How to Write the Best-Performing Follow-up Emails?

Created On:
October 13, 2022
Updated On:
March 14, 2024
How to write follow-up emails

In this fast-paced world, there are times when people might not get back to your emails promptly. It could be because they're busy or missed it. That's when sending follow-up emails becomes important. Whether it's with colleagues, managers, or anyone you expect a reply from, follow-ups can help. This is especially true for business owners who might feel like their first email got overlooked. A follow-up message can bring the conversation back on track. But how do you write follow-up emails?

Writing a follow-up email after not getting a response is a bit tricky but necessary. This guide will help you understand how to do it, complete with examples and templates. Keep reading to learn more!

What is a follow-up email?

Simply put, an effective follow-up mail is a kind of e-message sent to a recipient you have already contacted once. There can be many reasons when it comes to the need to send a follow-up message, like:

  • For just alerting the prospects to the previously sent e-message content.
  • Request some information or a response.
  • Reminds the recipient about the date or time frames for a vital quick meeting request or event.

So basically, the main purpose of follow-ups is to act as a reminder for a sole mail already sent. It is not to start any new conversations; it is just to reinvigorate the previous communication and generate a response to it. 

The most effective and efficient follow-up mails are simple, sweet, professional, short, and, most importantly, just to the point. Because once, a US-based team analyzed about 2 billion emails and found that most contacts tend to skim over lengthy ones. And if the mails were short and easy to read, 50% of them would receive responses in just 30–40 minutes.

Experts have also proved that e-messages sent during the morning are most likely to receive responses. However, mails sent during the afternoon or the weekend have significantly fewer chances of getting early responses.

Why do people not respond to emails on time?

Have you ever tried just to give a thought to this matter? Why don't people respond to outreach messages immediately?

The marketing experts have proved in a study that there are five core reasons why people ignore electronic messages:

  • The effort or time involved in handling that particular is more, and the recipient does not have that much time.
  • The identity of the sender of the sole e-mail
  • The number of recipients or prospects in the sender's list is not good.
  • The workload of the prospects
  • And lastly, it mainly depends upon the urgency and priority of that particular outreach message.

How long should you wait before sending the follow-ups?

The answer here is "not so long."

Research shows that most mails are opened on the same business day they are sent, and if the recipient is interested, they also tend to respond on the same business day. That simply means it is pretty easy to understand that if somebody does not revert to your outreach message the same business day, they are either uninterested or will not respond.

 So, as a generic rule, waiting for 2-3 days is a reasonable amount of time to be given to the email recipient before sending the gentle follow-ups. 

How to write follow-up emails?

When wondering - how to write follow-up emails, always remember that it is very important to test your follow-up message subject line while sending the mails. It has been shown in a survey that 47% of mail openers report their mails as spam only based on the subject line alone. 

So it is correctly said that those tiny little sentences can even break or make you. Apart from the subject lines, while writing these follow-up messages, pay attention to the mail content format, mainly the email's starting and closing. Just keep it short and straightforward.

Now that you understand how important it is to send follow-ups to the recipient and after how long that should be sent. So, let us move ahead in the guide and learn how to write follow-up emails. So the perfect format for the same is divided into five parts:

  1. The subject line of an outreach mail. 
  2. Greeting
  3. The mail body
  4. Closing
  5. The email signatures

Follow-up email subject lines - best practices

An executive coach, Rebecca Zucker, advised in the Harvard Business Review that keeping the follow-up email subject lines short, simple, and sweet is essential. She says that almost 47% of the emails are discarded because of having lame or lousy subject or introductory lines. So, make sure you are not making this kind of mistake.

Writing a follow-up message that brings back results is too challenging. So mainly, we should aim to keep the subject lines to five words or under. The reason behind this word limit is that 56% of the mails are being read by people on their mobile devices, where it seems like the fewer the words, the better it is

So below are just some follow-up message subject line examples:

  • Follow-up: email sent on xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Response required: Email sent on xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • A gentle Reminder to register for xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Reminder about a networking event
  • Thank you for our initial meeting.
  • It'd be great to hear back from you.

All these introductory lines are entirely different from each other and have different purposes for sending them. The most important thing you should remember while writing your follow-up mail content is that you should never be funny in your subject line because people can find it offensive. So below are some cold mail subject line examples to make you understand things much better:

  • Did you receive my last mail?
  • Why didn’t you respond to my mail?
  • I am waiting for your response.
  • Just checking in.

Follow-up email greeting

Being from a professional background, you should always focus on being formal while sending initial or follow-up messages. That means you should always use professional greetings in your follow-up mails until you have a personal connection with the sole email recipient. So you can refer to the most commonly used tool, Smartlead AI,  how to write an effective email. 

Follow-up email example

A follow-up message is a formal and fast way of raising awareness of the outreach messages  you have sent to your prospects.

So while writing the body of your follow-up mail, you need to provide some well-crafted email content from the previous sole mail. Or else you can try to follow the below method to make sure that the previous email at least has the information the prospects need to know:

Below is a follow-up email example:

Subject: Follow-Up on Our Recent Discussion

Hi [Recipient's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to follow up on our recent conversation about [specific topic]. I value your insights and would love to hear your thoughts or any updates you might have.

Please let me know when it's convenient for you to discuss further.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

Explore 15 Sales Follow-Up Email Templates to Boost Your Revenue by 95%

Closing the follow-up email

In the mail body, when you have politely requested a response to your email, you should still let the recipient know how you will use their response further and what you will do if the recipient does not respond again.

Leaving your prospects without confusion about your next steps is essential.

The signatures

A professional and polite sign-off is mandatory for the follow-ups. So if you don’t know how to end the content correctly, you can refer to the Smartlead AI tool that will help generate email signatures. 

Follow-up email phrases and words

Below are some phrases and words that can be used while creating your follow-up mails.

  • I wanted to
  • I thought I’d
  • I’m reaching back out to
  • I’m emailing to
  • Drop me a line.
  • Circle back
  • Resurface
  • Send over a friendly reminder.
  • Check-in
  • Make a note of it.
  • Touch base
  • Remind
  • Bump this to the top of your primary inbox.
  • Revisit
  • Gently remind
  • Circle back
  • Bring this message to the top of your primary inbox.

Mistakes to avoid while sending the follow-up emails

So, after going through the format of the follow-up mails, you should also be aware of the mistakes you must avoid. People tend to make four common mistakes while sending follow-ups.

Mistake #1:

Starting the follow-ups with "just following up" and sending that email adds no value to the prospects. These days, each of us is busy in our lives, so nobody wants to receive mails that can’t justify their email topic and show the next course of action required or any quick question too. 

Mistake # 2:

Use the word "follow up" in the subject line itself. People will likely ignore and spam these kinds of emails. Because such messages give customers the feeling that you are trying to blame them for something. Instead, you should write a subject line relevant to the purpose of sending that follow-up message.

Mistake #3:

Do not follow up quickly. Waiting for just 2-3 days is more than sufficient. Not waiting too long ensures that the topic of your initial well-crafted email will be fresh in the recipient's mind. However, people tend to forget about the initial messages themselves if they send follow-ups after too long. So it is better to wait for a good 3 days and then send a polite reminder email to either request a response or provide a timeline in which they can respond.

Mistake #4

If you forget about including the call to action from the prospects' end, So, while writing the follow-ups, you must mention in them what exactly you want the recipient to do after reading your well-crafted mail. For example, do you want them to reply to your email? Do you expect a call back from them? Or do you just need to get some forms filled out? So you should never forget about this.

Best practices to follow while writing follow-up emails

There are several kinds of follow-ups, so for all of them, there are some tips or some best practices that you should always follow:

  • Be specific about the purpose of your follow-up mail.
  • Be genuine and use a formal tone in your follow-up messages.
  • Make sure to include a glimpse of your initial email as well.
  • Have one straightforward question at the end of your follow-up mail.


Hopefully, you can write follow-up mails after going through this well-illustrated guide on the same The main things you should always keep in mind while drafting follow-up messages are to be polite and brief, focus on adding value to your well-crafted mail, and ask for some action, response, or additional questions. So, if you follow the above tips and the format of the follow-ups, you will always get timely responses to them. 


Q1: Why are follow-up emails important?

Follow-up emails are essential for maintaining communication, building relationships, and ensuring important matters are not overlooked.

Q2: When is the best time to send a follow-up email?

Ideally, send a follow-up email a few days after the initial contact to keep the conversation fresh.

Q3: How can I make my follow-up emails more effective?

Personalize messages, be concise, and include a clear call-to-action to encourage a prompt response.

Q4: What should I do if I don't receive a response to my follow-up email?

Consider sending a polite reminder, adjusting your approach, or exploring alternative communication channels if there's no response.

Q.5 How to write a follow up email to human resources

To follow up on a job interview with Human Resources, send a concise email expressing your continued interest in the position and politely inquire about the status of your application.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Author’s Details

Tanmay Shukla

Tanmay is a SEO Content Writer at Smartlead. His zeal and enthusiasm in writing led him to the path of being a Content Writer. He has been advancing in this field by possessing more knowledge and skills. His constant endeavor has made him a whiz in SEO, Creative Writing, and driving sales through writing.


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