How to write a follow-up email: a step-by-step guide with templates & examples

Ufuoma Uvomata
August 17, 2023

Crafting a follow-up email may seem daunting, particularly when it involves reaching out after submitting applications or sending cold emails.

Writing a formal email can feel a little awkward and stuffy. There’s no “haha” and probably no emojis — no GIF of your favorite artist's quote. It might feel stiff.

That’s why it’s great to stick to a set structure. If you know how to form the body of the email and use the appropriate salutation, you can turn the process of writing a formal email into a quick and simple one.

Below we break down what a formal email looks like and the steps you can follow to start writing formal emails to any organization. Whether it’s a job you’re trying to land, new client outreach, or any other formal email, the structure below can help you get your foot in the door and get the response you’re looking for.

Understanding the context of a follow-up email.

According to research carried out by Backlinko, studies show that if you send multiple emails to the same recipient you are more likely to get a response, than sending just one message.

The study also shows that sending 3 or more messages results in the best overall response rate, sending just one additional follow-up can boost replies by 65.8%.

Why should you send a follow-up email?

Simply put: people receive lots of emails in their inbox every day. In fact, The Radicati Group found that follow-up emails can significantly improve outreach conversion rates. A single additional follow-up message can lead to 65.8% more replies. 

Let me guide you through the detailed procedure of crafting an impeccable follow-up email. This systematic approach will assist you in generating a positive reply and moving you towards successfully finalizing the arrangement. 

Just like any task you embark upon, outlining objectives for your cold outreach follow-up campaign remains an essential part of the process.

1. Determine the objective of your follow-up email

Just like a good introduction in a conversation, the beginning of your follow-up email should immediately convey why you're writing. 

No need to keep them guessing – let them know your reason right from the email subject lines. This not only grabs their attention but also encourages them to read on. 

Think of your email as a story – a simple, straightforward one. After the introduction, get straight to the point. Outline what's happening, what's been done so far, and what's left to do. Clarity is key here.

You don't want the recipient to wonder about your intentions; you want them to understand exactly what you're saying.

State what you're looking for in your email. Do you need them to confirm a meeting, provide feedback, or join a project? Don't leave room for uncertainty – be explicit about your expectations.

How you say something matters just as much as what you're saying. Keep your tone courteous and professional, but also inject a touch of enthusiasm to show your genuine interest.

Strike the balance between politeness and purpose, making your email both inviting and action-oriented.

2. Adding a relevant introduction: A warm welcome back

Imagine you're meeting someone after a while – would you dive right into business without a friendly greeting? Neither should your follow-up email. 

Begin by recalling your previous interaction, whether it was a chat, an initial email, or a meeting. 

A simple "It was a pleasure talking to you about [insert topic]" or "I hope you're doing well since our last conversation about [mention the topic]" can go a long way in rekindling the connection. 

This initial touch sets the stage for a more personalized and engaging follow-up.

Highlighting the prospect's "WIIFM": Navigating their needs.

Now, let's crack the code of "WIIFM" – What's In It For Me. Put yourself in the shoes of your email recipient. 

What problem do they want to be solved? What aspiration are they chasing? In your introduction, briefly touch on how your product or service can address their pain points or goals. 

For instance, "Considering your interest in [mention a specific pain point or goal], I thought you'd be excited to hear about our latest solution that can [highlight the benefits]." Show them you're not just about talking, but about addressing their needs.

3.  Personalize the body of the email

Addressing the prospect by name: A personal touch

Imagine someone remembering your name after a few weeks – it feels great, doesn't it? With a polite follow up email, addressing your prospect by name is like rolling out the red carpet.

Instead of a generic opening, a simple "Hi [Prospect's Name]," or "Dear [Prospect's Name]," adds a personalized touch that warms things up from the start. It shows that you remember them and care about the conversation you had in the previous email.

Using a conversational tone: Building bridges

Remember, you're not drafting a formal letter – you're having a chat in the virtual world. Imagine you're talking face-to-face, and your words start to flow naturally.

Avoid jargon, and keep sentences friendly and concise. A conversational tone feels like a warm handshake, putting your prospect at ease and making your email easy to read and connect with.

Providing value and benefits: The magic words

Your follow-up email should be a delightful offering of value. Share insights, tips, or updates related to your previous conversation.

Highlight how your product or service addresses their pain points or fulfills their needs. Show them the treasure they'll find by investing their time in your email.

Whether it's a new feature, a solution to their problem, or an exclusive offer, make sure they see the benefit in continuing the conversation.

4. Add a clear call-to-action (CTA)

When writing follow up emails, the CTA is your guide. It tells your reader what to do next.

By making your CTA clear and using action words, you make your email more engaging.

Think of it as an invitation to take the next step. As you craft your CTAs, remember that you're not just asking them; you're inviting them to join you in moving things forward.

Creating an easy-to-follow CTA: The way forward

Your CTA should be straightforward and easy to understand. It's like giving someone simple directions.

Whether you want them to reply, set up a meeting, or check out a product, be clear about it. Make sure your CTA stands out so they don't miss it.

Using action-oriented language: Words that encourage action

Choose words that encourage action. Instead of passive phrases, use active ones that motivate. For example, say "Discover how this can help you" instead of "Click here if you're interested."

Action words like "explore," "discover," and "unlock" add energy to your CTA and make them more likely to take action.

 5. Streamlining success: Automating your follow-up sequence

Efficiency and effectiveness often hold the key to success with sales follow up emails. Automation is a magical tool that can help you navigate the follow-up journey seamlessly.

Here, we'll explore the power of automating your follow-up sequence, focusing on a strategy that progressively increases the sending interval and includes a thoughtful waiting period.

Creating a progressive follow-up sequence: The gradual approach

Imagine building a bridge step by step – that's how a progressive follow-up sequence works. Start with an initial email and gradually increase the time between subsequent emails.

This approach respects your recipient's time while keeping your message fresh.

Begin with a polite introduction, then offer more insights in the second email, and finally, introduce a strong CTA in the third. 

Waiting three days: Patience, the silent strategy

Consider waiting three days before sending a second follow-up email to give your recipient breathing space especially when its a paying customer. Just as a chef allows different ingredients to blend, this pause enables your previous email to settle.

It shows that you respect their schedule and it gives them enough time to respond. When your second email arrives, it's like picking up a conversation where you left off, making it feel more natural and less intrusive.

Some follow up email templates your sales team can use 

Day 1: Initial Email Subject Line: Exploring Opportunities for [Recipient's Company Name]

Hi [Recipient's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. After our [mention context, e.g., previous conversation], I wanted to discuss how our [product or service] could benefit [Company Name]. Would you be available for a quick chat this week? Looking forward to the possibility of working together.

Best regards, 

[Your Name]

You can send this follow up email after no response to your initial message. 

Day 4: Second Email Subject Line: Enhancing [Recipient's Company Name]'s Strategy with [Your Solution]

Hi [Recipient's Name],

I trust you've been having a great week. Building on our previous conversation, I wanted to share more insights on how [product or service] can boost [Company Name]'s [mention a pain point or goal]. I'm excited to delve deeper into this with you. Can we find a time to connect next week? Let's make it happen.

Best regards, 

[Your Name]

Day 7: Third Email Subject Line: Taking the Next Step: Action Time for [Recipient's Company Name]

Hi [Recipient's Name],

I hope you've had time to consider our previous discussions. The potential for [product or service] to [mention benefits] is truly exciting. Let's explore this further. Can we arrange a brief call next week to finalize the details? Your insights are invaluable, and I'm eager to move forward together.

Warm regards, 

[Your Name]

Rules for sales follow-up emails

Effectively following up with prospects post-demo involves adhering to a set of best practices that can greatly enhance your approach. Here are four golden rules to guide your follow-up strategy:

  • Timing is key

Resist the urge to reach out immediately after a conversation. Allow a buffer of at least 12 working hours following the completion of the demo. This subtle delay ensures a more thoughtful and respectful follow-up.

  1. Practice being patient

While meeting targets is crucial, it's essential not to transfer any undue pressure onto the prospect. Exercise patience and avoid rushing the process. Overwhelming urgency might lead prospects to distance themselves from you.

  1. Team alignment matters:

Before initiating a follow-up, verify that your team is fully prepared for any potential interactions. A smooth and seamless process post-follow-up is vital to prevent any disruptions that could cost you a prospect.

  1. Thorough recap is a must:

Scrutinize your email to ensure every aspect of the previous interaction is covered. The prospect should receive comprehensive details from your last conversation, reaffirming their understanding and interest.

Streamline more of your communication

For those seeking additional avenues to enhance responsiveness, incorporating auto-replies can be advantageous. Additionally, sending appointment reminders to curtail meeting no-shows and payment prompts to mitigate missed payments can prove invaluable.

With Simpu you can automate these repetitive tasks to enable you to free up your time to concentrate on finalizing deals. Intrigued? Experience the benefits firsthand by trying Simpu free for a 14-day trial.

Ufuoma Uvomata

Content Writer
Ufuoma is a writer who creates website copy, SEO articles, scripts, blog posts, and short stories for companies in several industries. If you meet her, ask about her plants.

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