The money is in the follow ups.
You’ve likely heard this advice often and in every context. I didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself after my fellow freelancers persuaded me to send them. My recent follow up emails have helped me get retainer clients, land five figure projects, and build valuable relationships.
So, instead of filing away that beautifully detailed message under “no response”, revive it with a follow up email.
Your first email needs to have a thoughtful introduction, details, and a sign-off. The follow up? Not so much. You can follow up with the simplest of ideas, short videos, and even single-line questions.
How many follow-up emails are enough?
I send 3-4 follow-ups distributed equally over a timeline of 4, 14, 18, and 25 days from the date of the original email. It gives them enough time to assess, re-read, research, and decide.
What should you say in a follow-up email?
Check the done-for-you templates for some inspiration.
The recipe for an irresistible follow-up email is simple:
- Personalize: Always.
- Don’t send annoying questions: “Can you give me an update?”, “Can I get a response?”, “Did you receive my last email?” are all big nos. Short emails that don’t provide value only serve to annoy your readers.
- Include a Call-to-Action [CTA] in the end. CTA’s eliminate decision fatigue. Even if it’s a three-word “View my portfolio” button, you’ll subtly guide the reader to the next step.
Want more details?
Read this guide to learn about:
- Types of follow-up emails
- 7 Examples of follow-up emails
- Wordtune analysis
Types of Follow-up emails
On average, a person receives 126 emails each day—conveniently burying your cold pitch or job application. Cold pitches [unless exceptionally timed] are always second to work emails, and follow-ups remind prospects to get back to you.
Here are the different types of emails that need a follow-up after no response:
- Post cold pitch
- After sending a resource [free guides, paid guides, etc.]
- Invoice reminders
- Follow-ups after demos/workshops
- Follow up after a proposal email
- Guest post pitch follow-ups
- The conversation revival follow up
- Follow-ups to initiate action on newsletters
Pro tip: Never write a break-up email for service pitches. Keep the conversation open. I received a response from a lead after three months of follow-up, so don’t cut ties.
Examples of follow-up emails after no response
Before sending: Schedule a follow-up email with the primary email, so it goes through even when you forget.
Post Cold Pitches
A person can easily ice out a cold pitch if it lacks oomph. There are a few reasons why a prospect might not respond:
- Lengthy email
- Excessive self-talk
- No incentive to reply
- Unsubstantiated claims
When following up, you can avoid all of these roadblocks with a well-structured email.
Here are 3 things to always do:
- Let them know it’s a follow-up in the subject line.
- Give at least one reason why you’re contacting them again so they won’t have to search for the original email.
- Sign off with a question; it gives them a reason to respond.
Pro Tip: When you run out of creative juice, use WordTune to create snappy intros. I used it for my introduction and subject lines and have used these in multiple follow up emails
Haven’t heard back from a lead yet? Use this done for you template.
Subject: Sending this again because
Hey [First name]
Here’s an overview of my last one that you possibly missed.
I’m a [your profession] with [Years] experience in the industry and worked with brands like [Mention notable achievements].
I saw/read/heard your recent [project you found interesting] and loved [mention something you particularly liked].
I see you’re looking for some [role/opportunity], would love to pitch/apply [some ideas/to the role]. Can you tell me the eligibility criteria?
Here are some samples for your reference:
If yes, can we schedule a call this week or the next?
After Sending A Free Resource
Free resource emails are for: promotions, reviews, pilot tests, and nudging the customer to buy a paid resource/product from you. But people forget to reply after enjoying their freebie. That’s because:
- They were interested in a cost-free perusal
- You didn’t use a strong CTA
- Reading the email made them slothful
Remember, free resources are about building a relationship by providing value. So ensure your resources do that and are targeted to the right customer before sending the follow-up.
If you still don’t get a reply, use this template:
- Don’t add “Freebie” or “Free” in the subject line.
[“Free” often triggers a spam filter]
- The resource's name jogs the reader's memory, so use it in your subject line.
- A CTA builds trust.
[Hubspot tested 330,000 CTAs in 6 months /frame; personalized CTA converted 202% more. For example: If the person often visits clothing websites, send them a personalized gift card instead of a generic discount.
This email uses the first-person singular pronoun ‘I’ instead of the first-person plural pronoun “We.” You can easily avoid this mistake by using Wordtune’s editor.
Send multiple follow-up emails without having to draft each one manually. Use this template:
Subject: Did you like the [name of freebie]?
Hi [First name],
I see you signed up for our [name of the resource] on [date and time].
Did you see our [the reason for follow up] with [offer/incentive] in the same email? If not, we’re leaving this here again because we don’t want you to miss out.
[Include the offer link/button/code]
If you love our product, just respond with a number:
- I’d use it again/refer to a friend :]
- Can be improved [leave your suggestion] :|
- Needs to be created from scratch again :[
What’s your favorite feature of our [resource/tool/software]?
Reminders for invoice payment can be awkward. You don’t want to sound pushy but it’s a necessary next step to get your due. After a buffer period of 14-30 days, send this email.
The key here is to be straightforward and polite.
- Mention the invoice number. The user won’t have to manually look for the invoice— making it easier to pay you.
- Keep it succinct.
- Mention the due date so they take accountability for late fees if they fail to honor the date.
Again, Wordtune helps me pick the right wording for my level of urgency.
In the first follow up I’d say “I haven’t received the payment” but if it were a second or third reminder I’d say “I still haven’t received my payment.”
Invoice follow-ups can be the same for each client because you’re just reminding them unless there’s some mistake or change in the invoice, just copy/paste this template with the correct date and invoice number.
Subject Line: Regarding invoice [Invoice number]
Hi [First name],
I hope you’re doing great! I’m writing to follow up on the invoice [Invoice number] that I emailed on [date]. I haven’t received the payment, so I just wanted to ensure you received the last email.
As a gentle reminder, payment is due on [date]. I’ve reattached the invoice in case you need it.
Thank you, and have a great week!
Follow-ups After Demos/Workshops
You’ve given a demo, run through of your service and it’s benefits to your lead, but, project confirmation is still pending. If they agreed to a demo, they’re in the preliminary buying stage, a follow-up email will help solidify your chances of a new client.
With a demo follow-up email, you can help them:
- Realize you understand their needs and have a tailored approach to their pain points
- Explain how your solution works
- Address any apprehensions they have
Demos are the game of observation and articulation because you teach customers how to use your product. If they’re not buying with the first demo, you need to reassess their pain points.
- Ask if they got the chance to try your product.
- Offer a time-bound discount
- Ask if they have questions
Pro tip: Attach the demo video to this email.
Here’s a template to use when you have a short window but many customers.
Subject Line: Did you like the product?
Hey [First name],
Just bumping this up. Did you get the chance to try out the premium features of our product and buy the full version?
If not, now is the best time because we’re providing X% off on each purchase today.
Here is the code: [Insert the link or the code]
I would love to hop on a call and help you adapt to the product. We’ve also [mention some new features or fixes].
Anything else I can help you with?
Follow-ups after a proposal
After sending a proposal, use a follow-up to add more reasons you might’ve missed in the last session.
While the basic features of your proposal will be ubiquitous to all users, use personalized statements to motivate them to buy.
A study on consumer behavior by Dr. Robert Cialdini, a Professor of Psychology, examined the effect of two simple donation requests.
- "Would you be willing to help by giving a donation?"
- "Would you be willing to help by giving a donation? Every penny will help.
The first one got only a 28% response, while the 2nd statement with a perimeter was 50% effective.
Setting a perimeter is essential. While the first option may intimidate them because of “How much donation is needed,” the 2nd option helps them know they can help even with a little. That's an action-triggering factor.
Let’s use this in our email.
- Create a sense of urgency in the subject line.
- Mention the next follow-up window, and give them plenty of time to think. No one wants to rush into a decision.
Make your emails concise with Word Tune. Use the ‘Shorten’ feature to reduce the length of sentences. In this example, it has cut down a 13-word sentence to just nine words, making it more scan-friendly.
Take more time on personalization by using this done-for-you template:
Subject Line: [Add urgency by mentioning limited offer or closing dates]
Hi [First name],
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on [date]. I'm really excited about the opportunity to help you grow your business and collaborate to meet your [organizational goal] goals.
As promised, I have attached [helpful information].
You can even [a minimal buying parameter]
If any questions arise while reviewing the data, don't hesitate to reach out. I'll circle back [time between subsequent follow-ups and this one] if I don't hear anything.
Do you have any other questions?
Special use-case: guest post pitch follow-ups
Editors of magazines get hundreds of guest posting emails every day. You should well-research the audience, niche, current trends, and brand tone before you follow up. Saying “Your readers will really benefit from my idea” is not enough. Outline why their magazine/website needs your guest post and how the topic will fare among the competitors/
Editors are testy because they deal with guest pitches all day, and hardly any of them stand out.
Pro tip: If you only pitched one idea in the original email, make it a point to provide atleast 3 topics in follow up. So, if the editor rejects one idea, he can consider others. Moreover, the editors also add other topics to the”pull-list” for future blog post ideas.
- Mention the niche/topic in the subject line.
- Add 3-4 reasons why they should allow you to contribute.
- Provide topic/title alternatives.
- Ask for other suggestions in sign-off to let them know you’re open to more ideas.
Make the pitch more appealing by adding transitions with WordTune. It gives you multiple alternatives to use for different guest pitches.
Here’s a done-for-you template to swoon your dream blog’s editor:
Subject Line: [Topic/niche] blog post pitch
I know you receive an astronomical amount of pitches daily, but your blog and readers need this post!
- Your readers have often left a comment about [mention a pain point their readers often highlight in comments].
- Your competitors are ranking for this keyword. Here is a link [link]. And by sourcing industry expert quotes, I can provide a fresh perspective on this topic.
- I’ve been an avid reader of your blog and know you only like researched, stat-loaded, and backed-up claims, all of which you can find in my samples.
[Attach samples here]
Here are the three topics alternatives that I propose
- Option one
- Option two
- Option three
Have other topic suggestions? I’m happy to research and write about them too. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Conversation revival follow-ups
Maintaining relationships over social media can be tricky because people interact with hundreds over email, DMs, comments, replies, and more. To stand out, follow-ups with witty banter or quips about their recent work can revive conversations you’ve previously started.
Before sending this kind of email, make sure that:
- You’re sending it during lunch or after work hours, convos are not a part of the business chat, and people are likely to ignore your messages.
- Personalize [Mention something about their recent work/vacation/ or achievement. It makes them realize the intimate connection between you two as you’re mentioning parts only friends/acquaintances know.
- Mention your last interaction because it helps the recipient recollect how and why they know you.
- The subject line should be interesting enough to grab their attention and connect with the recent events in their life. This shows you’ve done your research.
Subject Line: How was your trip to the Bahamas?
Here’s a template for your next conversation starter to keep your relationships alive.
Subject Line: [A news about them]
Hi [First name],
Hope you’re well.
[Mention a common topic of discussion or how their insight helped you.
I saw that you recently [something they did/achieved]. That must have taken tremendous effort! Kudos to you for being able to put all of that together.
What was your favorite part about it?
I have too many questions for an email—let’s catch up soon on a call!
Would love to know what you think about my latest work: [Attach link]
Keep The Convo Alive With Follow-Up Emails
Getting no response from a mail is a bummer because you put your time and effort into it. The strategy is consistency, but also knowing when to stop. If you’ve sent multiple emails and still have no response, you should move on to other prospects.
Use the templates in this guide to remove the monotonous drafting and get straight to the meat of your follow-ups!
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.