If you know the person professionally, you have greater freedom when following up on an email. You may choose to send a professional request quickly, with the understanding that this won’t damage your reputation or relationship.
How Long Should You Wait Before Following Up?
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 original 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 following your first message, especially depending on the number of follow ups you’re planning to send.
You can and should experiment with timing for subsequent follow ups, but that schedule is as good as any until proven otherwise. You want to follow up without annoying your targets with daily blasts. Efti’s suggested timetable works out to six emails – the initial contact and five follow ups.
Setting Up for Success
Writing down your goals and workflows is beneficial on many fronts: It creates consistency amongst everyone on your team, it keeps everyone on the same page, and it actually helps you achieve your goals better than if you didn’t write them down.
Diversify Your Channels
Explore an omni-channel approach that includes email, video, social media, and the telephone – especially if you’re not getting a response from just one of them. Companies with an omni-channel engagement process see a 9.5% year-over-year growth in annual revenue – almost 3x more than those that do not – in addition to increasing the engagement itself.
Which channels do they seem to prefer and/or where did you first engage with them, what do they do on each (just shooting the breeze on social, business on email, vice versa)? Take your cue from them. Engage with them where and how they seem to prefer.
Decide What You Want to Achieve
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.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Before drafting or sending, consider the user experience (UX). It’s already a pivotal element of your business success, and it’s poised to become the key differentiator in the next year or two. More than price. More than the product or service itself.
Mistakes made in polite follow-up emails and what to do instead
Using “follow-up” in the email subject line
When writing a polite follow-up email, most people tend to naturally use “follow-up” in the subject line. While this email is a follow-up, that subject line doesn’t add any value and will likely be ignored. It can also cause the reader to feel like you’re pointing blame because you didn’t answer, which doesn’t make the reader feel very good or interested in reading your email.
Instead, write a subject line that’s relevant to the topic or purpose of the email. To do this, ask yourself what the email is about or what you want them to do. Continue reading for polite follow-up email subject line examples.
Starting with “just following up” and not adding value
Another common mistake made when writing a polite follow-up email is starting with “just following up” and sending an email that doesn’t add any value. People are busy and don’t have time to read an email that they have to decipher the meaning of or what action is required.
Instead, when writing your polite follow-up email, focus on adding value. For example, give them options, share how you can help them solve their problem or what you can do for them, or add more details or context.
Not including a call to action
Instead, when writing a polite follow-up email, be clear about what you want the person to do after reading your email. Do you want them to reply? Call you back? Fill out a form? Be clear and specific so they know what you want them to do. You can do this while still being polite. Keep reading to see the polite follow-up email samples and learn how to incorporate this into your follow-up emails.
Not following up quickly
Instead of waiting 10+ days to follow up, consider sending a reminder sooner like 3 days. This ensures the recipient still has the topic and request fresh in their mind. If you wait too long, there is a chance they’ve already forgotten about your call to action and the steps you asked them to take. As an example, if you were a real estate agent, you know time is crucial! So it’s best to only wait a couple of days and send a polite and gentle reminder to either respond with a timeline or an assurance that the task was completed.
8 Polite follow-up email samples
Following up after meeting at a networking event
It was great meeting you at [name of event]! It was really interesting hearing about [something they mentioned they’re struggling with.]. I’d love to help you [problem you can solve] so you can [benefit they want to achieve].
Tip: Include an intro that triggers their memory. Include how you can add value by offering something that they want/need or solving a problem they have. Then finish with a call to action letting them know what you want them to do.
Following up after being introduced (ex. referral)
[Name of referrer] mentioned you’re looking for [a problem you can solve or service you can offer]. I’d love to chat about [problem they’re looking to solve] and how I can help you [benefit they want to get].
Tip: When following up in this scenario, be sure to let them know who referred you to them and what you can do for them. Focus on the value you can add and adding credibility such as your social media accounts or website portfolio. Be sure to finish by including a call to action for next steps.
Following up after a meeting or call to move to next steps in doing business together
It was great meeting you the other day and chatting about [something they mentioned they care about]. I’d love to get started on working on [project or deal you’re working towards] so you can [benefit they want].
Tip: Include something personal and give them context about who you are. People are often so busy that just seeing your name in their inbox may not be enough to remind them of who you are. Focus on adding value by reiterating a problem you can solve for them or benefit/goal you can help them achieve. Finish with a call to action telling them what you need them to do and why it’s important.
Following up after sending something that requires action and waiting to hear back
Tip: Keep the follow-up email brief. Ask if they’ve looked over the thing you sent them and if they have any questions to confirm they’ve received it and understand what’s needed. Finish by including a call to action about what you want them to do.
Following up after sending an invoice and haven’t received payment
Tip: Be brief but direct. Ask a question instead of pointing out the obvious that you haven’t received payment, for example asking to confirm they’ve received it and whether or not they have questions about it. Finish with a call to action telling them what you want them to do.
Following up after sending an estimate/quote
Have you had a chance to look over the quote I sent you [date you send the quote] for [project you’re working on]? Would love to get started on [project or service you’re providing] so you can [benefit they want].
Tip: Be brief and ask a question instead of saying you’re just following up on the invoice. Remind them of the value you can add or problem you can solve to emphasize what’s in it for them. Finish with a call to action by being clear on what they should do next.
Following up after asking someone to do something and no response
Tip: Be brief. Be polite by asking if they’ve looked it over rather than accuse or point out that you haven’t received it yet. Add value by giving them context for the urgency if needed or urgency about the next steps. Finish with a call to action so they know what you want them to do and why it’s important.
Following up after no response from the last email
Tip: When you’ve followed up and had no previous response, be brief and ask them why, while making it easy for them to answer by giving them options. Finish with a call to action letting them know what you want them to do.
Hopefully, you find these polite follow-up email samples helpful when writing your own follow-up emails. The main things to keep in mind when writing a polite follow-up email is to be brief, focus on adding value, and include a call to action. If you follow these tips you can avoid wasted time sending follow-ups that don’t get responses and start getting answers!
About the author:
Kristie Holden is an online marketing consultant. She helps startups get more leads by clarifying their message and creating a marketing strategy to attract and convert their ideal client. Connect with her on Instagram.
Follow-up email template – the Flowrite way
Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns short instructions into ready-to-send emails and message. However, for emails such as follow-ups after no response it can write the whole email for you. Take a look at the example below to see how to follow up on an email with click of button thanks our follow up email template.
Are you feeling more confident about how to follow up on an email after reading the blog post? We hope so. The next time you need to write a follow up email after getting no response, just remember best practices we covered in this guide or turn to our follow up email samples. Better yet, give Flowrite and our follow-up email template a try.
Want to learn how to end an email? Discover professional email sign-offs and learn the email closings to keep away from. By the time you’ve done reading you’ve learned all ways to end an email you need to know.