How to follow up on emails (tips + follow-up templates)
How to follow up on emails (tips + follow-up templates)

Hey! Circling back here. Can we touch base per my last email? Just wanted to check in…

And with that opening line, your eyes glaze over.

There's a reason the standard follow-up email formula doesn't work: you (probably) aren't "just checking in." You want your recipient's attention! The two of you stand to get something done together. But time is precious, and your message is a flimsy needle in a busy inbox's haystack… if you don't make it stand out.

Even if you nail your sales pitch and crush it on your calls, only 2% of your prospects will likely convert during the first point of contact. What does this mean? If you don't follow up with your prospects or your follow-up emails are ineffective, you might miss out on 98% of sales.

With 50% of sales occurring after the 5th follow-up, the first conversation is just the beginning of a relationship that must be nurtured with effective, sales-boosting follow-up emails.

Crafting effective follow-up emails is the answer, but organizing and writing them can be a balancing act. On the one hand, you don't want to miss out on closing the deal, but you also don't want to come on too strong and deter the prospect.

A follow-up signals that your email recipient's response is valuable to you. If that's the case, you need to ensure you're showing value to them, too — as we're all quick to prioritize essential messages and save the leftovers for later (which often turns into never).

How do you find the right tone and messaging for your follow-up emails so you can nurture the relationship and build trust without coming on too strong?

In this article, we'll break down the dos and don'ts of sales email follow-ups and give you five fill-in-the-blank follow-up templates to customize for your email outreach campaigns. After reading this article, you'll better understand how to connect with prospects in follow-up emails and copy and paste easily with ready-to-use email templates.

Why write a follow-up email?

You may be wary of re-emailing a contact if they ignore you. If they want to respond, won't they get around to it the first time?

Not necessarily! Since we all get so many emails, we need practical ways to process our inboxes quickly. According to research, this often means deferring messages — which 16% of us do once daily — that warrant careful replies and thoughtful reading. You can bet your contact saw that email. But they may not have opened it, and their lack of a reply doesn't always mean a lack of interest. They could just use a gentle nudge.

Because the more you follow up, the likelier you will get a response. According to data from 500,000 sales emails, you have a 21% chance of getting a reply from your first follow-up email and a 25% chance of getting one after subsequent follow-ups.

how many emails should i send to get the first reply

When should you send a follow-up email?

As shown, following up is well worth it under the right circumstances. Here are some examples of when to send that extra email.

Closing a sale

While the sales data above shows that follow-ups get replies, it also found that 70% of unanswered email threads stopped after the first message. Think about all those missed opportunities. If you don't follow up with sales leads, you're (quite literally!) leaving money on the table.

Think of it from the potential client's perspective: they aren't always looking to buy from you immediately. According to some data, 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes — even though half of sales reps never bother following up. You can close sales later by periodically reminding leads of your business.

After a job interview or networking event

Everyone appreciates a thank you note. If you've interviewed for a job, a gracious follow-up email generates goodwill and makes employers more likely to remember you. While you want to keep things brief, referencing one or two specific things you discussed in the interview while reiterating your interest in the position is always worth referencing.

Following up after an informal networking chat is also worthwhile. It keeps you on top of mind with people who become valuable contacts down the road. It also lets you piggyback off topics you mentioned in your earlier conversation.

Collaborating with colleagues

Follow-up emails are a great way to interact with team members to ensure meaningful communication never slips through the cracks, primarily if you work in different places. You can send follow-ups to colleagues to:

  • Notify them of upcoming meetings
  • Schedule and reschedule meetings.
  • Get updates and additional information on important projects.
  • Remind them that they haven't responded to a previous email.
  • Put a verbal conversation in writing for future reference

After pitching a project

If you're a freelancer pitching a project, it's easy to feel disillusioned after not hearing back from a contact. But your recipient is likely fielding countless other pitches (amid countless other never-ending responsibilities). There's a chance they'd love your idea if it got noticed.

You'd want to follow up here. But it's worth waiting a moment to see if your contact gets back to you, then dropping another line to see if they're interested.

How long should you wait to follow up?

Generally, emailing a "thank you" follow-up message after a meeting or casual conversation is never too early.

Otherwise, unless it's urgent, following up in less than a couple of days is overkill. But if you wait over a few weeks, you risk being forgotten.

So you shouldn't wait too long. About 90% of people open and reply to an email the day they get it. If you don't get a same-day response, there's a good chance you'll never get one.

But you still want to give your recipient a courtesy cushion. It's best to wait at least two or three days to send that first follow-up and then hold off a little longer after each subsequent reminder email if you get no response.

Above all else, minding your target audience and taking stock of the type of email you're sending is critical here. If you pitch a freelance project to someone you haven't worked with before, you may want to wait at least a week, as following up in two days can come off as pushy. It also may not be enough time for a recipient to consider your idea fully. But if you're nudging a colleague about an encroaching deadline, the sooner you follow up, the better.

How many email follow-ups should you send?

Again, mind the context here. Sales follow-up emails, help to gauge your leads. Some sales professionals recommend maxing out on six follow-ups for prospective clients you're cold-emailing. But if you're dealing with leads you have a prior relationship with, you have more leeway.

In the example follow-up sequence below, you'd send six follow-ups over a month, gradually increasing the time between messages to let your inquiries breathe.

sample follow up email sequences for sales

There's no hard and fast rule here. And while it's often worth being this persistent for sales, you shouldn't rely on that same email sequence if you're checking in on a pending job application.

Why your follow-up emails aren't working

What can go wrong with sales follow-up emails? A lot, and we'll introduce some of these potential issues below. Before we dive into how to create effective follow-ups, let's briefly discuss what can go wrong with them — and what often does.

  • They're "blah": We can get so focused on the initial connection that we don't put much effort into the follow-up email. Every follow-up is another chance to get a prospective client's attention, and if written with intention, it can increase replies and conversions.
  • They're too "salesy": Some salespeople use the follow-up to lay the "sales language" on thicker because they fear losing the sale. Use the follow-up email to capitalize on the opportunity but not make them overly salesy. If the prospect didn't respond to your first email, a salesy message could deter them further. Instead, follow up to learn more about your prospect, their goals, pain points, and how your solution can help.
  • They're focused too much on 1 stakeholder: If your prospect is part of a large organization with multiple stakeholders, get more detail on the organization's decision-making process and every person involved so you can reach out to multiple team members if needed. Ask for referrals.
  • They're not preferred: Does your prospect prefer phone calls to emails?
  • They're not targeted: Target your follow-up emails to your buyer segment and cater to their unique pain points and characteristics. Even something as simple as send time can be targeted (A stay-at-home parent might check emails randomly throughout the day and during kids' naps, but a corporate marketer might check in during breaks and never after 6 pm.)
  • They're too limited: 50% of sales occur after the 5th follow up. If you're stopping at 1 or 2 emails in your follow-up sequence, try a couple more to see if it increases conversions.
  • They're sent too quickly: 5 follow-up emails might be the sweet spot, but sending them all during 2-3 days can potentially damage your reputation and relationship with this prospect. Send no more than 1 email every few days so you don't overwhelm the recipient. Give them a link to opt out of your emails as well.

None of this works. Here’s how to write the follow-up emails that work: 

How to craft the perfect follow-up email: A 10-step guide

Quantity of reminders aside, the quality of your email will determine whether your recipient gets back to you. Here's how you string together a successful follow-up email.

Step 1: Determine the objective

Before you write the email, you must know why you're sending it. That may sound obvious, but ineffectual follow-ups often bury the objective deep in the body of the email, underneath a bunch of filler the recipient may not read past.

Before composing your message, ask yourself: what's my end goal here? It could be to get more information, request and schedule a meeting, or say thank you. No matter the reason, tangible objectives help you include a strong call-to-action (or CTA) in your follow-up email.

Step 2. Nail the email subject line

A concise and intentional subject line is essential if you want to increase response rates. It's the first thing prospects will see in their inbox, and they will use it to evaluate whether or not they want to open the email. A poor subject line can negate all of the time you invested in getting your emails just right. It's super important!

Below are some tips for nailing the subject line:

  • Keep it concise (6-10 words is the sweet spot)
  • Make it intriguing without being too out of the box
  • Make it personalized (use the prospect's name and/or a personal tidbit from your calls)
  • Optimize for mobile (your subject line will be truncated to between 33 and 43 characters on mobile)
  • Avoid aggressive sales-focused language
  • Get to the point

The best subject lines capture attention and stand out in a sea of hundreds of other messages. Take a look at these before and after subject lines below. Notice how the subject lines improved following the recommendations above.

Go a little deeper: What's the best subject line for your target audience? Review your past open rates and split test subject lines during sending.

Step 3: Start with context

We all get tons of emails and can spend up to a third of our workweek in our inbox. If you don't open your message by trying to foster some sort of personal connection, your recipient may cast it aside.

Whether jogging the contact's memory of how they know you, sharing a common interest, or dropping the name of the person who referred you, anything you can do to help the recipient view you as a human in their orbit instead of an email address on a computer screen can help focus their attention. Take our follow-up email example below:

sample follow up email

Look back at your notes from previous interactions with this prospect. What did they emphasize that stood out to you? What were their main points of contention? What questions did they have that you can answer?

Include these points in your follow-ups; your email will stand out from the dozens or hundreds of generic emails they likely get daily.

Also, mention that you sent previous emails, as they might not have opened or received them. State the reason why you're sending the follow-up as well. 

Optional Reading: Email format: How to format an email (+ 5 examples).

Step 4: State your purpose

Your contextual opening should be short and sweet so that you can immediately follow with the brass tacks of the email: a concise explanation of why you're writing.

While you want to keep this brief, you don't want to be vague. Your recipient will have an easier time fielding your ask if they know exactly what you're asking. For instance, "I'd love to pick your brain" is much murkier than "I'd love to get your advice on how I can transition from working within a large agency to running my own smaller outfit."

The more upfront you are about your intentions, the likelier your recipient will respond candidly.

Step 5: Get targeted and personalized

Cookie-cutter generic messaging can make you come across as uninterested and lacking authenticity. If you want to solidify relationships with your prospects and build trust, personalize your communication and target your emails to the recipient. 

Each prospect will have unique pain points depending on their role, personality, etc. Use these characteristics to tailor the email to their distinct interests. Refer to the reasons they initially interacted with you and the problems they want solutions for. Subtly include this in your follow-up messaging. To capture attention, you can keep the general messaging the same but cater to each persona, especially at the beginning of each email.

For example, a small business owner working solo will have different needs than a CEO of a large organization that has sales reps or a sales team.


"I'm eager to help you and your organization get more unified. I know this was important to you."

Small business owner:

"You mentioned you're interested in simplifying your email management so you can free up your time and focus more on growing your business."

Step 6. Keep follow-up emails clear and concise

Stick to a concise email format and get to the point immediately. Start your email with background information to jog your prospects' memory. They're likely juggling hundreds of emails, so they might not remember who you are at first.

"This is just a quick check-in regarding our meeting last Monday about invoicing software."
"We met at the HP networking event in Chicago last month."
"Your colleague Brian suggested I get in touch with you concerning your content creation needs"

Next, immediately get to your email's purpose without meandering and use formatting to break up the text to make emails easier to scan and read.

Take a look at these 2 email examples below. They are identical; however, the second example on the bottom includes formatting. A few bullet points, bolded words, and increased whitespace in the email make it easier on the eyes and more pleasant to read. 

Are you looking for more email writing tips? Check out our in-depth resource on how to write good emails.

Step 7: Decide when you should hit send

Proofread your email. Once you've caught any typos and double-checked that it has a congenial opening, clearly stated purpose and firm objective, it's time to send it. But probably not at 8 PM on a Friday...

Before clicking send, consider when your recipient is likeliest to open the message, considering the time zone they're in. You want it to be among the first emails they see when they queue up their inbox, boosting your open rates. 

When exactly is that? While people often process emails at the beginning and end of the workday, the best time to send depends on your recipient's unique tendencies.

That's why it helps to schedule emails ahead of time. If you use a powerful email management tool like Superhuman, you can pick a time, say 8:30 AM on a Tuesday, when you know one of your leads usually processes emails so that your message lands straight at the top of someone's inbox, no matter when you compose it.

Superhuman also allows you to use read statuses. If you turn this optional feature on, you'll know exactly when the recipient opens your email. If they don't get back to you, you can schedule a follow-up message (using the schedule send feature) to hit their inbox at a similar time three days later — when they're likely back on their email processing their messages.

Let's dive into more detail on solving these common problems and cover tips on creating effective follow-up sales emails with examples.

Step 8: Put your prospect in the driver's seat

Just because you're the product/service expert doesn't mean you must take point in the conversation's direction. Let your prospect direct you and offer guidance.

If your prospect isn't responding, try asking them what would be their preferred next step:

  • How would they like to be contacted next time? (phone, email, video chat)
  • How long do they have to chat?
  • What would they like to focus the chat on primarily?

Let the prospect lead you. It will save you time, and you'll establish greater rapport.

Step 9: Get them re-engaged with a call to action

Give prospects something to do! Even if it's answering a simple multiple-choice question (make it easy for them to answer), getting them involved is a great way to boost engagement.

You can also incentivize prospects to get them reacquainted with your product. Here are some ideas:

  • Industry report
  • Video training
  • Free extended software trial
  • Free Consultation
  • Case studies with exclusive findings

Speaking of valuable freebies, check out our new free guidebook:  "The ultimate guide to writing emails that inspire action"

Step 10: Follow up outside of email

If you developed a good rapport during the initial connection, follow up on social media to gently nudge the prospect to reconnect.

If they recently were awarded for an accomplishment or posted great content, congratulate them and give them kudos for a job well done. This way, they can keep you on their radar.

Be genuine and focus on the relationship, not the sale! Focusing on the relationship builds trust, which is necessary before you can close deals.

5 best email follow-up templates

1. First follow-up email after first meeting or conversation

Send this email right after an initial meeting with a prospect (within 24 hours). The purpose of the message is to reemphasize your talking points and send over any information you promised the prospect. This email gets to the point immediately and reiterates the prospect's pain point in the first few sentences to reestablish a connection.

Subject: Thanks for talking with me, [Prospect’s name]

Hi [Prospect's name],

It was terrific talking/emailing with you yesterday. I enjoyed learning about your great company [Prospect's company name] and discussing your current challenges around [prospect's challenge or pain point discussed].

As you requested, I've attached a recap and some solutions to show how we can help you with [prospect's challenge or pain point] and work together.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out! I'm looking forward to our meeting next week on [meeting day, time] to discuss this further.

If you need to change the meeting time, please reschedule on my calendar here [Insert link].

Talk soon,

[Sender's name]

Feel free to edit the template with some light personal banter or additional information pertinent to your persona. Keep the email concise and end with a call to action for the prospect to follow up with you.

2. Follow-up email after leaving a voicemail

If a prospect hasn't responded after leaving a voicemail, the following email can encourage them to rejoin the conversation. This email can also remind the prospect you called so you stay on their radar.

Subject: [Prospect's name], just tried calling you...

Hi [Prospect's name],

I just tried calling you about [reason for your call] and left a voicemail.

I will try to reach you again on [day and time you will call back] but feel free to call me back at [your phone number] between [your working days/ and timezone]. Alternatively, you can reply to this email.

If you'd like to schedule a video chat, I can send you an invite for [window of dates and times]. Alternatively, you can schedule a time in my calendar here [Insert link] if that's easier.

Looking forward to catching up.

Talk soon,

[Sender's name]

3. Follow-up email offering a gift: after no response

When a prospect does not respond, sometimes following up with a gift or incentive can recapture their attention. Just make sure the gift meets their needs and will add value to their professional life.

Subject: [Prospect’s name], a special gift for you

Hi [Prospect’s name],

I sent an email earlier this week sharing some information on how [your company name] can help [prospect's company name] with [prospect's challenge or pain point].

I'd love to offer you a gift to help you make a more informed decision. You can try out [your product] free for [time duration] and get access to all of our premium features, such as [product features], during your trial. Just [provide access instructions], and you will immediately get access.

We'd also love to hear how your trial was. And if you need anything else at all, please just reach out.


[Sender's name]

This email offers a free product trial, but you can also give away free products, reports, training, etc. Provide clear access instructions to the prospect and prompt them to offer feedback.

4. Following up to get a referral to speak to another team member

When you sense that your contact might not be the decision-maker or that more stakeholders are involved, this email can help you get referred to another contact who can continue the engagement.

Just be careful not to blame your contact for not referring you. This email can go very wrong if not worded correctly. Be kind and cordial, and never make the prospect seem insignificant enough to finalize the decision.

Subject: What do you think about this?

Hi [Prospect’s name],

I sent you an email yesterday about [subject of the email], but I haven't heard back, so I wondered if I missed the mark somewhere.

If you do not handle these matters, can you point me to someone you think I should be connected with?

I really appreciate your help.


[Sender's name]

5. Breakup email: no response after multiple follow-up emails

Though this email is called the "breakup" email, we don't like to say that you're breaking up with your client. You never want to break up with a client if there will be future interest. You're simply giving them an out if they don't want to be bothered anymore. This last email aims to be friendly and cordial and give prospects an easy way to opt out of your communications.

Subject: Still interested?

Hi [Prospect’s name],

I wanted to reach out here one last time. When I didn't hear back after a few follow-ups, I assumed that you were either super busy (which is often the case!) or didn't want to hear from me (which is OK, too!).

If you're not interested in what we discussed, respond with either A or B based on the prompts below. If you're not interested, that's no problem, I'll remove you from our email lists — but feel free to get in touch if anything changes in the future.

A - "I am super busy but still interested."

B - "Please discontinue your messaging; I'm not interested."


[Sender's name]

Dos and don'ts of email follow-up

Following up can deliver valuable results for senders and recipients alike. But the last thing you want to do is spam inboxes with unwelcome fluff. Here's what you should and shouldn't do to ensure you're providing, not pestering.

Do: Add value

If you want a response to your email, you ask for a conversation. And good conversations are all about give and take. If you want something of value from the recipient, you should convey equal value from your end every time you get in touch.

Think about your recipient. Is there a relevant case study you can share? A recap of an event they missed? A proposed solution you had in mind for their job's biggest pain points? Anything you can relay that makes their life easier, more interesting, or more exciting speaks wonders.

Don't: Start with "just following up"

You know what doesn't add value? All those filler phrases that stall getting to the point of a follow-up email.

If all you're writing is "just following up" or some variation, your recipient will be fuzzy on what exactly you want from them.

In general, any filler words — like "just", "you know", and "literally" — add little to the exchange and can therefore be cut. It helps to keep your tone conversational, but you also want to be professional. Focus on how you can help your recipient instead of bloating your email's word count.

Do: Include a call to action (CTA)

What do you want your recipient to do after reading your email? Respond with availability for a video conference? Read a link you sent? Discuss price points? Make it easy for them to understand your ask, and make the CTA itself easy for them to fulfill. 

No matter your intention, keep in mind that politeness, grace, and courtesy all go a long way here. You want your recipient to feel guided into action, not pestered.

Don't: Wait too long

A polite, gentle follow-up to your original email is better sent sooner than later. If you wait too long, you risk your objective growing stale (say, trying to land accounting help at the tail-end of tax season). What's more, your recipient may even forget you exist!

But as we've established, well-crafted follow-up emails take time. It's difficult to get good ones out quickly. If you want to ensure you're not sacrificing quality for speed, Superhuman has a handy tool called Snippets. This lets you quickly compose emails you send often — say, a follow-up template to a warm sales lead — without retyping, copying, or pasting.

You can use keyboard shortcuts to incorporate these pre-written email templates straight into the body of a message and employ commands to ensure you never accidentally use the wrong recipient's name. This way, you're following up with value without losing valuable time.

Do: Put yourself in the recipient's shoes

There's a person behind that inbox you're pinging. How can your email soothe instead of startle?

Emails don't have body language, voice inflections, or eye contact that help speakers convey tone: which is partially why recipients misperceive work messages as negative. So we recommend striving to make every follow-up friendly, easy to answer, and recipient-focused.

We all get busy, and work can get overwhelming. When following up, you can be a balm instead of a burden. How can you be warm while still trying to accomplish your objective?

Don't: Be vague

Some emailers skip the details of their specific objective in a follow-up message. Writing takes time; they'd rather rush into a phone call to elaborate.

But recipients don't like getting surprised. When writing your email, you should plainly (but politely!) state what you want from them.

Bonus follow-up email tips

How else can you master the art of the follow-up? Here are a few more pointers:

1. Punch up your subject line

You always have the option to follow up within your initial email thread, which means the subject line stays the same. But if you want to stand out, starting a new chain with an updated, more attention-grabbing subject line is worth it. For instance, according to HubSpot, to boost your response rate, you can:

  • Use specific numbersExample: "Want to save $5,000 in fees?"
  • Use "tomorrow" to drum up urgencyExample: "Free for a coffee at 11 AM tomorrow?
  • Get rid of the email subject line entirely so that your message pops. Another tip: write the subject line after you write the email. This way, you have a strong sense of your email's ingredients and can dream up the most eye-catching way to pitch the recipe.

2. Use a trigger event

What's been going on in the life of your recipient lately? It could be worth opening with that context if they've been in the press, won an award, or successfully fundraised a million dollars. The congratulatory tone personalizes the email, which could make recipients more likely to respond.

3. Include a pain point

This is an example of seeing issues from your recipient's perspective. Are they having a hard time retaining talent? If your software eases their burden, tell them!

4. Share social proof

If you're in sales and have past clients who can attest to your business solution, explain how they benefited in your follow-up email. Because while discussing your value can get a recipient's attention, actually proving it may drive them to action.

Even outside of sales, it helps to share past successes. For instance, if you're a graphic designer pitching a new project and have published work with a big brand, shoot them the link!

Nail email follow-ups with Superhuman

Be kind, add value, and email follow-ups can help you prosper.

But your messages can get cluttered if you send them out of a conventional inbox. And important exchanges can slip through the cracks.

Or you can try Superhuman, which guarantees a faster, smarter, and better follow-up strategy.

No need to worry about forgetting to follow-up. When sending an important email, choose a time (say, two days from now or the 15th at 4 PM) to remind you that it's time to check back in: 

But that’s not all! With 100+ features like: 

  • Email analytics/metrics: Discover how your recipient interacted with your email with open/read receipts with timing.
  • Automated follow-ups: Schedule follow-up emails to be sent out at specific dates only if the prospect doesn't reply.
  • Send Later: Schedule emails (single or in batch) to send at specific times.
  • AI and social insights: Get personal details on contacts' characteristics (location, profile image, job role, etc.) and use this information to break the ice in your follow-up sales emails.
  • Instant Intro: Respond to introductions faster.
  • Snippets: Create templates you can quickly customize, send, and re-send.
  • Split Inbox: Declutter your inbox and prioritize the most important messages.

Superhuman makes email management seamless and puts you back in control of your inbox. It makes sending and organizing follow-up emails for sales easier and speeds up your workflow.

No matter how many follow-up emails you want to send, craft them instantly with the Snippets feature, which lets you program in the perfect, pre-written responses.

But you never have to worry about them appearing stale or impersonal. Because Superhuman also incorporates social insights into your contact list. This way, you can customize your follow-ups by adding information from your recipients' LinkedIn and other social media accounts — guaranteeing you're greeting them with the proper context and fostering a personal connection.

With Superhuman, you're never "just following up". You're making your recipient feel appreciated and paving the way for a mutually valuable conversation.

Don't take our word for it. Try Superhuman today to see how our email solution helps you boost reply rates and easily follow up!

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