If the thought of writing a follow-up email makes you feel a little uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Our instincts tell us that if someone hasn’t replied to our first email, they’re not interested, and that they’re not going to like it if we bother them again.
Unfortunately in this case, our instincts are often wrong. Very few prospects say “yes” to the first ask – or, for that matter, to the second, third, or fourth.
In fact, study from Iko System saw an 18% response rate to the first email they sent, and 13% to the fourth. The sixth email in the sequence received a massive 27% response rate.
A similar study from Yesware saw a 30% response rate to the first email and 14% to the fourth. They actually sent 10 emails in total and even the very last one had a 7% response rate.
Despite this, Yesware reports that a colossal 70% of email chains stop after just one unanswered email.
Needless to say, sending follow-up emails is essential (unless you like missing out on sales…) Need some tips? Here’s how to write a follow-up email after no response.
First, let’s answer this question…
How Long Should You Wait Before Following Up?
The short answer here is “not long.” The vast majority of emails are opened the day they’re sent, and if the recipient’s going to reply, they’re probably going to do that the same day, too. That means it’s pretty safe to assume that if someone doesn’t reply the day you send your email, they’re not going to reply at all.
So, how long should you wait before sending a follow-up email?
As a general rule, two or three days is a good amount of time to wait before sending your first follow-up email. You should then extend the wait period by a few days for each subsequent email.
How to Write a Follow Up Email
Now that you know how important it is to follow up, and how long (give or take) you should wait before sending each email, let’s go through how to write the follow-up email itself. It is important to test different email subject lines when following-up.
I’ve split this into four sections. To help you write your email, I’ve included examples of what you might say in each section – the idea being that you can then link everything together into a custom follow-up template.
But first, you need to:
Decide What You Want to Achieve
Before you do anything else, it’s mission-critical that you decide what you want to achieve from this email (or emails).
For example, you might want to:
- Get more information/a specific piece of information
- Arrange a meeting
- Close a sale
I can’t help you much here since every situation is unique. Exactly what you want and need to get out of a follow-up email will likely change with each campaign you work on, and potentially, even between each follow-up you send.
1. Add Context
Try to jog your recipient’s memory by opening your email with a reference to a previous email or interaction. Even if your recipient draws a blank, they’re more likely to react positively to the follow-up if they’ve been reminded of the fact that they’ve heard from you before.
Openers you might want to try include:
I just wanted to follow up on the email I sent last [day of the week email was sent] about [subject of email].
I just wanted to follow up to see what you thought about [subject of email].
I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but I saw that you read my previous email.
2. Explain Why You’re Emailing
Go on to explain the reason for your follow-up email, in a manner that’s both direct and concise. Just tell the recipient what you want. If this hasn’t changed since your last email, remind them.
I think [product name] could really help you [element of prospect’s role] more effectively. I’d love to have a quick chat to find out if I’m right.
I think [product name] could really help you and I wondered if you’d be interested in trying it out for a month or so (completely free, of course).
We’ve just launched [product name], and I think it could make a big difference to [element of prospect’s role]. There’s a link to a resource that will tell you more just below, but it’d be great if we could also discuss your current needs so I can figure out exactly how [product name] might help you.
3. Include a Call-to-Action
Make it easy for the recipient to respond. For example, if you’re trying to arrange a meeting, suggest a specific date and time (and place, if you’re arranging an in-person meeting).
Does 2:15 p.m. on Thursday work for you?
Are you the right person to talk to about this? If I’m in the wrong place, could you point me in the right direction?
Just reply ‘yes’ if you’d be interested in getting some more information and I’ll send a couple of short docs over.
4. Close Your Email
Wrap up in a way that feels natural to you and is sympathetic to your interactions with the recipient so far.
While I have a few suggestions below, this part is really quite personal – as above, wrap up however you feel comfortable.
- Let me know what you think! [Your name]
- Let me know if you have any questions. [Your name]
- Speak soon? [Your name]
- I look forward to hearing from you! [Your name]
Sample Follow-up Templates
If the suggestions above aren’t enough for you to work with, here are a few samples from the selection of templates we offer our users at Mailshake.
Hey [First], can we hop on a quick call [Date_Time]?
PS: thought you might find this article interesting [Link]
I didn’t hear back from you last week when I was looking for the appropriate person managing your [Role]. If it makes sense to talk, let me know how your calendar looks. If not, who is the appropriate person?
I’ve reached out a few times regarding your sales prospecting strategies there at [Company]. My guess is that we’re out of touch for one of three reasons:
– You don’t see a fit
– You have another solution to create predictable outbound prospecting numbers
– You are secretly a superhero and have been too busy fighting crime to reply
If any of these are correct then they may be the exact reason why we should talk now…
I have tried to get in touch with you to see if there is a mutual fit between our company’s expertise and your goals around [Business_Driver].
If you are not interested or there is another person you would like me to follow up with, please let me know.
Would it make sense to invest 5-10 minutes to determine if there is a mutual fit?If not, who do you recommend I talk to?
I’m writing to follow-up on my email. I didn’t hear back from anyone on the team. If it makes sense to talk, let me know how your calendar looks.
If not, who is the appropriate person for me to talk to?
Thanks for your help,
I just tried giving you a call and left a voicemail. I’d like to discuss [Opportunity] with you. Please give me a call back at [Your_Phone_number], or send me a note if you get the chance.
Do you have any other tips or ideas for writing follow-up emails after no response? It’d be great if you wanted to share them in the comments below!