Get answers to frequently asked questions about how to write a follow-up email.
Learn how to write compelling, successful follow-up emails using these easy step-by-step instructions and several email samples you can tap into for inspiration. Follow-up emails are an important communication tool that can be used for various purposes, from traditional email marketing to personal follow-up messages after business meetings or interviews.
Writing a follow-up email can be intimidating, though, with so many different response options that can significantly impact the relationship you’re building with the email recipient.
Below, learn how to write a great follow-up email for multiple niches and discover the benefits of well-timed, high-quality follow-up messages. Read examples of email follow-ups that you can use to inspire and guide your writing.
What You Need For a Good Follow-Up Email
A compelling follow-up message doesn’t require a lot of supplies or expensive subscriptions. Many free email newsletter programs and applications like MailChimp, Constant Contact, HubSpot, Aweber, and more exist. Beyond a quality email marketing tool and the addresses of your email recipients, you don’t need anything else other than creativity and good writing skills to create a successful follow-up email.
Steps to Writing an Effective Follow-Up Email
Step 1: Determine the Type of Email Follow-Up You Are Writing
The tone, writing style, and even the language you use in your follow-up emails should match your target audience and the purpose for which you’re sending the email. For example, you don’t want to send a casual email follow-up to the hiring manager of a Fortune 500 company you just interviewed with. Similarly, using too professional a tone in an email marketing series for children’s products could immediately disengage the email recipient.
Determine the type of email you will send and what kind of tone and style is the most appropriate. Then, go back over your message a few times after writing it to ensure that you communicate the way you intend to and that your word choice, sentence structure, and other stylistic elements will resonate with your target.
Types of Follow-Up Messages
- Following up after a phone call. A follow-up email can be sent after a phone call for several reasons, such as thanking the recipient for the call, asking follow-up questions, or booking the next meeting.
- Following up on a previous email request. For example, if you have sent a request via email to a co-worker or a vendor with whom you are working and have received no response, a follow-up email is likely in order. You should remind the email recipient of the previous request and clarify that you are looking for a response.
- Cold email follow-ups. If you’ve sent cold emails as part of a marketing campaign, each subsequent message in the email marketing series is considered a cold email follow-up. These should be written and sent to recipients strategically; less is more concerning cold email marketing.
- Sales follow-ups. Sales email follow-ups are sent after a customer purchases a product or service, usually to ensure they are happy with their purchase and for salespeople to provide troubleshooting support if needed.
- Following up with a hiring manager after a job interview. After an interview, you can increase your chances of receiving a job offer by reaching out to the interviewer or the hiring manager with a follow-up thanking them for their time and requesting an update on the status of their decision.
- Following up after a trigger event. You can generate an automated follow-up email to be sent to clients who responded to a trigger event, like an online raffle or subscriber marathon. You can use email marketing software to create a generic “thank you for participating” message that can go out automatically to participants once the event ends.
- Thank you emails. If a customer makes a purchase, signs up for something, or engages with your business, you can send a simple yet personalized thank you message with no call-to-action. This gentle outreach helps build meaningful relationships with customers and cultivates customer loyalty.
- Webinar follow-ups. If you’ve hosted a webinar, it’s standard practice to send a follow-up message afterward to thank attendees for participating and provide them with additional resources to keep them interacting with your brand.
- Automated email follow-ups. If you automate your emails, you will also want to create several follow-ups that can be sent out automatically at selected intervals after recipients receive the original email.
Step 2: Define Your Target Audience
Now that you’ve got an idea of why you’re sending the follow-up message and what it should contain, you need to know who you’re writing to. What kind of people will be most likely to read your message? Who is your company’s target audience, and what are their motivations? What are their pain points and the challenges they face every day?
Understanding who you’re addressing when you create a follow-up email is critical to ensuring you’re reaching the right people and resonating with their needs or wants. For example, if your company manufactures makeup for teens, using overly complex language or writing in too professional a tone can shut down young users. The same occurs if you’re writing too casually to an audience of doctors or lawyers — they’re far less likely to continue engaging with your content.
Step 3: Write the Email Subject Line
A good email subject line is critical for decent email open rates. Successful follow-up email templates feature a clear, clickable subject line that immediately addresses probable pain points and promises additional information in the body of the email. Here are some sample email subject lines that are informative, enticing, and professional:
- Following up on our 12/31 interview
- Did You See This Massive Update?!
- LIMITED TIME ONLY — Discount VIP Tickets Just For You
- Phone call follow-up from 7/21 conversation
- Checking on your purchase of [Product] by [Company Name]
- Thank you for signing up for our newsletter!
- Highlights From the January 2022 Committee Conference
- Next Steps to Take Advantage of Your Exclusive Discount Offer
- Thank you for the interview — what’s next?
- Are you ready to collaborate?
- Hello again from [Company Name]!
- I haven’t been able to reach you — let’s connect.
- Do you have any updates on a potential job offer?
Step 4: Reference the Initial Email
Start by acknowledging the first email you sent to the recipient or the last email you sent recently if your follow-up email will not be the second in the series. A recap may also be helpful, but you should keep it concise. A cold email follow-up without any information about the initial email is likely to have a higher bounce rate. It is less likely to be successful than follow-ups that remind recipients why they’re receiving this email.
For example, if a recipient puts their email address on a list or signed up for something, you’ll want to mention this relatively early in the text. If recipients aren’t regularly informed that they’ve opted in, they may think the emails they receive are spam.
Step 5: Write the Email Body
Next, you will need to write the body of the email. This generally isn’t but a line or two worth of content. It should be written with the intent to maximize the value that can be created in this space, such as trust building, offering social proof, or giving email recipients helpful tips and tricks they can start using in their own lives right away. If your follow-up email is for some type of sales offer, this part of the email should clearly describe the offer, how recipients can benefit from it, and what needs to happen next to take advantage of it.
Step 6: Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)
A well-written call-to-action can increase reply rates to your follow-up emails by giving email recipients clear instructions on what step to take next. It utilizes strong action words to let users know in no uncertain terms what the ideal next move is. It helps guide shoppers, clients, and other users through the different steps of the buyer’s journey, which allows them to arrive naturally at a decision to purchase. Here are some examples of calls to action that may be used in different types of follow-up emails:
- Shop our collection of discount winterwear now before the sale is over!
- Register today for your free copy of [eBook name] . . .
- Subscribe to our newsletter for VIP coupons and helpful tips every month!
- Click here to check out our line of newly redesigned retractable dog leashes.
- I look forward to hearing back from you about the job offer — I can be reached at . . .
- Let me know what you think about the collaboration proposal!
- I’ll follow up again if I don’t hear back from you . . .
- Find your perfect concealer shade with this easy 5-question quiz!
- Save up to 50% on our entire stock of holiday socks — this weekend only!
Step 7: Sign Off With Your Contact Information
A successful follow-up email will end with easy-to-find contact information like your company name, phone number, address, and links to your social media profiles. Response rates tend to dip when email recipients can’t quickly find how to contact the sender. Most of the time, they will spend just a few seconds looking before clicking off the email or deleting it. By making your contact information readily available, you automatically increase reply rates from interested users.
Follow-Up Email Examples
Here are some email samples you can use to get an idea of how to write an engaging and polite follow-up. You can use these follow-up templates to help you form the layout and structure of your outreach emails.
Subject Line: Subscribers Only — Get Discount VIP Summer Splash Tickets Now!
Dear [Email Recipient’s Name]
Last week, we enjoyed meeting you at the festival. Thanks for filling out our contact form! We know how tough it can be to find safe and exciting activities for youths during the summer, and we’ve got lots more in store.
Next week, we’re offering an exclusive discount on tickets to our annual Summer Splash for subscribers only. So claim your VIP tickets now before they run out by clicking the link below!
The City Summer Activities Committee
555-893-7104 ext. 171
LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/citycommittee Twitter: https://twitter.com/citycommittee Facebook: https://facebook.com/citycommittee
Subject Line: Have you registered for basketball tryouts? Time is running out!
Hi [Email Recipient’s Name],
Did you get a chance to register for basketball tryouts in the fall? Emails were sent out last week to parents, and the deadline for signing up is quickly approaching. But, don’t worry if you haven’t; there’s still time! Call Linda at 555-382-1888 to request an application for each child that wants to participate. Or, you can reply to this email, and we will send you the link to our digital sign-up form.
Please reach out with any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing your kids on the team!
Board of Education
105 S. Wall St, Suite 3
Dalewood, PA 78441
Subject Line: Thank you for your time during my interview on [Date] — can we chat?
Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],
First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for spending time with me yesterday during my interview for [Company Name]. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to learn more about the business and discovering how I might be able to best apply my skills to meet your needs. I am confident that I will be an excellent fit for your company and look forward to hearing back from you regarding my potential employment with your organization.
I can be contacted at 555-621-8002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject Line: U coming to the BBQ?
I emailed last week to see if you wanted to come to the family BBQ later this month. I’m sure you’re busy, but would you mind letting me know if you’ll be there so I can plan accordingly? Thanks!
Subject Line: Do you have availability this week?
I’ve been trying to get in contact with you about the project we are working on together but haven’t been able to touch base. I know you’re busy — do you have any availability this week for a short call? If not, is there another time that would be better for you? I’ll keep things concise, and we should only need about 20 minutes to go through everything.
Looking forward to hearing back!
Assistant to the Regional Manager
Mike’s Paper Warehouse
Subject Line: Exclusive Printable Coupons — Up to $50 Off Your Purchase!
We’re happy you’re here, and as a thank you, we want to give you a special gift you can use in any of our stores or online at [Company URL].
Claim your exclusive subscriber-only discount coupons for up to $50 of your next purchase at [Company Name]!
Just download the coupon PDF from the link below, print the coupons out, clip them, and present them to the cashier to receive your discount.
Printer not working? Download a scannable digital copy of the coupons here.
Subject Line: Are you still interested in attending [Event]?
The City Winter Ball is quickly approaching — are you still interested in going? We’d love to see you! Unfortunately, nearby hotels are filling up quickly, but we still have a few rooms reserved at Hotel Lemongrass under Bob’s Blueberry Farm for event attendees. Click [here] to reserve yours.
You can also contact our concierge for help securing accommodations, transportation, and scheduling activities in the area at (555) 487-5210. We’re here to help make planning for the Winter Ball even easier!
Looking forward to seeing you,
Everyone at Bob’s Blueberry Farm
FAQs About How to Write a Follow-up Email
How long should a follow-up email be?
Follow-up emails should be relatively short and concise to keep the recipient’s attention on the content and not overwhelm them with large blocks of text. Keep the email to one or two paragraphs of text, and use good formatting guidelines to make it easy to read.
How do you follow up on an email with no response?
If you’ve sent an email that has received no response, you should acknowledge that the recipient has yet to reach out to your company. However, how you word this is important — it’s easy to appear condescending or aggressive. Instead, use openers like:
1. It looks like you haven’t had a chance to get back to us . . .
2. Since you haven’t had time to check back in, we’re emailing . . .
3. We haven’t heard back from you, so we thought we’d reach out . . .
4. Did we miss your email/phone call?
5. Hi [Name], we seemed to have missed each other!
What is the right time to wait before sending a follow-up email?
There is no perfect right amount of time you should wait before sending a follow-up email. Moreso, you want to pay attention to the type of email you’re sending, your target audience, what kind of call to action you’re promoting, and the contents of your initial email.
For example, if you send exclusive, limited-time-only offers to email recipients, it might make sense to send your follow-up emails just a few days after your last email. On the other hand, if you’re sending content out about something that isn’t time-sensitive, it may be more appropriate to wait a week or so between emails.
Use your best judgment and err on caution — too many follow-up emails in a newsletter series can easily cause your unsubscribe rates to increase, or if a hiring manager finds them excessive or annoying, they may not give you a job offer.
What can I include in my first follow-up email to add more value?
Your first follow-up email should offer additional value to the recipient beyond touching on their pain points and providing potential solutions. For example, you can include a case study or customer testimonials to show potential buyers the value of your product or service, or you can give actionable advice that the email recipient can put into action immediately. You can also include social proof for your brands, such as Google and LinkedIn ratings and detailed reviews.
What shouldn’t I do when writing a follow-up email?
Writing follow-up messages that resonate with your audience can be tough, but avoiding common problems that are ineffective or damaging to businesses is easy enough. The following are just some of the things you’ll want to avoid when crafting your follow-up emails:
1. Don’t repeat yourself, even if you phrase something differently.
2. Don’t write more than a paragraph total — long blocks of text likely won’t be read.
3. Don’t forget to include your contact information at the bottom.
4. Don’t attempt to use humor or wittiness to flavor your content; this rarely works and usually backfires.
5. Don’t neglect to proofread your follow-up messages for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.
6. Don’t send follow-up emails too close together.
7. Don’t enter the email recipient’s address until you’re finished with the message, or you risk accidentally sending an incomplete email.
8. Don’t give everything away in the subject line; tease at the value contained within to get the open click.
9. Don’t be vague with your call-to-action — this can confuse users and increase the number of potential customers that fall out of the buyer’s journey at this stage in the funnel.
Following these guidelines can make your follow-up emails more effective, growing your customer base, brand loyalty, and year-over-year revenue.
When editing for grammar, we also recommend taking the time to improve the readability score of a piece of writing before publishing or submitting it.
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