets expectations: Transparency in the subject line lets the recipients decide when to open the email based on urgency.
  •  Helps easier organization: A clear subject line helps recipients organize and search through the emails later.
  • Enhances professionalism: By mentioning the key aspect of the email content, you can build trust and improve brand image.
  • Showcases relevancy: The subject lines help recipients decide if the email is relevant to them, reducing misunderstandings.

Introduce the Key Point 

Starting with a clear statement summarizes the main reason for the follow-up email. Instead of burying the key aspects in unnecessary details, mention them in the opening.

Provide context and open with an attention-grabbing hook. If your key points involve multiple action items, consider using bullets and numbered lists for better visibility.

Provide Value 

Your prospects likely receive hundreds of follow-up emails every day. To stand out in a sea of similar-looking emails, add value with each follow-up message.

You can use the following methods to highlight the value of emails:

  • Share relevant information: Offer valuable resources, tips, and industry news that showcase your expertise.
  • Address pain points: Identify and address any pain point your recipients might have, outside of the initial interaction.
  • Share success stories: Show how others have benefitted from using your products or services. 
  • Offer free consultation: Give the recipient a chance to experience your product or service through free demos and consultations.
  • Express genuine interest and support: Make the conversation two-way — show genuine interest in the recipient’s success and offer help when needed.

Use a Clear CTA

Based on the specific scenario, you would want to tailor your CTAs for more engagement. The CTA is your opportunity to guide readers to take the desired action. 

Use the following the best practices for incorporating a strong CTA:

  • Be specific: Instead of using fancy words, explicitly state the action you want your readers to take. It could be as simple as ” Sign to our email newsletter here” or “Schedule a consultation call now.”
  • Use action-oriented language: Utilize phrases such as “Let me know if you need help” or “Please reply to this email with your availability.”
  • Highlight the benefit: Briefly explain why it’s crucial for the recipient to take action, whether it’s replying to the email or learning more about your offers.
  • Provide multiple options: Include a variety of ways for readers to contact you — it could be “reply to this email,” “Schedule a call,” or “Click the link to buy.”

If you are following up on a complex discussion, you could emphasize the steps you want them to take through bullets and numbered lists. This will save time and help them quickly grasp the concept without back-and-forth questions and answers.

Common Follow-Up Email Mistakes

Follow-up emails are pretty straightforward, but they can easily go wrong if not crafted well.

Here are the usual mistakes and what you can do instead.

MistakeBetter Approach 
Sending generic emails Personalize with the recipient’s name and details
Being pushy or demanding Use professional language and be courteous 
Focusing only on yourself/your brandHighlight the value you offer the recipient
No proofreading Double-check for errors and run through it through the team if need be
Common follow-up email mistakes 

Now, it’s time for us to explore the different templates you can use based on the insights in the above section.

Templates For Different Business Follow-Up Emails

Every follow-up email is different — the introduction is diverse and the CTAs vary according to the specific situation. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a follow-up message, you can benefit from knowing the common ways to address a specific condition.

1. Follow- Up Email After Sending a Business Proposal 

Subject Line: Following up on [Business proposal/project name]

Dear [Recipient name],

I hope this email finds you well.

I’m writing to follow-up on the [proposal/project] that we discussed on Thu, 20 Jun 2024 19:55:23 -0700.

We’re confident that our team’s expertise will be a valuable asset to your project. 

If you require any additional information, please don’t hesitate to let me know. We’d be happy to schedule a call to discuss this further.

Best regards,

[Your name and company]

2. Follow-Up Email After a Sales Inquiry 

Subject Line: Checking in on your service/inquiry about [Product/service name]

Hi [Recipient name],

I’m following up on your recent inquiry about [Product/service]. I noticed you were interested in [mention specific feature about the product/service]. 

Since our last conversation, the [product/service] has had updates and I believe they will be beneficial to your company.

Would you be interested in a quick demo to see how the [product/service] can help your needs? I’m available on [dates/time]. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

[Your position/company name]

3. Following Up on a Networking Connection

Subject Line: Following up on our conversation at [event name/date].

Hi [Recipient name],

It was a pleasure connecting with you at [event name] last week. I particularly enjoyed discussing about [topic].

As promised, I’m following up with a [resource name/link]. I believe this would be helpful for your work. I’d also love to know more about your role at [company name]. Perhaps, we could connect over coffee next week?

Thank you again for your time.

Best Regards,

[Your name]

These templates are generally used in formal settings, however, they can be customized to sound friendlier depending on the situation and recipients. Always remember to personalize your email and provide value.

At times, despite your best efforts, you may notice dead silence on the other end. There could be many reasons for this, including deliverability issues, lack of time, or disinterest for the recipients.

It helps to stay patient during these times. Let’s examine the possibility of no replies and how you can handle them.

Dealing With No Response on Follow-Up Emails

While persistence helps you get the desired action, you must know when to stop bothering your contacts. Not getting replies can be a frustrating experience, but try to remain professional.

You can try adapting the following strategies and see what works for you:

  1. Give time: Wait patiently and give time for the recipients to get back to you.
  2. Send a polite reminder: If you haven’t heard back, send a reminder after 1-2 weeks.
  3. Switch up your approach: If your initial follow-up email wasn’t successful, try changing your approach and add more clarity in your next email.
  4. Ask for feedback: Consider asking for feedback about your follow-up email. Politely inquire if you can do anything to ensure a reply from the recipient.
  5. Provide additional value: Offer additional resources, tips, or news to open up new discussions.

If you have done everything and haven’t received a response, it’s time to move on. While no one can guarantee a response to every follow-up message, using a trusted email service provider increases your chances of receiving a response.

Craft Follow-Up Emails That Get Results 

Follow-up emails are crucial to maintaining ongoing communication and relationships with people, especially in a business setting. If you are tired of unanswered emails, it could be because your emails haven’t reached your recipients or that they are occupied.

While you cannot do much about the latter, you can adapt good email-sending practices for higher email deliverability. At Campaign Refinery, we understand the importance of crafting powerful email follow-ups that resonate with your audience.

How Can Campaign Refinery Help?

We equip you with the tools and strategies to ensure your emails get noticed and acted upon, including powerful automation, analytics, and segmentation. On top of that, clients enjoy the highest email deliverability rate on the market — as high as a 600% increase after joining us.

Campaign Refinery empowers you to write emails that convert through:

  • Pre-built templates: Get a jumpstart with customized templates for different email campaigns.
  • Personalized approach: Utilize dynamic content blocks to hyper-personalize your follow-up emails.
  • Track and analyze: See what works with your audience through a sleek single-view dashboard.

Crafting follow-up emails has never been easier — use premium tools and features to get the desired responses and results.
Apply to become a Campaign Refinery client and take your follow-up email strategy to the next level!

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