14 Follow-Up Email Template Samples & Mistakes to Avoid
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Writing the perfect follow-up email that ensures a response can be difficult. After all, you may have effectively introduced yourself in a previous email, but now feel it is time to politely ask for a reply.
It’s also important to remember that people do not usually respond to emails immediately. On one hand, we can all be reached more easily and respond anywhere – but on the other hand, we are still humans who have differing attention spans and concerns.
Maybe your recipient saw your email but hasn’t had time to respond. Maybe they were out of the office. Or maybe your email simply got lost in transit.
Whatever the reason, a follow-up email is the perfect way to get yourself back on a recipient’s radar and have them respond to you. That’s why you must feel comfortable sending follow-up emails whatever the circumstances.
5 Follow-Up Email Mistakes
Before we present our proven follow-up email templates, here are five mistakes that many people make when writing their follow-up emails and why you should actively avoid them.
1. Using buzzwords in the subject line
As with any email, the subject line is one of the most critical elements. However, using buzzwords are a sure-fire way to annoy a recipient. Terms like “touching base”, “game changer", and “Let’s get our ducks in a row” are all meaningless in the context of email.
Instead, use conversational language when writing your follow-up email. Otherwise you’ll come across as robotic, using terms that sound clever but don’t tell people what it is you want them to do.
2. Providing no context to the email
Your follow-up email essentially needs to jog a recipient’s memory. Even if they don’t remember the first email you sent, you’ll get a more positive response if they’re reminded that you’ve been in contact with them before. However, if you don’t say why you’re emailing them, there’s no reason for them to take any action.
That’s why your follow-up email needs to provide additional value compared to the first message. Show the recipient what you can do for them and how you can solve a problem they might have. Or simply add more information about what you’re offering so they can make an informed choice.
3. Offering no call-to-action
If you don’t tell the recipient what you want them to do in your follow-up email, it shouldn’t surprise you when they don’t do it.
People don’t have time to work out what it is you might want. They need to know exactly what you do want. If you want them to call you back, say so clearly. If you want them to book a meeting with you, tell them explicitly.
4. Waiting too long to send your email
Sending a follow-up email two weeks after your first message will have minimal impact. The recipient will probably have forgotten your first email and what was asked of them. As a general rule, two or three days is the perfect amount of time to wait before sending your first follow-up email.
Any further emails you send should then have an increased wait period so that you don’t bombard the recipient. So, send a second follow-up email after five days, a third after seven days, and so on.
5. Using funny images
Now this can be very subjective. There are many that think adding memes and GIFs to emails are great. However, we would argue that corporate email should always maintain a level of formality even when sending a follow-up message.
Sending an animated GIF to a recipient might amuse you but could backfire spectacularly and really offend someone. You can’t gauge over email what someone does or doesn’t find funny.
Instead, keep your follow-up email polite and friendly in tone without relying on gimmicks. After all, how many emails really require the use of such images?
14 Follow-Up Email Template Samples
Below are 14 follow-up email samples you can use for various occasions. Feel free to copy and paste this content for any stage of your personalized email outreach. They are designed to increase your response rates no matter how well you know the recipient.
1. The simple check-in email
This follow-up email template assumes that the recipient read your previous email but hasn’t had a chance to get back to you yet. This gentle reminder lets them know that you’re here to help if they have any questions, which is more likely to elicit a response.
2. Following up after a meeting with next steps
When it comes to any meeting, it’s helpful to summarize everything you’ve discussed in a follow-up email to all participants. This provides everyone with a clear overview of the main discussion points, the benefits of choosing your company (if the meeting was a sales pitch), and the next steps that have been agreed upon.
3. Requesting for action to be taken
There’s a fine line between reminding someone that they need to do something and pestering them. A follow-up email of this nature should be as brief as possible. You simply want to ask if they looked at the thing you sent them and if they have any questions about it.
4. Asking for the right contact
Sometimes you email someone, and then find out they’re not the right person to talk to. When sending this type of follow-up email, it’s important to let the recipient know who it is that referred you to them and what you can do for their company. CC the colleague you originally emailed but focus primarily on the value you that you can provide.
You can add further credibility by adding links to your social media profiles and corporate website via your email signature. This gives the recipient an easy way to learn more about what your company offers.
5. Having left a voicemail
When you can’t reach someone over the phone, sending a follow-up email is the perfect way to get a recipient to notice your message. You should send this email right after leaving a voicemail, making the copy as brief as possible.
6. Following up a product demo
Now, these are people that have shown a serious interest in what your company offers. They have also invested their time to learn more about what your product or service can do for their organization. So why send a follow-up email?
Until the prospect has purchased, there is still a risk they might forget about what you offer or lose interest. Your follow-up message should give a brief account of what happened in the demo as well as outline the next course of action. You can also address any concerns the prospect might have and gently nudge them further along the sales cycle.
7. Chasing an unpaid invoice or late payment
Chasing an overdue payment is never easy. That’s why the follow-up email you send should be brief but direct.
Never use confrontational or dramatic language. If you frame the email as more of a casual enquiry, you’re less likely to make the recipient feel harassed.
8. The follow-up email after no response
You will always encounter people that don’t respond to your emails. So, rather than just sending the same email again, give additional value to the recipient.
You could offer more information on what your company does or provide some product resources. At the same time, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to answer you, so a strong call-to-action is critical.
9. The job interview follow-up
When interviewing for a job role, sending a thoughtful follow-up thank you email can make you stand out in a crowded market. The email should show the hiring manager your enthusiasm for the position, showcase your skills, and directly refer back to conversation points that were discussed during the interview.
The follow-up email template below will often be appropriate for most interviews. However, if there is something you forgot to mention or want to elaborate on, this is the perfect place to do so.
10. Following up after an event
Events such as trade shows and exhibitions are great places to find people who are interested in your product/service. However, after the event has taken place, it’s common for attendees to forget who they spoke to.
To ensure this potential lead does not get lost, send a timely sales follow-up email to get their attention while the event is still fresh in their memory.
11. Following up at a later date
There are many reasons why someone might ask you to contact them back at a later date. It might not be the right time in their purchase cycle, they might not have a need for what you offer, or your product might not have a feature they need.
This follow-up email sample provides a reminder of what was discussed previously, offers them new content, and asks to set up a time to talk further.
12. The breakup email
If a contact goes completely silent over email, there is only so much you can do before you start harassing them. That’s where the breakup email comes into play.
Now using this type of follow-up email template doesn’t necessarily mean you’re giving up on a recipient. In fact, a good breakup email can be highly effective in reigniting a conversation. It refreshes a recipient's memory by telling them that you have contacted them a few times, you haven’t been able to get a response, and this will be the last email they will receive from you.
The wording is deliberately designed to provoke a response from the recipient. You can then either confirm that there is no need to communicate with them again or that they’re still interested but have just been busy.
Writing a good follow-up email that prompts a response is not easy. We all have busy inboxes and many priorities to deal with. At the same time, you don’t want to bombard recipients with constant messages to the point where you become an annoyance.
Using the follow-up email templates presented here is easier than writing your own messages from scratch. The important points to remember are that a follow-up email should be brief, provide added value to the recipient, and offer a strong call-to-action. By following these guidelines, you’ll quickly be able to initiate conversations with your prospects and customers over email.