How to Write Follow-Up Emails (13+ Templates & Examples)
Even the best cold email campaigns rarely get higher than a 40 percent reply rate. So, how do we reach the other 60+ percent of prospects? We follow up.
I’ve said it for years—you have to send as many follow-up emails as necessary until you get a response. It doesn’t matter what response you get, you follow up until you get one.
If you’re struggling to know what to say in your follow-up emails or seeing really low reply rates, I’ve got you covered. With more than two decades of experience writing (and receiving) follow-up emails of all shapes and sizes, I know what makes a great follow-up email.
And today, I’m going to show you exactly how to write follow-up emails that don’t just get opened, they get responses. You’ll also get 13 highly effective follow-up email templates for different scenarios, but first, let’s talk about how to make your so-so follow-up emails truly great.
How to Write Follow-Up Emails: The Close Follow-up Formula
When you think of becoming a great salesperson, most folks think it’s all about talking. I’d argue that the best salespeople know how to build connections—which is exactly what a great follow-up email does. I literally wrote the book on follow-ups (which I highly recommend reading), but I’m going to break down our formula in a few easy steps:
- Send the first email: You can’t follow up until after you’ve reached out! If it's a cold campaign, grab one of our cold email templates or use our cold email generator to get a solid first draft and make it your own. But you can (and should) follow up on any email you want a response to.
- One day later, at a different time of the day: Send 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. Don’t write something completely different or include attachments. Just recap your points in more detail. We’ve got these exact templates for you here, below.
- Two days after your second email: Send Follow-up #2:
Don’t explain anything. Just restate your call to action. You can ask your prospect to introduce you to the right person in their organization, schedule a call, or respond to your email—whatever your CTA was in the initial cold email, use that. For example, “Hey, when would be a good time to discuss this? How about Tuesday or Wednesday at 10 a.m. Pacific?”
- Four to five days after your third email: Send Follow-up #3.
The break-up email. This is the “last email” where you say goodbye to a cold prospect while betting on their loss aversion, a psychological principle that describes the tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.
To make things even easier, turn these emails into automated workflows that are triggered at the appropriate time. Email sequences in Close also have detailed reporting metrics, which help guide further iteration of your entire sales process.
How Often Should You Send a Follow-Up Email?
The best follow-up frequency allows you to be persistent without being annoying. This is especially important when engaging with decision-makers. My philosophy when dealing with warm leads, is to keep following up until you get a response.
Incorporate our follow-up email frequency system into your workflow:
- Day 1: First contact
- + 2 days: Follow up
- + 7 days: Follow up
- + 7 days: Follow up
- + 14 days: Follow up
- + 30 days: Follow up
- Still no response? Going forward, follow up once a month
If you’re mixing emails and phone calls in your follow-up strategy, it might look something like this:
The follow-up emails themselves don’t need to be complicated—in fact, simple is almost always more effective. Keep them straightforward and relevant, experiment with different email subject lines and email openers. If you're struggling to come up with great subject lines, give our email subject line generator tool a spin—it's totally free and will help you craft the perfect follow-up email subject line.
13 Best Follow-Up Email Templates & Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates
Cold email outreach is a big part of modern sales, and we’ve covered it fairly extensively. But knowing what to write (and what email subject line to use!) can be challenging. With that in mind, I want to share 13 of the best email follow-up templates we’ve used to close more sales.
Choose the follow-up email template that fits your specific needs, then spend a little time adjusting it to make it personal.
1. Cold Outreach Follow Up Email Template
Subject Line: "Trying to connect"
When to use this follow-up template:
Cold emails are effective, but you won’t always get a reply to your first message. Maybe they’re busy, out of office, or just got distracted when reading your message.
Use this quick and fast email template to pop your name back up to the top of your prospect’s inbox and touch base. The key here is to keep it short and sweet.
2. The Quick Check-In Follow-Up Email Template
Subject line: Time to chat?
When to use this follow-up template:
Even if you come in with a killer offer, there’s a good chance most prospects won’t reply on the first try. Use this template when you’re pretty sure you have the right contact, but the prospect didn’t reply to your previous email. There’s no need to make this complicated; just check in and make contact one more time.
3. The Direct P.S. Follow-Up Email
Follow-up subject line: Quick call?
When to use the P.S. follow-up email:
They know you’re selling. You know you’re selling. There’s no need to pretend your email is about anything else. However, including a genuinely interesting article, case study, or relevant resource gives your prospect a reason to pause and click on a link. Once they’ve read it, they might just come back and send you their thoughts, especially if it’s personalized for them.
4. Follow Up With a Social Media Connection
Follow-up email subject line: Our conversation on [social media platform]
When to use the social media follow-up:
If you’re using an omnichannel outreach approach, there’s a good chance you’ve started talking with prospects on channels like LinkedIn and moved the conversation over to email or met. If the person was responsive on social but less so in email, you may need to follow up. Give a quick reminder of where you met (say a networking event or another platform) and what you discussed so you can continue your conversation.
5. Inbound Lead Follow-Up Email
Subject lines to A/B test:
- 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]?
When to use the inbound lead follow-up template:
Inbound leads may download a piece of content, request a quote or demo, or in some other way indicate their interest in your product. At this point, the ball is in your court: How will you engage and push them toward a close?
This template is quick but reminds potential customers who you are and what value you offer. Use it when prospects have engaged with you to move them down the funnel. I suggest setting a trigger event in your CRM or email marketing platform to send this out automatically.
6. No Response Follow-Up Email Template
Subject Line: Hey [First Name], what’s my next step?
When to use the no-response follow-up template:
If someone doesn’t reply to your first (or second) follow-up email, they may need a stronger approach. Encourage them to respond with a gentle reminder about the value of the product—but don't be pushy.
You could also add social proof or testimonials to your email to boost trust and motivate them to reply.
7. Missed Call Follow-Up Template
Subject line: Sorry I missed you!
When to use the missed call follow-up template:
You’ve hooked a prospect and even got them to schedule a call—but then they no-show. It's frustrating, but it's also just part of the sales game. Use this no-nonsense template to let them know you’re still here for them and happy to meet at a better time.
8. Check In Before Next Meeting Email Template
Subject Line: Recap of [Date] [Call/meeting/discussion]
When to use the check-in follow-up email template
This email template is ideal when you’ve already had one meeting, and you have another one on the books. The purpose of this email is two-fold: you want to "check in" with your prospect and remind them of your discussion and your next scheduled meeting.
9. Free Trial Follow-Up Template
Subject line: How’s it going?
When to use the free trial follow-up:
If you’re in SaaS like us, you know free trial follow-ups are crucial. Following up with free trials helps engage new prospects and shows them you care. Offering resources like guides or case studies helps users make the most of your product. I highly recommend scheduling an automated version of this email for all trial sign-ups.
10. Follow Up Email After Meeting a New Customer
Subject line: Here are the resources we discussed
When to use this follow-up template:
Use this template when you’ve already sealed the deal with a new customer. Simply share the promised resources and ask for whatever assets you need to keep the process moving forward.
11. Follow-Up Email After a Voicemail
Subject Line: Sorry I missed you
When to use the voicemail follow-up template:
Leaving a great sales voicemail can be a really effective way to help prospects remember you. If you don’t hear back after the voicemail, however, you might want to follow up by email.
Word to the wise: don’t send your first follow-up email too quickly. Rather, give them some time to reply to you. I suggest sending a follow-up email four to six working hours after you’ve left a voicemail.
12. Follow up on an Expired Trial Template
Subject line: Just for you - extend your FREE trial
When to use the expired trial follow-up email template:
If you’re in SaaS, following up on expired trials is one of the easiest ways to close more deals. Seriously. Take advantage of the relationship you’ve built and use this template to follow up with prospects who tried your product but didn’t convert. Share additional information about why your product is worth the offer.
13. The Personal Touch Follow-Up After a Pain Point Objection
Follow-Up Email Subject line: Re: [Last email subject line]
When to use the objection follow-up message:
Remember earlier when I said sales is all about relationships? This template leans on that personal relationship to move a prospect through the sales funnel. Use this follow-up template when the prospect offers a specific objection or time frame they’re waiting on and find out if they’re ready to move forward.
4 Real Sales Follow-Up Email Examples to Learn From
So you’ve got 13 tried-and-true follow-up templates that will help you increase your response rate—and close more deals. Now, I want to show you what great follow-up emails look like in action. Take a peep at these sales follow-up email examples:
1. Free Trial Follow-Up Email Example: Groove
Many SaaS businesses offer a free trial to get interested users to use their products actively. Once you get the signup, you still have to turn those free trial users into premium customers—which is where the follow-up comes into play.
An example of this in action comes from Groove, a simple help desk software platform. Groove starts with a welcome email focused on making a connection with the product and then sends follow-up sequences based on user behavior.
Once the sequence is over, Groove sends out a “win them back” email to users who don’t sign up for a trial:
The goal of this email is to get users back at a better time when they can understand better how the product benefits them.
2. Follow Up After a Call With Gift: Postal.Io
This thank-you email was sent after a call with Postal, a marketing company that helps go-to-market teams send gifts to partners and customers. In addition to mentioning their call with another team member, their sales follow-up email also included an offer for a branded gift.
This follow-up email does two things—it reminds the prospect of the call and gives them a taste of what the company offers in the form of a free gift. If you’re in SaaS, you might offer a free trial, company swag, or even a gift card to buy lunch. The goal is to encourage the prospect to get excited about your offer.
3. Follow Up After a Missed Phone Call: Close
This polite follow-up email is one our sales team uses to check in with prospects who schedule a call but miss it. It's short and sweet but keeps it professional and positive. No blame, just a quick line and a link to schedule a call at a better time.
There’s no need to overthink it! Let the email recipient know you’re happy to meet at a different time.
4. Follow Up With a Prospect That’s Not Ready to Convert: Crowdspring
What do you do when your offering isn’t quite the right fit or the prospect isn't ready to convert? This follow-up email example from Jason at Crowdspring shows how to find other ways to turn a prospect into a customer or just a contact. When Ryan wasn’t quite ready to jump on the first offer, Jason came back with alternative ways they could work together.
He’s not pushy or trying to turn a no into a yes. Instead, he suggests a few other ways they could work together and hones in on the value he can deliver. <chef’s kiss>
Close's AI Email Writer offers a solution for crafting these follow-ups. With its ability to generate personalized and contextually relevant email content, this tool can significantly enhance your follow-up strategy.
Follow-Up Emails Close More Deals. Period.
The biggest mistake folks make with follow-up emails is overthinking it. My advice for improving your follow-up game is: keep it short, keep it sweet, and always follow up until you get a no. Also, use automation to schedule follow-up emails and trigger them on the right day.
To recap, remember your follow-up sequence: After the first email, send follow-ups on:
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 7
- Day 14
- Day 28
- Day 58
Whether sending your first or last email, centralizing customer communication and automating the follow-up from within your CRM will boost productivity. Check out this 14-day free trial of Close.