What is a Follow-Up Email? 9 Steps to Automate Your Follow Up Email Sequence [2022]

Hassan Zahoor
Hassan Zahoor

Last updated on

August 19, 2022

Many marketers believe that if the prospect has not responded to their email, then the person is not interested. This is usually not the case. 

There could be several reasons why the prospect has not engaged, such as that they might be busy, their inbox has been clustered with other emails, or they might have forgotten to reply to your email.

A follow-up email could help you to convince the prospect that they actually need your product/service. 

Follow-up email improves response rates. Iko systems revealed a study that backs the previous statement. The first email had a response rate of 18%, the fourth follow-up email had a response rate of 13%, and the sixth email had a tremendous response rate of 27%! 

However, writing a follow-up email can be quite tricky. But don’t worry. This details guide will help your marketing team structure a perfect follow-up email after no response.

What is a follow-up email?

A follow-up email is sent to a prospect that you have contacted before. The intention of sending a follow-up email is to remind the customer of the previous email, request information or response, or remind them of an important date or time. 

A follow-up email does not have the purpose of initiating a conversation but of generating a professional response. Most effective follow-up emails are brief, sweet, professional, and (most crucially) at the point. 

In a nutshell, a follow-up email is a series of emails sent after a crucial point in the sales funnel to seal the deal.

Why send follow-up emails?

The email you sent can get lost in the cluster of emails an average businessman gets. An average prospect prioritizes emails from their family, friends, clients, and co-workers. 

Example of when to send follow-up emails

Thus, follow-up emails can act as a reminder if the prospect missed or forgot to reply to your email. Furthermore, this follow-up email builds gradual trust and increases conversion rates. Additionally, it can set your company apart from your competitors and help build credibility for your organization. 

Why don't people respond to emails?

Many people just skim through their emails and defer them, which means they leave their emails until they can appropriately address them. Here the prospects either mark or tag the emails or just leave them open to read them at another time. The reason for them doing this could be that the prospect might be busy, or their email inbox is full, or the email got buried in their spam boxes, or they might need more time to think about the email you have sent. 

Furthermore, the emails which are deferred include those which include careful reading or attachments to click on. 

Emails are left ignored depending on the time or effort to address them, the sender's identity, the workload of the context or the reader, and the message's urgency. According to different studies, users spend 28% of their time reading and responding to emails, so our follow-up strategy should be perfect for grasping the prospect's attention immediately. 

When to send a follow-up email?

Before explaining how to write a follow-up email, you should know when to write a follow-up email. 

Generally, a person should ideally wait 2 to 3 days before sending a follow-up email. Your waiting period for further follow-up emails can then be gradually increased, depending on how many follow-up emails you intend to send. This is done so that the prospect is not annoyed with your daily email blasts. 

However, there are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration. For example, you're sending someone an invite for an event which means the response is time sensitive. You might have a deadline, so you may need to send a polite follow-up email quickly. 

Whereas, if you know the prospect professionally and have already dealt with them a couple of times before, you can send a follow-up email in a day or two.

How to write a perfect follow-up email?

There are several follow-up emails, so some of these steps might apply, and others might not. Writing follow-up emails is not difficult if you have carefully derived a strategy.

Step 1: Determine The Objective & Communicate It To Your Prospect

You have chatted with your prospect and exchanged information; now it’s time to send a follow-up email. But before you start structuring your follow-up email, you need to identify your objectives and be specific about your goals. 

 The objectives need to be specific and communicated to the prospect thoroughly through that follow-up email, so there is no confusion later on. As a result, the prospect will understand that you are not wasting their time and might respond to you faster. 

The main goal would be to convert the prospect into a paying customer, which might not happen on the first email. Hence, you will need to carefully structure and think about your next step in the lead nurturing process to bring the lead closer to your sales funnel.

Step 2: Craft A Clever Subject Line

The subject line of your follow-up email has more importance than what is in the text of that email because the reader decides if he wants to open and respond depending on what is in the subject line. 

According to Harvard Business Review research, users reject 47 percent of all emails due to dull subject lines! You cannot risk such a large amount.

The subject line of your emails and then the follow-up email will determine if the prospect opens up the email or not, which can be categorized as success or failure. Furthermore, you need to optimize the words of your follow-up email so that they are not categorized as spam. 

You also need to keep mobile users in mind, so the wording of the subject line should ideally be between 9 words and 60 characters. This is because around 56% of emails are read on a mobile, where the fewer words, the better.

Another significant point to remember is that you should not use the title of your previous email in your follow-up email. There may be a reason why the prospect ignored or missed your last email because they might not have found it important or the title was dull. Hence, your follow-up email could also be ignored with the same title.

Step 3: Provide Prospect With Context – Introductory Line

The opening line of your email is one of the most significant parts of your email. Hence, the email opener should be suitable enough and not dull. Your opening line must awaken the prospect's memory, maybe by diverting their focus to your previously delivered email. Make sure your introductory sentence explains why you're sending a follow-up email.

The email opener could be a formal or informal follow-up.

Examples of the formal introductory lines could be:

  • I would like to follow up on the email I sent you on [Date]
  • I am following up on my previous email request. 

Examples of informal email lines could be: 

  • I wanted to follow up…
  • I’m just following up…

In a formal approach, we assume that you do not know the prospect and are writing to them professionally in a proper context. You might see the person you are writing to in an informal process.

Step 4: Strengthen your value

If an email does not add value to the prospect's life, that person will not bother responding. Your recipients might not respond because your follow-ups lack value for them. You should not send a follow-up email without adding more value in your context than your previous email. 

You should avoid generic or lazy follow-ups where you are simply catching up. It will not add value or another email in the recipient's inbox. If you add value to each interaction or follow-up, the recipient might consider it worth their time to open or respond to your email. 

You can add value to your content by giving them offers that can increase the interaction. These follow-up offers could be a valuable gift, a webinar case, E-books, How-to guide/videos, attractive offers, or discounts. As a result, the follow-up email can appeal more to the recipient. 

Whatever method you use to offer value, ensure it is relevant to them and is perceived as an asset. To open communication channels, you must incentivize your prospects and urge them to reply to your follow-ups.

Step 5: Add a Call-To-Action

You need to make it easy for the recipient to respond to your email; it needs to be actionable. You can add an eye-catching CTA. 

If the CTA is dull, the recipient might not be prompt to take the desired action.

The CTA should not be vague. It should be clear and hard to resist. 

Any ambiguity could lead to confusion for the recipient, who might choose to avoid opening your future follow-up emails. For example, you could write the steps in bullet points so the recipient can identify what you want them to do. 

Step 6: Automate your follow-up sequence

Mailmunch provides an automatic method to assist you in remaining productive by providing an automated follow-up option to help drive your engagement and productivity. 

Sending follow-up emails manually may be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you have to send them to many recipients and then track them to determine which prospect is truly worth focusing on.

Mailmunch can help you create unique follow-up cycles as it has many features, such as a drip campaign sequence that can help you save time and cut costs.

You can start your drip campaign for follow-up emails with just a few steps:

Step 1: 

Go to www.mailmunch.com and then sign in to your account.

Go to Mailmunch.com

 

Step 2: 

Navigate to your Mailmunch menu bar items on the homepage and select Campaigns. Click on the Create New Campaign button present in the top right corner of your screen.

Campaign creation dashboard

Step 3: 

Click on the drip sequence button to start a new drip campaign.

Start a new drip sequence

Step 4: 

Name your campaign and select the list you want it to enter into.

Name your drip campaign

Step 5: 

Select your campaign template from the 1000+ templates. You can choose the template type you want from the category on the left-hand side. It can help you shorten your search for the perfect template for your campaign. You can also preview the template before deciding which one you want to use.

After choosing your template, click on ‘Next’ in the top right-hand corner.

Choose email templates

 

Step 6: 

The next step is of adding content to your template. 

Here you can design your template according to your needs. You can add headings, buttons, columns, text, images, and more.

You just need to click on the feature you want to add and then drag it to the template you want it to be shown.

After you are done designing your template, click on “Next”.

Add content to your template

Step 7: 

In the next step, you must write the subject line - what the follow-up email subject will be about.

Here you can write the preheader text, the sender’s name, and email address.

Write a subject line

Step 8: 

The next step is to schedule the email. 

You can either send the email immediately or you can send it at a specific time. You can choose between minutes, hours, and days. With this feature, you can schedule follow-ups.

Schedule your email

 

Step 9: 

The final step is to review whatever details you have added.

Here you can review the subject line, the email deliverability address, the email address to which all the replies will be sent, and the delivery time. Furthermore, you can also send a test email to see how it looks. 

Then you can click on ‘Activate’ to activate your drip campaign. 

Campaign activation

Best follow-up email subject lines

Some examples for subject lines could be:

  • A special reminder for you to register for XX – This is a polite follow-up email reminder for an event.
  • Be great to hear from you – This is a relaxed and informal approach that you should only use with someone you know.
  • Network event reminder - Another polite follow-up about an event.
  • The next step for Event XYZ - telling the plan before sending your follow-up email would make the recipient feel indulged and satisfied.
  • We forgot to mention…. - this subject in your follow-up email may make the recipient curious.
  • Any questions about the proposal? - a polite way of asking them what they think about the proposal.
  • I would love your feedback! - Asking for feedback in your follow-up email would attract the prospect

4 Mistakes to avoid in follow-up emails:

A writer makes several mistakes when writing a follow-up email, but we will discuss the most common ones. 

4 Mistakes to avid in follow up emails

1. Not including a call to action

Many forget to add a call to action when writing a follow-up email. 

It is a prevalent mistake but can have lasting effects as you might lose a lead because the reader might not know what to do even if they are interested. Instead, the writer should be clear about what they want the reader to do; reply, call, or fill out a form. 

 2. Not following up quickly

Another common mistake is that people usually wait more than ten days to send a follow-up email. Sending late reminders could mean that the reader might have forgotten what the previous email was about and what steps you asked them to take. Instead, you should send a follow-up email after 2-3 days. It ensures the recipients still has the topic fresh in their mind.

3. Hiding key elements in long text

Engaging in a conversation with the prospect is very beneficial, but forgetting your main objective along the way can negatively impact your whole follow-up campaign. 

Thus, the follow-up emails you send should be short and specific. The follow-ups should clarify what you expect the recipient to do. Furthermore, the significant aspects of the email should be bold to ensure that the steps you want the recipient to take are clear and immediately grasps the readers’ attention. As a result, there will be less confusion in the follow-up email and more understanding from both parties. 

Another way to ignore confusion in the follow-ups is to make it easier for the recipient to navigate using bullet points.

4. Not personalizing your emails

Not personalizing the emails can cause the most damage. It is because it can make you sound like a robot, turning away prospects. 

Everyone knows that job title and company name are not categorized as personalizing. It does not make you stand out from the crowd. 

However, incorporating differentiation factors in your follow-ups can show the recipient that you have done your homework. 

Examples of these could be

  • Mention the common interest you two have between yourselves
  • Bring similarities in experience - this could be similar to companies, positions, or employees.
  • Praise or compliment the recipient on a recent accomplishment

Follow-up email samples 

Scenario 1: follow-up email to discuss the next steps

Email subject line: Next steps for Project X

Hi [Name],

It was a pleasure talking about [something they mentioned]. I would love to start discussing and working on [project you are beginning to work on with the prospect] so you can [mention the benefits they want].

Please find attached the document with the information you asked for. The next step we will be taking is [specify the next step in one or two sentences, keeping it brief]. 

Please take a look at the document and let me know if there is anything you would like to ask. Then we can move on to the next step.

Looking forward to working with you,

[Your name]

Scenario 2: follow-up email after sending something that requires a response

Email Subject Line: Form for Project X

Hi [Name],

I hope you are doing well!

I sent you a form last week. Have you had the opportunity to look at it?

Please let me know if there are any questions on your mind or if you want me to send the form to you again.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

Scenario 3: follow-up email asking for feedback

Email Subject Line: I would love your feedback on….

Hi [Name],

I hope you liked our product/service. We would love for you to review our feedback form and provide us with your valuable feedback. We want to ensure that our customers have a positive experience with us, and with your valuable feedback, we can improve our product/service.

Please find attached our feedback form below.

Thanks, 

[Your Name]

Scenario 4: follow-up email after sending an invoice

Email Subject Line: Any questions about the product/service?

Hi [Name]

I hope you are having a great day!

I was wondering if you have had the chance to review the quote i sent you [date you sent the quote] for our product/service? I know you have a busy schedule so let me know if you want me to resend it.

 I would love for you to get started using our product/service as soon as possible so you can [mention the benefits they want].

Feel free to ask any questions you might have about any of the products/services.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Conclusion

Remember that both you and the customer are busy, so keep your follow-ups respectful, concise, and direct so that everyone is on the same page and your product/service can progress. To follow up with your clients, offer them your service or maybe enhance your customer experience, so they don't feel bothered.

Personalize the follow-up email you send and provide a clear subject line and a concise call to action with dates and times.

Furthermore, follow-up emails work as a reminder for the prospect if they miss the email for any reason. It can also build trust and can be another step towards increasing your conversion rates. Lastly, it helps distinguish your firm from the competition and aid in the development of your organization's credibility.

Author Bio

Hassan Zahoor

Highly motivated and driven marketing professional with a passion for digital and content marketing. Hassan is currently working in the capacity of a marketing executive at Mailmunch.

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