Dude, he’s never going to reply,” said Ernest as I walked into his room. 

Who?,” I asked.

Ernest was referring to the marketing agency owner we pitched some days ago.

We badly needed to sign him because our monthly metrics didn’t look great.

But why don’t you follow up? I mean, he already viewed the email 5 times, we just want to confirm he’s interested and we got nothing to lose to be honest,” I said. 

Long story short, he did send that follow-up email and guess what? The guy replied and the rest is history. 

Now, how many times have you thought of someone ghosting and all you needed to do was to send a follow-up email?

Maybe, you never sent it because you didn’t want to be intrusive or you didn’t know when and how often you should follow up. 

Well, in this article, you’ll learn the value of following up on non-response emails and how to do it properly and get the best results. 

Why should you send a follow-up email?

You're probably familiar with the old adage that says "the fortune is in the follow-up". 

The idea behind this adage is that you will never know for sure what a prospect is thinking until they take action or give you a clear answer.

At the same time, prospects may remain silent or not respond to your sales emails for many reasons. 

So, it is much better and more effective for you to rely on statistics than on mere speculation. Here are the things you need to know and the main reasons your prospects aren't replying. 

Your prospects receive a ton of emails

According to the Radicati Email Statistics Report, the average professional receives 126 emails per day. 

It is highly likely that your email will get lost in the shuffle with other emails in the receiver's inbox. And if you don't have a relationship or any prior contact, they may not give your email priority. 

Instead, they may prefer to respond to their colleagues and partners. Responding to your email will thus be a secondary activity which may cause them to simply forget and your email will get lost in the mix. 

Sending them a follow-up email will allow you to remind them to respond or to take the time to consider your offer. But this is not the only reason why you need to send follow-up emails.

You need more than a single email to sell 

No matter how good your email is and how attractive your offer is, it will probably be impossible to convince your prospects to buy your product in one go. 

And it's much more complicated when you target B2B professionals. 

Consider cold calls. There is no chance to get a customer to purchase out of a single call. Regardless of what you sell or the value you provide during the call. 

Case in point, a study by The Brevet Group confirmed that 80% of sales require five follow-up calls to close a client. The same goes for emails.

Statistics show that it takes a sales professional an average 5-7 cold emails before closing a client. Also, according to email marketing statistics by Mailshake, 80% of people will say "no" to your offer before accepting.

And in some cases, you might need to educate prospects and create a product experience before getting them to act.

Without a doubt, providing this much value and dealing with all the objections and "no's" from prospects will require you to send more than a single email. And that's where you'll need follow-up emails. 

How to write a follow-up sales email after no response (5 steps to follow and get a reply)

Here is how you can write an effective follow-up email. 

We will technically be providing you with the anatomy of an excellent follow-up on a sales email and the main elements you need to keep in mind and nail down for success. 

1- Craft a great subject line

Your subject line is one of the first elements the prospect sees when you send your email. Most people base the opening decision on the subject line alone. 

Since your previous email has gone unanswered, you need to rule in the possibility that your previous subject line was unable to stick out in your prospect’s inbox. 

That said, here are a few proven tactics for crafting effective subject lines. 

  • Avoid being too obvious: Being too obvious by using subject lines like “ Quick follow-up”  is not a great idea. You should give them something that makes them want to check out the email by making it interesting.

  • Make it interesting: Will you ask an intriguing question? Will you strike curiosity? Create a sense of urgency? Talk about benefits? Make an allusion to a story? 

  • Personalize it: Emails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened. Make the subject line specific to your prospect and capture their attention.

  • Keep it short: Make the follow up email subject line short. Long subject lines never do well. Keep the device the email recipient use in mind and ensure your subject line does not get cut off for being too long. 

Here are a few examples of subject lines you can use for your follow-up email after no response. 

  • Our next moves, [[first_name[[

  • Here is a useful resource to you

  • You are going to love this

  • Ideas about [[prospect’s goal or problem]]

  • How I helped [[client_name]] achieve XYZ

  • Sending [[XYZ]] I promised you

  • Not a priority?

  • Our team enjoyed speaking with you

  • Oh, I forgot to mention

  • Just [[number of days]] day(s) left

If you've already sent a first email, a good strategy is to send the follow-up email in the same thread as the previous email. 

This helps with context and the receiver will be able to refer back to the first email to know who you are and quickly catch up with the conversation. 

2- Write an intriguing opening line

If you get them to open the email with an excellent subject line, the opening line will determine whether they read through or close your email in the following seconds. 

It is the first sentence the prospect will read in your follow-up email. If it's boring or not-catchy, you probably won't get a response. 

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind to create effective cold email opening lines

  • Provide context: Are you following up on a previous email? Are you following up on a meeting? Maybe they said they’d get back to you and didn’t. Is that why?

You don’t want prospects to read your email and wonder who you are or not be able to catch up with what you’re talking about. Providing context helps you put your prospects in the right state of mind to read your email and understand it. 

  • Don’t sound desperate: Using phrases like “I know you’re busy”, “you said you’d reply”, “please reply”, “just checking in”, and the likes will make you sound desperate and you’ll lose credibility. Prospects won’t see any value in replying to you. 

  • Don’t be aggressive: Being aggressive rhymes with pushy and the answer to your follow-up emails will always be a “no”.

It can also sound as if you are making the offer about yourself and not caring about the prospect. You should make less use of or completely avoid phrases like “reply as soon as possible”, “you might want to check it out”, etc. Be sure to write a polite follow up email.

  • Personalize it: A personalized icebreaker is a winning one. Making the opening line about your prospects is a surefire way to hook them, make yourself interesting and get them to read your email through. 

For example, you can mention a mutual connection or personal connection of theirs, the prospect’s problem, or a specific discussion you had with the prospect. 

3- Provide more value

Here are three examples of follow-up emails. 

The first.

poor follow up email sample 1

The second.

poor follow up email sample 1

And the third.

poor follow up email sample 3

Here is how those emails resonate with your prospects. 

  • The first one is poor and indicates the sender is lazy.

  • The second one is down right bad and worse than the first.

  • The third one will definitely win an Oscar for being terrible. 

The moral is, the person sending won’t win with either of such follow-up emails. Here is why. 

Only asking the prospect to check out the previous email is not enough. Also, these emails do not offer any value and can cause the prospect to ignore you in the future. 

See, when you cold call a prospect after meeting them, you don’t go “hey, it’s me again, buy today”. 

Instead, you take the time to come up and provide them with more reasons they should listen to you and consider your offer.

Sending emails offers no short-cut to this, the same rules apply. You need to provide more value in each follow-up email you send.

There are a lot of ways you can provide more value in your follow-up emails. For example, you can:

  • Share a case study of a client you helped achieve certain results. 

  • Provide them a lifestyle perspective of how your product or service can complement them.

  • Provide more and diverse proof of the results you are promising. 

  • Include additional benefits.

  • Provide client testimonials and stories.

  • And much more. 

Here is an example of a great follow-up email. 

4- Personalize the email

Personalizing the follow-up email will be a critical element to your success.

The more you can personalize follow-up and make the prospect feel like you’re targeting them individually, the more likely you are to get an answer out of them. 

Here a few personalization tactics you can use:

  • Using the recipient’s first name.

  • Mentioning the last conversation you’ve had with them.

  • Making a personalized offer. 

  • Mentioning the companies they previously worked with.

  • Mentioning a common connection.

  • Showing your expertise in their specific business area.

  • Etc.

Especially, if you are targeting a short number of prospects, you can take the time to research them properly and include unique information that make your email valuable to them.

You will be able to gain their trust and win them over. 

But if you are targeting a laundry list of prospects, you should consider automating using a tool like Hunter Campaign. 

It will be time-consuming to do it manually and such tools provide an efficient alternative. 

Though, you must know that such a tool won’t allow you to automate all the process.

Also, the more prospects you target in a single bulk, the less you can personalize your emails, and thus the less should expect excellent results. 

5- Include a clear CTA

The very essence of sending a follow-up message is to get your prospect to take action. 

It can be that you want them to reply to your email, purchase your product, sign-up for your tool, or any step towards doing business with you. 

So, it makes little sense not including a clear call to action for them.

Added to being clear and straightforward to perform, your CTA should be persuasive, placed in the right position in the email copy and at least twice throughout the email, and visually appealing. 

Doing so makes it easy for the prospect not to miss out, but spot and act on it. Remember it should be:

  • Specific

  • Clear

  • Action-driven

  • Placed at least twice

How many follow-up emails should you send?

So, how many follow-up emails should you send? Well, there are a few short answers. 

  • Steli Efti sent 48 follow-ups and landed a meeting with an investor.

  • Joshua Harwick recommended not sending more than one follow-up.

  • Irina Maltseva (then Head of Marketing at Hunter.io) recommended 3. 

Confusing, yeah?

While some are in the mindset of sending as many emails as possible until they receive a yes (like Steli), others prefer to send a very small number for fear of looking desperate or annoying the receivers (like Irina and Joshua). 

But here is where we stand at Nerdy Joe. 

There are some criteria you need to follow to send your follow-up email in an optimal and respectful way without annoying the receiver or looking desperate. 

The first criteria is to make sure that you have a valid reason for sending an extra follow-up email. 

Of course, it's okay to send a polite follow-up email to remind a prospect to take the time to read your email, discuss it with colleagues or simply respond. 

But you can't send multiple follow-up emails just to ask your prospect to respond. 

As we mentioned above, in each follow-up email you need to make sure you provide more value to the receiver. 

You need to make sure you give them more reason to consider what you have to say and take the action you desire. 

With that said, here are the questions you need to ask yourself before sending a follow-up email to a prospect:

  • Do I have a valid reason for sending this email?

  • Will I be able to provide more value to the prospect?

  • Will I be able to bring more to the table to make my offer irresistible?

If you can't reply yes to all three questions, you might as well not send more follow-up emails than the first remainder.

Also, you need to consider your sales funnel and your target prospects. 

Depending on your product and its complexity for your target audience, you may need more than one or two follow-up emails to educate the audience, build up a case for your offer and win a paying customer. 

Also, depending on your professional relationship or where your prospect stands in your sales funnel, you may need to send them a different number of follow-ups. 

For example, prospects who already know about your product and its value will certainly need fewer follow-ups than those who don't. 

The same goes for prospects who have already downloaded your lead magnet or any other material from your brand versus those who never did. 

Keep in mind that, based on statistics and prospects behavior, we send no more than 7 follow-ups. That’s our limit.

How long should you wait before following up

It's hard to know the waiting period or the right time to send a follow-up email. Too early will annoy the prospect, and if you delay, they will forget you or you can lose them to competitors. 

So, you should look to hit the sweet spot between not being annoying and losing prospects to competitors. 

There are a lot of statistics out there. But it’s impossible to go wrong with these general rules we recommend. 

  • 2 to 3 days is a good interval to wait before sending the first follow-up email.

  • Don’t send more than two follow-ups in a single week. 

  • Following the first email, the wait period should always be extended by a few days.

  • The more follow-up emails you send the more they should be far apart. 

Here is a chart showing the best follow-up sequence for 7 emails. 

follow up email sequence

10 follow-up email templates you can use now

Here are 10 professional and polite follow-up email templates you can use in your strategy to get good results.

1- The gentle reminder follow up email template

This is a straightforward follow-up email you can send to your prospects after no response. It is short and simple. It helps you remind prospects to check you out without boring or annoying them. 

2- After demo follow up email template

While you may be wondering why they went silent on you after requesting a demo, there is still the possibility that you were not the only company they asked for the demo from. 

Also, it can happen that they are still interested but not as urgent about it as you are. They could forget about it too. 

So, you should summarize your demo's key points as well as outlining your next steps in your message. On top of that, if your prospect seems to have any reservations, your follow-up email will need to quell those as well. Here is a successful follow up email template.

Here is another email template you can use after a demo with a prospect to win them over.

The idea is to reiterate some of the most significant advantages that the prospect’s organization will get from adopting your solution. 

3- Follow up email template for creating a sense of urgency

The following email template will allow you to create a sense of urgency and get your prospect to reply and take action.  

4- Follow up email template for providing more value

This email template will help you give your prospects more reasons to consider your offer and take action. 

5- Follow up email template for providing more resources

This is also another form of providing value to your target prospect in a follow-up email. People love ideas and solutions to their pain points.

When you share materials they can leverage to thrive or generate business, they see the value and put you in their good books. Here is the email template you can use here.

6- Follow up email template for sharing more benefits

Your prospects mostly care about the benefits they can get out of your offer or the pain points it'll solve for them.

So, by listing more benefits in your follow-up email, you can quickly get their attention and spark a conversation. 

7- After event follow up email template

So, you went to this great event, met those amazing people who are interested in your product or service, networked with them, you guys exchanged contacts and promised great business for the future.

But since the event, they went radio silent and you never heard back from them. Here is the perfect template for this. 

8- After leaving a voicemail to the prospect

As a sales rep, cold calling is probably one of the many tricks in your sleeve. So, it’s possible that you call a prospect and they don’t respond to your call.

So, you leave a voicemail. A professional way to follow up on is to send them a follow-up email. Here is a template you can use in this context. 

9- When the prospect asks you reach out in the future

Your prospects may not be interested in what you have to offer right away. But they might need it in the future. So they will either tell you that they’ll circle back to you or ask you to hit them in the future. Here is an email you can use to follow up with them. 

10- Breaking up with the prospect

There are only so many follow-up emails you can send. And sometimes there is nothing you can do and you will have to face the fact that the prospect is simply not interested. 

So you can't keep sending them follow-up emails. At some point, you have to break off the relationship.

But before that, it can be a good idea to give them a nudge to reply to you to give yourself an extra chance. Below are some sample emails that you can use in this case. 

Here is another example. 

What if the prospect still doesn’t reply?

It is possible that you will not receive any response despite your best efforts to convince the prospect of the value of your offer. 

Ideally, you don't want to lose your credibility while trying to convince them. You need to make sure that you remain professional, try all possibilities without boring them.

A good strategy is to use other channels to target them and try to have a conversation with them. 

For example, you can use professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn to try to send them personalized InMails. You can also use Twitter. 

Keep in mind that targeting the prospect on multiple platforms at once may seem like a desperate act or nagging. Make sure you send no more than one message on platforms aside from email.

Key Takeaways

  • Writing follow-up emails should be part of your email strategies as a sales professional in order to have excellent response rates. This is because most customers will tell you "no" in the decision making process before they finally adopt your product.
    You should therefore consider a follow up campaign after your initial email to handle their objections and teach them more about your product.

  • The best approach to writ a follow-up email is to make sure you are providing more value to your prospect. Professionals receive many messages on a daily basis.
    So you need to make sure your email is relevant and has a good subject line. Make sure you stand out from the competition and get their attention. 

  • The number of emails and the frequency at which you should send them is entirely up to your business and your audience.
    You should ideally seek to balance between sending too little and sending too much. As for the number of emails you send, always make sure you have a good reason to send the email and don't send more than 7. 

  • These are quick tips to help you write great follow up email and have good response rates. Want more tips and follow-up email templates? We’ve worked on 50+ cold email templates that you can use to boost your reply rate. Get’em here.