8 Best Sales Follow-Up Email Templates (and Examples) to Use in 2023
For all the advances in technology we’ve witnessed over the last two decades, the business world still runs on email.
Thousands of case studies have proven that email is still one of the best sales methods to use in 2022. Believe it or not, email wins across virtually every metric:
Top Sales Email Statistics
- Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social.
- Cold email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
- Email subscribers are 3 times more likely to share your content via social media Including LinkedIn) than visitors from other sources.
- 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.
- 4.24% of visitors from email marketing buy something as compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media.
But like with anything worth doing, effective email marketing requires some persistence and attention to detail. You need to know when and what to send and you have to take advantage of every opportunity.
Today, we’re going to be looking at how to write follow-up emails that boost open rates, response rates as well as conversions.
We’ll be providing you with follow-up email templates for different scenarios (just look at the table of contents on the right and click on whichever is most relevant for you).
Top Sales Follow-Up Email Templates
As we explore the follow-up email examples below, remember to tailor each template to suit your brand and messaging.
Personalize each email and avoid coming across as cold.
Cold Follow-Up Email
Cold email outreach is a big part of modern sales, and we’ve covered it fairly extensively on the Close blog.
Before we can get to the follow-up email, it’s important that our initial email is strong, so we wanted to start by sharing a tried and tested cold sales email template with you.
Here is an example of an email follow-up email from Apple. The scenario behind this email follow-up was that Apple was handling a customer service query around an iTunes store and they had already sent a previous email making contact and requesting information.
Throughout this process, they were able to offer a personal and warm approach in their email messaging.
After the initial email in which additional information and documents were exchanged, Apple sent out the following customer follow-up email.
Even the best cold emails rarely hit a 40% response rate, so how do we reach the other 60+%?
Warm Follow-Up Email
With cold email outreach, there’s a timeline. If you follow our formula, it’s 1, 2, 3, 4, done.
You spend a week on a prospect and move on.
With warm leads, it’s a different story. There is no timeline. You continue following up until you get a yes or a hard no.
Our very own Steli Efti says it best:
“I have a simple philosophy: After my original email, I follow-up as many times as necessary until I get a response. I don’t care what the response is as long as I get one.
If someone tells me they need another 14 days to get back to me, I will put that in my calendar and ping them again in 14 day
If they tell me they are busy and they don’t have time right now, I will respond and ask them when they feel like a good time would be for me ping them.
The key here is to actually keep following up. If someone tells me they are not interested—I leave them alone.
But here is the kicker—if they don’t respond at all, I will keep sending follow-up messages until they do. And trust me, they always do. :)”
As long as the person you're communicating with doesn't ask you to stop, you can keep remain at the top of your potential customer’s minds and be the one they turn to when they're ready for your service.
With warm leads, you want to be persistent without being annoying, especially when engaging with decision-makers.
Also focus one ending your emails with a CTA that requires a response from your prospect.
Keep it simple and highly relevant and incorporate our frequency system in your workflow:
- Day 1: First follow-up (+2)
- Day 3: Follow-up (+4)
- Day 7: Follow-up (+7)
- Day 14: Follow-up (+14)
- Day 28: Follow-up (+30)
- Day 58: Follow-up (+30)
… (from there on once a month).
In Close CRM, salespeople can easily set up simple follow-up reminders:
The follow-up emails themselves don’t need to be complicated. Just keep them simple and relevant and experiment with different email subject lines.
Warm Follow-Up Email Example #1
Warm Follow-Up Email Example #2
Warm Follow-Up Email Example #3
Free Trial Follow-Up Email
The SaaS business model is a bit different than most other business models. Rather than pursuing a one-time sale, your goal is to get users signed up for an ongoing subscription to your software.
Many SaaS businesses offer a free trial to get interested users on their platform and actively using their product. This entails many of the same challenges as selling the product outright and closing deals, but even when you get the signup, you still have to turn those free trial users into premium customers.
Doing this well requires you to hit a number of key objectives:
- Get the user into the app
- Get the user to have an “aha moment”
- Get the user to sign up for the paid plan (or refrain from canceling)
Hitting all three of these objectives is not easy to do within a brief free trial window, but it’s essential if you want to maximize your free trial conversion rate.
A great example of this in action comes from Groove, a simple help desk software platform. Groove’s follow-up sequence starts with a welcome email focused on making a connection with the user rather than diving right into the product.
This initial email has also ended up being a significant source of feedback for Groove, which they’ve used to improve the product, the website, marketing campaigns, and the onboarding experience itself.
From that point forward, Groove sends emails based on user behavior. For example, users who have taken the step to create a mailbox on the platform get this email:
While users who haven’t reached that stage would get this email:
Groove’s follow-up sequence is composed of six core emails sent out over 14 days. With the above customization, they end up sending 22 different messages. Adding this type of customization improved Groove’s trial-to-customer conversion rate by 10%.
Once the sequence is over, Groove sends out a “win them back” email. Some users opt in for a trial and then it just doesn’t end up being a good time for them to try out a new platform. The goal of this email is to get those users back at a better time where they can actually try out the software.
Follow Up Email For Lead Magnet Opt-Ins
A lead magnet is simply something of value given away in exchange for a website visitor's email address. This is all geared at guiding your prospect to engage with your product/service and push conversion, however, this requires lead nurturing to achieve this.
They go by many different names: content upgrade, opt-in bribe, gated content, etc., and often come in the form of free checklists, ebooks, reports, or whitepapers.
Lead magnets tend to be educational in nature, and accordingly, the follow-up should nearly always be educational in nature.
For businesses with big-ticket items to sell and a consistent content marketing strategy, there is really no need to use email marketing for direct sales as part of their normal follow-up.
These businesses will often use the email list primarily as an audience-building asset, allowing them to send 30-40% of their list to new content any time they want.
Popular marketers like Pat Flynn, Brian Dean, and Sujan Patel use this strategy to keep their business on readers’ minds and to drive consistent traffic back to their websites. They will then run dedicated product launches to their email lists 2-4 times a year.
So essentially, their follow-up model looks like this depiction of Pat Flynn’s autoresponder sequence:
With this model, the bulk of your follow-up strategy is delivering educational content - tips, tricks, how-to’s, guides, case studies, resources - and then every few emails, you attempt to directly engage subscribers by getting them to actually reply to your email.
And as you can see from my inbox, guys like Sujan Patel consistently send out emails focused on education and marketing training, as opposed to attempted sales.
When’s it time to launch a new product, they do a specific, limited-time launch sequence, like this example from Brian Dean:
And then they go back immediately to providing free content and training.
With this content and engagement-focused strategy, you can keep your list open and click-through rates incredibly high, allowing you to send large amounts of eyeballs wherever you please.
Sujan Patel maintains a 35% open rate and 18% click-through rate, well above the 25% open rate industry average for this niche.
When you get this level of engagement with your emails, your sales team’s lists become a true promotional asset, and with high-ticket products to periodically sell, you really don’t even have to sacrifice direct revenue.
At Close, we follow this model, sending our best new sales content out to our marketing leads once a week. We also send out a special offer to sign up for a free trial once per month.
If you’re curious about how your own open and click-through rates stack up against your industry, check out our post on sales benchmarks.
Post-Sale Follow-Up Email
It costs 5x more to attract a new customer versus keeping an existing one. The sale is just the beginning of the story, especially if you are running a SaaS business or offering some other type of recurring product or service.
What you do after the sale is just as important as what you do before the sale—and will only gain in importance in the coming years.
Every business model demands a slightly different approach, but we’re going to focus on three highly effective strategies for the purpose of this discussion:
The Onboarding approach is all about getting users to experience an “aha moment” with your product. This terminology was coined during Facebook’s meteoric rise. They determined that their users’ “aha moment” would come when they added 7 friends in 10 days, and they focused all their energy into making that happen, as Chamath Palihapitya explains in this video:
The Education approach is all about educating your audience, establishing your brand as an authority and driving regular re-engagement with your website.
Buffer offers a great example of this in action. The start with a great, personable confirmation email:
And then they follow it up with a rock solid content marketing campaign. And by “rock solid”, I mean this thing is thorough. Look at my inbox. This is from just one and a half months.
The third strategy is all about incentives. It’s about giving the user monetary reasons to come back.
This could look like daily (or twice daily) coupons, as we see from record breaking lingerie retailer Yandy.
Yandy regularly sends out these emails offering a variety of discounts twice per day. The constant offers keep the brand top-of-mind at all times.
It’s important to note that this type of email follow-up strategy fits with Yandy’s branding as a discount fashion retailer and tends to be more effective for ecommerce businesses.
As a B2B business, it’s often best to stay away from discounts—they’re an easy way to make some extra sales in the short-term, but can do more harm to your brand in the long term.
Plus, if you keep hitting people with discount offers, you can be sure that a lot of prospects will insist on discounts once they talk with a sales rep.
Incentives can also look like a loyalty program, like the following example from New England food chain Boloco. The company uses a points-based loyalty program to provide discounts and rewards to members, sending updates via email and app notifications.
Another incentive strategy that toes the line between upselling and incentive is a paid membership like you might see from Costco or Amazon Prime.
The price can act as a value signal, and it also plays on confirmation bias, encouraging members to purchase more from you, so as not to waste the money they spent on membership.
There are, of course, many other strategies. Customer retention is its own topic that deserves your attention, but hopefully these strategies spur some creative ideas for retaining and expanding your customer base.
Follow-Up Email For Giveaway Entrants
As we discussed earlier, lead magnets are a fantastic way to build your email list over time.
But sometimes you want a quick boost. Maybe you have an upcoming product launch, or you are just getting started, and ten new emails per week isn’t good enough.
Giveaways can be another way to quickly collect more emails. Here's a relevant example... ;)
Keep in mind that the quality of these emails will generally be lower, because the primary motivation of the people who sign up is just to get the free thing you're giving away. This is a big reason you want your giveaway item to be something that's relevant to your ideal customer.
Giveaways allow you to place tangible, irresistible value in front of your target audience without breaking the bank. Imagine if you could offer a physical lead magnet that costs $1,000? Who would say no to that? Giveaways basically allow you to use the appeal of a $1,000 lead magnet while only requiring you to pay for it once (or maybe not at all).
There are a lot of places you can go to learn about giveaways, but very few spend much time talking about the aftermath. Once you have 2,000 new subscribers... What then? How do you follow-up with them?
The answers to those questions are insanely important, which is why we are turning to marketer Robbie Richards for an example of how to run a giveaway the right way. On only his first try, Robbie was able to grab 1,171 new email subscribers and turn that into 27 immediate sales.
He selected a SaaS license his audience would love as his giveaway prize and then sent out the following email to his list:
It’s essentially a sales pitch, but you aren’t asking for money. You are giving something away for free.
But that’s pretty straight forward. Let’s get to the follow-up.
Robbie had a 3-pronged strategy for his follow-up campaign pushing the giveaway:
- Reinforce the value
- Incentivize sharing
- Give people a guaranteed way to win
The first two are absolutely essential to running a successful giveaway. You have to have a great prize and be able to sell its value to your audience. And you absolutely need to have incentives in place for sharing.
Let’s look at each one of these elements more closely.
Robbie’s first follow-up email was all about reinforcing the value through a personal narrative.
Let’s break this down into a makeshift template sales professionals can use.
- Describe a problem you faced
- Describe the pain you experienced from that problem
- Share the solution and how the prize played a big role in that solution
- Talk about the benefits of the prize
- Talk about how it feels to have the problem solved
Follow-Up Email To Expert Contributors
One phenomenal way to amplify your content’s quality and reach is to tap into the expertise of other influencers in your niche.
These types of posts are typically referred to as “roundup posts” and they are starting to get a bad rap... with good reason.
Over the last few years, marketers have been butchering this technique with lazy, generic topics that rely on volume to be “noteworthy”, BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t do it the right way.
The key is identifying a topic that would actually be enhanced by expert insight and then getting a small group of legitimate experts to provide meaningful commentary.
A great example comes from marketer Jacob McMillen, who used expert insight to create this guide to A/B testing tools and rank it #1 in Google for the post’s target keyphrase. Jacob shared his outreach emails with us, pictured below.
Notice how he specifies that the recipient is on a short list and will be “featured” in the upcoming post. This frames the outreach uniquely from the standard trope of 100 influencers with one sentence each.
In this example, the recipients already had past connections with the host blog, so it wasn’t cold outreach. If you are attempting this cold, you could specify that you are asking 10 total experts to provide input, that you will be spending $500 on paid advertising, or anything that establishes value to the contributor.
For his follow-up email, Jacob kept it super simple.
Promotional Outreach Follow-Up Email
As more and more marketers are realizing, creating really great content is just the first step in the content marketing equation. You can create the greatest resource on the internet, but if you don’t get it in front of the right people, you won’t see an ROI.
How important is promotion?
Brian Dean, who built his blog Backlinko to over 100k visitors per month, spends 80% of his total content marketing time on promotion. In other words, for every hour he spends writing, he spends 4 hours promoting what he wrote.
There are many, many ways to promote your content, but one of the most effective methods (and the reason we are covering this in today’s article) is direct email outreach.
Sam Oh, previously of Money Journal, offers a great example of this strategy in action:
Notice how Sam’s email is short, to the point, and doesn’t ask me to do anything right off the bat. He asks me if I’d like to see his content when it goes live, and he also offers to lend his own aid if I ever need anything, letting me know he’s not just looking to use me for a quick share.
And while Sam didn’t end up needing to use his follow-up email on me, he reveals the template he uses as part of his 74 Step SEO Checklist.
This exact follow-up template increased Sam’s replies by 23.5% and even began a number of relationships with fellow influencers in his niche. He sends it within one week of the original email.
If this can work in the marketing niche, where people are constantly bombarded by hundreds of emails, it will most likely work in your niche as well.
Psst... Want to see more examples of follow-up sequences from top brands? Check out Sequencer, 47 real sequences from brands like Dropbox, Mixpanel, Zoom, and more.
Bonus Follow-Up Email Examples
Ready for some extra follow-up email examples? Here are a few scenarios your business or sales team will face, plus examples of how to follow up in each case.
Inbound Lead Follow-Up Email
Inbound leads may download a piece of content, request a quote or a demo, or in some other way indicate that they're interested in your product. At this point, the ball is in your court: How will you engage with them and push them toward a close?
Possible Subject Lines
- Your demo request of [Company service]
- [Subject of request] – Important note before you get started
- Following up regarding the [Subject of request]
- Do you need to discuss [Subject of request]?
Follow-Up Example 1:
Follow-Up Example 2:
Follow-Up Email After No Response
If someone doesn’t reply, it could be a case of a lack of awareness or remembrance of your initial email.
Sales reps should use this opportunity to encourage them to respond by reminding them of the value of your product but remember not to be pushy.
You could also add social proof or testimonials to your email in order to boost trust and motivate them to reply.
Possible Subject Lines
- A quick question about [pain point]
- Let me know our next steps
- Next action to take?
- A quick follow-up on [Subject]
- Hey [First Name], what’s my next step?
Follow-Up Example 1:
Follow-Up Example 2:
Follow-Up Email After Meeting With A New Client
Add a personal touch with a follow-up regarding your recent client meeting, networking event or video call.
This will act as a ‘check in’ with your prospect and a reminder of what you discussed, as well as any additional information that you would send them.
Possible Subject Lines:
- Re-cap of [Date] [Call/meeting/discussion]
- Outline of [Meeting name]
- Meeting outline from [Call]
Follow-Up Example 1:
Follow-Up Example 2:
Follow-Up Email After A Voicemail
Sometimes a voicemail may seem a bit annoying, however, it is extremely effective in staying top of mind.
Don’t send a follow-up email too quickly as this may seem desperate, rather give them some time to reply to you.
It’s best to send an email in the afternoon if you have left a voicemail that same morning.
Possible Subject Lines
- Sorry we missed each other
- Just tried your line
- Trying to connect with you
Follow-Up Example 1
Follow-Up Example 2
Follow-Up Email After A Trigger Event
An essential element of your follow-up strategy should be to send emails based on specific events that have transpired with specific prospects.
This is where the advanced capabilities of sales automation come in handy as all email follow-ups (including automation based on events) can be scheduled within your follow-up sequence.
What Are Trigger Events?
Trigger events are automatic actions that could be based on viewing a specific page or product page on your website, downloading a specific file or PDF, or watching a video on your product offering.
The Close Follow-Up Formula
- Send out the first email.
- 1 day later, at a different time of the day: Send out Follow-up 1.
This email should be a modified version of your original email. It should communicate the same message, just in a different format. For example, if your initial email was several paragraphs long, make this follow-up email just two sentences long.
- If your initial cold email was just two sentences long, make this email several paragraphs long. Don’t write something completely different, recap your points but in more detail Don’t add attachments.
- 2 days after your second email: Send out Follow-up 2.
Don’t even explain anything. Just succinctly restate your call to action. You can ask your prospect to introduce you to the right person in their organization, to schedule a call, or to respond to your email—whatever your desired call to action for your initial cold email was.
For example, you could say, “Hey, when would be a good time for you to discuss this on a quick 10-minute call? How about Tuesday or Wednesday at 10 a.m. Pacific?”
- 4 to 5 days after your third email: Send out Follow-up 3.
The break-up email. It’s an email in which you say goodbye to the prospect, betting on their loss aversion, a psychological principle describing people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.
To make things easier, you can turn these emails into a new follow-up Sequence in Close. With email sequences, you can increase engagement with leads and save time writing new emails. Email sequences also have detailed reporting metrics, which will help guide your whole process.
If you want to try this feature today, start your free 14-day trial now.
The success of email marketing is ultimately in the follow up.
We’ve tried to cover every scenario your business will likely face in this article, but in an evolving marketplace, there will always be new opportunities for follow up.
To learn more about effectively following up, get a free copy of our book The Follow-Up Formula.