How to Write Better Follow-up Emails (Templates Included)

By: Jack Reamer |
 November 14, 2023 |

We have all been there…

Received an email and then a follow-up email, and it was really bad.

Maybe the salesperson only spoke about themselves…

Maybe you had no idea why they emailed you in the first place because their product had no relevance to you…

Or perhaps they kept spamming you day after day with really boring (or long) emails that had no clear CTA

You probably hit delete or marked the email as spam, and the prospector lost out on you as a  potential client. 

The most the most common follow-up email error is that it adds nothing new to the conversation.

If you are getting no response from your prospects, or would just like to improve your emailing skills, keep reading.

In this article, we will discuss common mistakes salespeople make when writing follow-up emails, how to write the perfect follow-up email and share specific examples of what to do instead.

Notice how each follow-up example brought something new to the conversation.

When using this approach we have noticed that our follow up emails received a 48% reply rate.

So even if you don’t get anything else out of this article, remember that the number one take away is: “notice how each follow-up message brought something new to the table.” 

We added social proof using the podcast link and in the second follow-up, we made it painfully clear how easy it is to take the next step. 

Let’s dive in.

Want 1 qualified lead per day?

Follow-up email template with a 48% reply rate

Before we begin, look at a follow-up sequence that SalesBread uses. 

This is a specific case study that shows how we searched for companies to mention on our podcast.  

This is also the same email sequence we use to get 1 lead a day for our clients. 

Our metrics for this specific campaign are listed below:

  • 71 Prospects in total
  • 90% Open Rates
  • 48% Response rate

NOTE: If you would like to use this template in your outreach, feel free to change it as needed. 

Example Template 1:

follow up email template

Subject Line: Featuring {Company Name} on podcast?

Hi {Prospect first name}

{Prospect custom intro}

Write your email copy with personalization

The first thing that we did was write copy for the first email.

Before this, we did in-depth research to build a list of prospects who would be a great fit for this campaign. (For more info on list building, read this.)

As you can see, the subject line includes personalization (the company’s name). The intro also includes the name of the prospect. 

The “PS” at the end also includes how we know that their company is thriving with  small sales team.

The message is personal, and it’s written as if you were writing to a friend. 

When it comes to writing personalized messages remember that you have to research each prospect on your list, in order to find something every specific about the prospect. 

At Salesbread we use the CCQ method. This means that we will find something to either: 

  • Compliment the prosepct on
  • Mention a commonality
  • Or ask the prosepct a question

Your emails should be written in a way that you discuss the prospect and their pain points 90% of the time, and only write about yourself 10% of the time for context.

The video below goes into detail on how to write personalized messages.

Step 2: Bump Email

Subject Line: {Leave blank}

Should probably have added the podcast: {podcast link}

Notice that the bump email wasnt the usual generic bump email. Instead we adding a link to our podcast. 

Don’t say something like: “Just bumping up this email incase you didnt see it.”

Rather add a link to your website, a testimonial or a quick loom video. 

~ Wait 3 days ~

Step 4: Send a follow up email

Subject Line: Got it, super busy running {company name}

How about simply shooting a quick reply to these short questions…

  • Has cold email ever played a role in your company’s growth? If so, how
  • Any interesting story or advice when it comes to outreach?

Be Amazing,
Jeremey

P.S: If there’s anything else you’d like me to mention about {company name}, let me know. Happy to help bring you some new customers, if I can.

The next step is waiting 3 days before sending your offical follow up email.

We always suggest adding in more personalization and another value proposition.

For example, in this email, we mentioned how we would be happy to help them gain some new customers. 

But also notice, we made it as wasy as possible for the prosepct to reply. 

We did this by asking them two very specific questions. 

When writing a follow up email, be as specific as possible with your “ask”. 

This makes it easier for the prosepct to reply becasue they know exactly what you want from them. 

~ Wait 3 days ~

Step 5: Break up email

Subject Line: Leave blank

Hey {Prospects Name}

No pressure.

I’m sure we can work together down the line, but I wanted to let you know that if you want {company name} to be featured on our 100th episode, I will need your input in the next few days.

JeremeyFounder
{Company name}
{Podcast link/ website link}

We suggest following up between 3 and 5 times every 3 days, until the prosepct replies.

But if you don’t recieve a reply, you could always try reach out to them via a differnt channel; such as Linkedin or SMS.

In your final email make sure that your Call to action is clear but still be polite. This could leave space for future business. 

What not to do when sending follow up emails

Have a look at the email samples below. 

See if you can spot some of the big “no-no’s” when it comes to messaging potential customers

1. Don’t be lazy – Add something of value to each follow-up email

The first follow-up email is a classic bump email.

But the message itself is pretty lazy; as you can see, the prospect is not adding any value to the mail, just mentioning that they are bumping it up to the top of the prospect’s inbox. 

If you do decide to do a bump email, add something of value. 

For example, you could include a link to a website, a podcast, or even a stat that shows you really mean what you’re talking about. 

Always remember to share something of value in your follow-up emails that you would like your prospect to know about. 

2. Don’t send your email before proofreading it.

Notice in the second follow-up email that an entire sentence seems to be missing?

“Matthew has been building…”

…What?

So before you send your emails off, always check your piece of content.

Make sure your spelling is correct and that you have completed your train of thought in the message. 

3. Don’t have a weak CTA.

The call to action in the second follow-up email was relatively weak.

It’s essential to have a clear CTA so that the prospect knows exactly what you want them to do.

A better option would have been to ask for a quick 5-minute call early next week

You could even add a calendar link or ask them for their calendar link so that you could schedule in a call at a convenient time for them. 

4. Don’t bash your prospects.

The last email comes across as a little harsh. The sales professional mentions how to they can turn the prospect’s website “into a clean website that actually makes sales.”

This implies:

  • The prospect’s website is terrible.
  • They are not making sales because their website does not look great.

This kind of email is enough to put any prospect off, as it can come across as offensive. 

Once again, there is no clear value-added to the email, and if the cold emailer wanted to help with web development, they could have come across more positively. 

Remember, it’s easier to catch a fly with honey than with vinegar.

The same applies when trying to get someone interested in your product/service.

Kindness and compliments can go a long way.

Bashing a prospect is a sure-fire way to lose them. 

Note: This is why personalization is so important. Adding, something unique into the email that catches the prospect’s attention, like a compliment about their most recent achievement, is more likely to get a response than a bashing session.

5. Don’t write an “essay” for a follow-up email

Have a look at this follow-up email below: 

The first thing that we noticed about this email was that it was super long.

It must have been more than 500 words.

A follow-up email should never be longer than a few sentences. 

Why?

People don’t have time to read long emails.

If the salesperson wanted to add more context or content, they could have included a link to an article, for example, that discussed additional information.

But your best bet is to keep the message short and to the point. 

6. Don’t send follow-ups every single day

Have a look at the emails below. Notice how they were sent soon after each other.

There was not much spacing between this email sequence as you can see.

People may view this as spam. We suggest waiting 3 days before sending your first follow-up and then three days between every other follow-up. 

Your break-up email should be the 5th email sent if you have not received one reply back. 

7. If you don’t get replies remember to send a break-up email.

If you send your follow-up email 3 times and still don’t get a reply, wait another 3 days and then send your break up. 

(NOTE: Before we send this last email, we  did additional research on Linkedin to really personalize the message.)

The break up email template:

 Our email subject line reads “Last Chance.”

The first line states how we could mention their company name in a blog post if they prefer. 

We also added the “custom PS” at the end, which could even include a clear CTA once again, or the extra research you did on the prospect. 

Take note of the benefit of replying to us. 

The prospect can get featured on a blog post, which is a free backlink from a good domain authority website.

If they still don’t reply, then it means that they are not interested at this specific time. 

Remember

That when you target specific people, you want replies and conversations, not just open rates

There is so much more to cold email than just sending out hundreds of bulk emails; if someone is not interested, that’s ok. You don’t want to waste time sending emails to people who don’t like what you are selling. 

Spend time targeting prospects who are really interested because these are the ones who will book a meeting and hopefully turn it into a sale. 

So what should you do when sending a follow-up email?

Use personalization

One of the most important things when sending your follow-up email is to use personalization.

Add in the prospect’s name or their company name.

You could even add in something specific about them that you read about on the internet. 

For example, if you listen to a podcast that they were featured on, or read an interesting article that they wrote, mention that in the follow-up. 

Keep it short

As you can see in the above templates, the follow-ups are short.

The emails are less than 80 words.

When it comes to writing a follow-up email, get to the point. If you met them at a networking event, for example, mention that.

Don’t write an essay (sadly, this is where many marketers get it wrong), and if you do have more information to share, instead, direct the prospect to a website, social media page, or add a link into the email. 

Have clear CTA

Your call to action needs to be clear. State what you would like your prospect to do.

Would you like them to book a meeting with you?

Get on a short phone call?

Answer a quick question? Get a referral from them? 

Be very clear, as this will direct your prospect in how they should respond to your sales email

Wait 3 days between emails.

Remember not to send a follow-up email every day.

Wait 3 days before sending your first follow-up.

You will then need to wait another 3 days if you don’t get a reply. 

If you send an email each day, the prospect could view your mail as spam and mark it as such in Gmail

Remember transition, value prop, CTA.

 Always have a couple of words in your follow-up email that will tie into your first email.

Add in a value proposition, which can be something new in every follow-up email, and a different type of CTA in each follow-up.

Here are some  CTA’s, for you to use. 

There should be a break-up email.

If your prospect does not reply to your messages, send them an email one last time.

If there is still no response, it means that they are not interested in your product or service at this time. 

You can then remove them from the email campaign, as you don’t want to spend a significant amount of time focusing on the wrong prospect. 

The Takeaway

If you follow the above tips and tricks, then you will get higher reply rates.

You can take what you have learned from the above templates and incorporate the strategies into your own email campaigns.

Interested in learning more? Check out our cold email masterclass

Or if you would like to hop on a free 15-minute consultation call with Salesbread, hit us up below.

FREE Follow Up Sales Email Templates