How To Draft A Follow Up Email After No Response (With 12 Sample Emails)

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This is Part II in our series about Emails. You can read Part I here.

Every so often, I’ll get a mail with the subject line saying “Just checking in”, and I’ll shrug because I know they’re not “just checking in”.

Emails are imperfect tools of conversation. Since society implemented emails as the primary mode of corporate communication between consumers and companies, most inboxes are a burial ground for irrelevant and noncurated content. At the end of the article, we discuss why the need to follow up is a failure of the system itself and what needs to be changed, but back to emails.

Most of these aforementioned emails I get usually go in the bin, occasionally I might open a few, and on the rare occasion I’ve actually forgotten to get back to someone, they only send me a mail three months later.

Below you’ll find field-tested solutions along with samples so you can share the success.


 

Follow-ups are tricky. They shouldn’t be so frequent that they’re considered spam to the recipient, they shouldn’t so infrequent that your window closes. They shouldn’t be dull and monotonous, but they can’t be overly clickbait-y. The text should be crisp and to the point, but you must have ample call-to-action statements.

The ideal follow-up is a thin tightrope, over a valley filled with irrelevance and annoyance.

So why do we, “just check in”?

There are three primary objectives why you’d like to have someone get back to you.

  1. An update – You need some crucial information. This could be a mail to your interviewer to see what the next step in the job process is, a lead who hasn’t replied after you killed a sales pitch or to a client to see what they think of a new UI.
  2. Request a Meeting – You’d like to meet someone, over a call or face-to-face. Arrange for a pitch, ask for a favor or just pick their brain.
  3. Thank you – You closed a deal, you got the job, you’ve got some exciting news to share about the company to your stakeholders.

The Father of Modern Advertising and founder of legendary ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, David Ogilvy once stated “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

The same goes for subject lines.

Most professionals have been around emails so long, they know what the copy is going to be just by reading the subject line. Hubspot has some great tips on how to draft a great subject line.

We conducted a study in 2014 using 6.4 million emails sent with HubSpot Sales and learned a few things about subject lines that improve email open rates:

  1. Use concrete numbers and times – Emails with “Quick” in the subject line were opened 17% less than those without.
  2. Create a sense of urgency by using “tomorrow.” – Emails with “Tomorrow” in the subject line were opened 10% more than those without.
  3. Try omitting the subject line entirely. – Emails with no subject altogether were opened 8% more than those with a subject line.

While it may seem counter-intuitive and not feasible in the long run to simply skip subject lines, imbibing a sense of curiosity is the crux of healthy email open rates. For example, unless specifically stated to follow a subject line format, and sometime even when stated, conversationally creative subject lines are a great pull.

Instead of a dull subject line like, “Job Application for Manager” try, “4 reasons I’d be a great employee”.

An even more subtle approach, for follow up emails after a meeting, don’t just go with “Following up from last week. Use, “Any questions Sarah?


 

the ‘when’ of the Follow-Up Email

Just as important as what you’re sending, is when you’re sending it. Remember, most professionals get hundreds of emails a week, and if you pile on incessantly with no context, you’re just contributing to the problem.

24 Hours

Thank you follow up email or after a meeting or sales conference.

48 Hours

After submitting a job application.

1-2 Weeks

Follow up on a meeting request or after no response regarding a job offer.

Every 3 Months

To catch up with a connection.


 

The ‘How’ of the Follow-Up Email

Follow Up Emails operate based on the principle of triggers.

Triggers are a way to reconnect with someone, in a manner that is unobtrusive and interesting.

There are two types of triggers, and it is depending on these subcategories that your sample email will be drafted.

Natural Triggers

As a salesperson or prospective employee, natural triggers include customer announcements, company expansions, product announcements, new campaigns, successful fiscal quarters/years, awards, additional funding or press coverage.

Anything that the company is proud of, is an entry strategy for you to slide into their inbox. Drop them a mail, (preferably without a sales pitch so it seems genuine) and congratulate them on their accomplishment. Once they reply, you can use a variation of an artificial trigger to see where they stand.

Artificial Trigger

For an artificial trigger, the plan is fiendishly simple. All you have to do is send them a simple email that holds a mini-survey, as such.


The ‘what’ of the follow-up email

Each email conversation has a beginning, middle, and end.

With emails, I’ve found it helps to be a straight shooter; most people don’t. Remember when it comes to emails, the cost of failure is lower than the cost of purgatory i.e. A client or interviewer who say no but replies immediately is preferable to a client or interviewer who doesn’t reply at all.

The ideal outcome, of course, is an immediate and affirmative response. That is aided by not wasting the respondents time, so for example instead of saying,

“Hey, I’d like to catch up for a round of golf and talk about what you do.”

You’d have far better results if you instead said,

“Hey, I’d like to catch up for a round of golf and understand what kind of content you use to build the base for a SaaS product, becuase we’re not having the desired effect with ours.”

With clear and concise communication, my contacts are able to help me with that I need a lot more expeditiously and far more clearly.

While it comes to opening a conversation, it always helps to use context. Remind them where you’re from, who you are or how you met them. This creates a natural trigger and helps ease the conversation along.

The beginning.

A follow up to a natural interaction goes a bit like this.

Subject – I’m a huge fan.

Hey [name],

My name’s Anush, and I just wrote to say how much I loved your presentation at [event name]. I’m a big fan and I’d love to have another conversation with you.

I’ve attached my number at the bottom of this mail. If you could let me know what your calendar looks like, and we’ll set something up.

Thanks,

Anush.


For a job application, this could also alternatively be –

Subject – Love the work your company is doing.

Hey [name],

I’m writing to tell you that I love your new [campaign name]. The delivery was impeccable and kudos to everyone who worked on it. If you ever need some additional support with [job title], I’d love to have a meeting with you.

I’ve attached my number at the bottom of this mail. If you could let me know what your calendar looks like, and we’ll set something up.

Thanks,

Anush.


 

The Middle.

You’ve had your meeting, you’ve talked to your interviewer. You absolutely slayed the process, it seemed like you could do nothing wrong and now you’d to bolster your chances by thanking them for giving you the opportunity.

I’ve seen people make two distinct mistakes here –

  1. They only thank the person who interviewed them.
  2. They assume only one person sees their mail, and so send the same message to everyone.

Remember that whoever you talked to has a busy schedule. They’ve probably taken a considerable amount of time out of their schedule to meet you, even if it is only for five minutes. The individuals you made your sales pitch to or had an interview with are all colleagues, which means they talk to each other. Don’t be the sales rep or the interviewee who blasts the same thank-you email to everyone.

There are three ways you can make your appreciative emails personal.

  1. Reference your conversation with them.
  2. Reference your relationship with their team.
  3. Reference your knowledge of the company
The follow up to an artificial interaction goes like this

Hey [name],

Thanks for the meeting and sharing your marketing pain-points. Really appreciate the dynamic to constantly improve on an existing process in your marketing team.

As discussed, I strongly believe that [product name] can help you achieve your goals.  We’ve had clients see their traffic to lead conversion jump from 7% or 8% to upwards of 25% overnight.

With the additional business you’ll get from the efforts, I’m certain your plans to [organization goals (fundraising, expansion)] will happen sooner rather than later.

Thanks again,

Anush.


For a job application, this could also alternatively be –

Hey [name],

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to sit down with [company name] for the position of [job title]. I understand the needs of your company in the [department name], and I was wholeheartedly impressed with the steps you’ve taken so far.

The dynamic to constantly improve on an existing process is something I deeply admire in your [department name] team, not a long of other organizations I’ve worked for display this kind of team dynamic.

I’m sure I’ll be able to contribute to the growth of your company both in the long and short run, and that your expansion plans will come sooner rather than later.

Thanks again,

Anush


 

The end

We’ve all been here. You’ve done everything right, you’ve had them hanging on your every word. They’re asking you good questions, you’re giving them better answers. You have it in the bag. But.

One week passes. 

Two weeks.

One month. 

Two months.

But they don’t get back to you. Radio silence. MIA.

This is frustrating, regardless of whether it’s a client or a company. But the truth of the matter is plain, 80% of sales require at least five follow-ups. So instead of being discouraged, remember this is what will differentiate you from your peers.

The secret to an effective follow up is to keep it simple, short, and useful, with a focus on setting up a meeting.


Subject – Are you thinking about me?

Hi [name],

In our last meeting, you asked me to get in touch with you to talk about how we can help your business achieve [goal]. I may be a few weeks early, but I thought I would check in.

Have you given any additional consideration to my proposal? I’d be happy to chat on the phone and answer any questions that may have come up.

What does your schedule look like this week to talk?

Thanks.


Hi [Name],

I wanted to get in touch to see which of the 10 Ways you’re using to boost your sales team’s productivity [details of content sent in the first email]. If you haven’t implemented these techniques yet, I’d love to help you get started.

Are you available for a 30-minute call on [date and time]? Just let me know what works best for you. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks.


Hi [Name],

I know how busy you must be managing your team and helping them increase sales [job function]. I hope the resource I sent you about boosting your sales productivity was helpful, and that you can share it with the rest of your team. Here it is again [insert hyperlink here] in case it got lost in translation. Would you have time for a call on [date and time] or [date and time]?

Let me know what works best for you, or if you have any conflicts with those times. I’d be happy to work around your schedule.

Thanks.


Hi [Name],

I’m sorry we haven’t been able to connect. Last time we spoke, you seemed very interested in boosting your sales productivity [objective]. Again, I know how hectic things can get at work and with family. I would be available for a call during weekends or before or after work hours if that’s easier for you. I don’t mean to bug you, but I do want to help you manage your team so you can exceed your sales goals [objective].

Thanks.


Hi [First Name],

I’ve tried to reach you a few times to go over suggestions on improving ___, but haven’t heard back which tells me one of three things:

1) You’re all set with ____ and I should stop bothering you.

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to met yet.

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up and in that case let me know and I’ll call someone to help you ….

Please let me know which one as I’m starting to worry!

Thanks.


[First Name],

We are in the process of closing files for the month. Typically when I haven’t heard back from someone it means they’re either really busy or aren’t interested.

If you aren’t interested, do I have your permission to close your file?

If you’re still interested, what do you recommend as a next step?

Thanks for your help.


 

I hope these samples helped you with clients and companies that didn’t respond the way you wanted them to. But this is where you take a step back and ask the question, “Why did you even have to send someone eight emails?”

Emails as I’ve mentioned before, are imperfect tools. And they’re imperfect for a variety of reasons. From the amount of time they take from your employees work day (In the average 5-day work week, about a day and a half of it is spent on email, that’s around 28% of the average desk worker’s day),  the fact that they’re ridiculously slow as compared to modern methods of communication (compare it to say, Whatsapp or Slack), they’re also expensive, but most importantly, emails aren’t interactive.

When you put sign up forms or subscription newsletters on your website for people to put their emails into, you’re asking them for the most ineffective mode of communication at their disposal.

So you need something that’s quick, cheap, interactive and doesn’t suck the life out your sales/marketing team.

Verloop is a conversational automation tool, that automates FAQ, lead capturing, lead qualification, demo scheduling or subscription sign-ups, the always-on bot guides your prospects like they were talking to your best sales rep.


The end goal for all conversational automation is simple; Make business personal again.

Read more about the companies that use Verloop for Conversational Marketing for Sales, Support, and Marketing.

About the author

Anush Fernandes

Loves Canines, Conversational automation, and Curry. Stephen and otherwise.