How to Write a Follow Up Email

Tired of writing follow up emails that seem to get lost in space? Getting frustrated with the lack of response to your email masterpieces? Here are some tips and tricks to help improve your follow up email game and get better results from all those emails that are seemingly going unnoticed.

If the thought of writing a follow up email makes you nervous or even feel a little uncomfortable, you’re not alone. If someone hasn’t replied to our first email, we automatically assume they’re not interested, and we worry that they’ll be annoyed if we attempt to contact them again.

Fortunately, our instincts are often wrong. Very few employers or prospects will respond to an initial email. The average office worker receives 121 emails each and every day. Meanwhile, 86% of those same workers say that email is their favorite mode of communication. This simply means that although people are bombarded with emails every day, it is still their preferred method of communication. How do you break through the web and clutter of someone’s email inbox?

What is a Follow Up Email?

A follow up email is a key communication tool that can be used in a range of situations. After a great business meeting, a job interview, or a phone call with a prospect, a follow up email can be a powerful way to establish a relationship between you and another person. 

Tips

While crafting a follow up email may sound simple enough, writing one that will produce a positive result and convince someone to give you a response is more difficult than you may think. A follow up email needs to break through the noise of a busy inbox, it needs to be clear and concise, and it needs to have a friendly, yet professional voice. Check out these tips on how to write a follow up email properly:

1. Action-Taking Subject Line

One of the most important aspects of a follow up sales email is the subject line. This is the area where you must grab the reader’s attention and provide a clear message of why you’re reaching out to them. The subject line should communicate exactly what the email is about so that the recipient can prioritize the email’s importance without having to open it. For example, writing “Thanks” or “Follow Up” is vague and does not provide much context. If it’s a job application, include your name and the position, and if it’s to another coworker, you should identify the project that the email refers to.

2. Make it Personalized

Another tactic to excel at follow up emails is to make it personalized. In order to write an email that will quickly resonate with the recipient, begin the email with a topic that has been previously discussed. This may be related to a business idea that was discussed, a story that was shared, or if you have a close relationship with the person, it could be about the person’s family. Prospects are bombarded with emails all day, so you must make the follow up email customized and not too salesy.

3. Focus on Value

If you’re attempting to secure a sale from a prospect, you’ll want to briefly remind the person of your product or service and share how it could solve a problem or enhance an aspect of their business. However, before you send this follow up email, make sure you’ve done your homework and truly understand exactly how your product or service fits into their current business. You won’t get a response if you’re copying and pasting the same follow up email to every potential prospect.

How to Write a Follow Up Email After a Business Meeting

Having the ability to write a clear and concise follow up email after a business meeting or phone call will allow you to build off the success of the meeting and wrap up anything that wasn’t discussed or confirmed in the meeting itself. Take a look at these aspects that should be included in a follow up email after a business meeting:

Thank You

First and foremost, you’ll want to thank the individual or team of people that you met with for their time. A sincere thank you can add a lot of weight, and it can make anyone, even a senior level executive feel respected. For inspiration, search the web for a sample thank you letter after business meeting document or an example of a thank you email after sales meeting document to get a few ideas.

Recap

Often, a business meeting or phone call can last for an hour or more. Many ideas are brought to the table and different topics about different facets of the business itself could be discussed. It’s beneficial to everyone involved if you provide a quick recap email after meeting in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page in your follow up email after meeting with them. You don’t want to write a long, drawn-out email that explains everything you discussed, but the email should briefly reiterate and highlight specific talking points instead.

Next Steps

 An important goal for any follow up email, but particularly for one after a business meeting is to discuss potential next steps. You want the individual or team to be fully aware of what your expectations are for next steps and clearly define how these steps will be executed. The individual or team should also have clear direction on what they need to do next and how you are there to help them if needed. Be sure to research a business follow up email sample or a sample thank you letter after business meetings to get ideas on how this type of email should be crafted.

How to Write a Follow Up Email After No Response

Writing an initial follow up email can be tricky. However, when you are put in a situation where you have to write a second follow up email because there was no response to the first follow up email, things begin to feel complicated. You don’t want to come off as being pushy or annoying, but it’s difficult not to when you’re in this situation. It’s important to allow for enough time to pass, at least 5 business days, in between follow up emails to give the recipient plenty of time to respond to your first email. Keep reading to learn more about how to write a follow up email after no response.

Re-Capture Their Attention

If it’s been several days, or possibly weeks, since your original email, it’s safe to say that your email is either lost in the abyss of someone’s email inbox or you simply haven’t made it to the top of their priority list yet. You need to re-capture the recipient’s attention and that is not an easy thing to do. However, don’t take offense at being ignored. We are all guilty of ignoring emails and you have to be aware that you are far from the only person trying to get in touch with your intended recipient. It’s up to you to craft a message to convince the person that you need to be considered a priority and make time to respond to your email. If it was a sales pitch remind the person of an interesting benefit that your product offers, or try to remind them of something they saw very valuable during your sales presentation. Simply sending a follow up email after no response might alone be enough to get their attention.

Subject Line is Key

The subject line also holds great importance at this stage. But it’s important to note that the first email after no response will look different than a second follow up email after no response, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly. However, in both scenarios, you need a catchy subject line that doesn’t come off as pushy or annoying. In fact, reviewing a follow up email sample after no response could help you generate a few good ideas on how best to approach your next follow up email.

A subject line for a reminder email after no response might say something like:

“What you should know about [COMPANY]” or “Hello again, [NAME].”

Be sure to research terms such as “sending a follow up email after no response sample,” “warm follow up email,” or “gentle follow up email sample” in order to see how others approach follow up email etiquette.

Follow Up Email After Sending Proposal

In the event you send a sales proposal to a prospect, it’s important to practice confidence and patience. You don’t want to follow up too quickly or you’ll sound desperate. However, you also don’t want to wait too long and allow a competitor to take away potential business from you. This is always a tricky situation to deal with and it can feel stressful, but understanding some key tips can help you put your best foot forward and land the sale. Take a look at how to craft a warm follow up email after a proposal has been sent here:

Don’t Sound Desperate

The last thing you want to do in any follow up email is to sound desperate. This goes back to understanding your recipient’s priorities and knowing that you likely aren’t at the top of their priority list. One way to avoid sounding desperate is to not send your follow up email within hours after sending over the proposal. This will make you look like someone who only cares about closing the deal, instead of someone who genuinely cares about the prospect and their potential business needs. Having the ability to stay patient and wait for the prospect to either respond from the proposal you sent or wait several days to send your follow up email after sending proposal will significantly increase your chances of closing the deal. 

Consider Different Scenarios

As mentioned earlier, an average worker receives 121 emails every single day. Unless your only job is to respond to emails all day, no one has time to thoughtfully respond to 121 emails. Given the fact that people have to be in meetings throughout the day, answer phone calls, or finish a project for their boss, you can’t expect someone to respond to your first initial email immediately. There are a variety of other reasons why you have not received a response yet:

  • They opened the email and then forgot they had opened it
  • They opened the email and are planning to respond, but haven’t had time
  • The email ended up in their spam folder or they accidentally deleted it
  • They opened the email and simply aren’t interested
  • They forwarded the email to someone else and asked them to respond to you

Given the numerous things that could have happened to your email, as well as different selling points you might be making to each different prospect, you should make one follow up email template to clients for a variety of different scenarios. This will allow you to have a library of different follow up email templates that you can simply pull from, saving you an immense amount of time. For more direction on how to write follow up emails to different clients, be sure to search for a sample follow up email to client after sending proposal or a sample follow up email to prospective clients. For more information on providing a lighter touch in following up, be sure to look at a polite follow up email sample and a gentle follow up email sample.

Interview Follow Up Email

If you’ve been a candidate for a job and been through a formal interview process, you know how nerve-wracking it can be when you’re waiting to hear back from the employer. Unfortunately, employers don’t always keep applicants informed about the status of their application. Therefore you may need to take initiative and be the first one to reach out after an interview. 

If done strategically, knowing how to write a follow up email after an interview can be a great way to reinforce why you are qualified for the job, and can even get your application a closer look. Whether it’s an email after an in-house interview or a follow up email after phone interview, a quick and easy follow up email can be the difference between getting the job or not. Here is what you need to know if you’re wondering how to write a follow up email after an interview:

Be Friendly

It’s important to always be friendly in your follow up email after meeting potential employers. People want to work with polite, thoughtful, courteous, and professional people. Therefore, you should write a short and sweet follow up email after interviews. 

Reinforce Your Qualifications

While you don’t want to come off as arrogant or sound like a broken record, it’s important to highlight one or two reasons in your follow up email as to why you believe you’re the best person for the job. In your follow up email after final interviews, you should keep your message very brief as the employer will be well aware of your qualifications by that point, but do still highlight them.

Consider Another Email

If you have sent one follow up email and still haven’t received a response from the employer, you may consider sending a second follow up email. A second follow up email after interviewing likely sounds more nerve-wracking than writing the first one, but being persistent can show a sign of commitment and desire for the job. Be sure to wait at least two weeks for the original follow up email and wait another week to send the second follow up email.

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