cold emailing

How to Write a Follow-up Email (+9 Proven Templates That Convert)

lemlist team
LAST UPDATED
May 24, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

The perfect follow-up email template that boosts conversions exists.

And we have it right here in this article. How did we do it?

We analyzed data of millions of lemlist cold outreach campaigns. And we created the step-by-step instructions based on them.

Outreach Pros have used these 9 templates numerous times, with 42-67% reply rates.

In short: We know what works.

Now, you will know it too.

Use this guide to get more replies from your cold outreach campaigns or any cold email follow-up.

How to follow-up after no response?

Yes, it is good practice to follow up with your prospects, even if they didn’t respond to the first email.

Politely checking back in is a proven way to increase your reply rates and make more sales.

The secret? Keep it short, and don’t pester them.

You may worry that sending follow-ups is too pushy, especially if a lead opened your email but didn't reply.

This must mean the recipient isn’t interested, right?

Not necessarily.

How many email follow-ups is it OK send?

Your recipient may have forgotten to reply or was busy at the moment of reading your email.

Your message might not have been clear enough, or it simply didn’t reach the decision-maker in the company.

To test this, we analyzed the reply rates of millions of cold email campaigns.

The results are in.

We discovered that 4-9 polite follow-ups make up the sweet spot to maximize replies without getting flagged as spam.

A line graph with the title "how many cold email follow-ups should you send?" The Y axis shows the reply rates and the X axis shows the number of follow ups. The reply rate increases with each follow-up.

Why 4-9 follow-ups?

Well, the best average reply rates always come after the first email in a sequence.

After 12 emails, the average reply rate per email decreases steadily.

However, the cumulative reply rate for the campaign increases.

Here’s what that looks like. 👇

A bar graph with the title "more follow-ups get more replies" with reply rate on the Y axis and number of follow-ups on the X axis. It shows that every new email gets 5-10 more replies, and cumulatively it increases the replies for the campaign as a whole

But this does not mean that you should keep sending follow-ups until you get a reply from every single prospect.

After 8-9 follow-ups, there is not a lot of difference between the amount of emails.

It will barely have an impact, and you’ll run the risk of harming your sender reputation.

Want to dig deeper into this data?

Read the full article on the optimal number of cold email follow-ups.

Everything you need to know about cold email follow-ups

A successful follow-up strategy hinges on three questions:

  • How will you write the follow-up email?
  • How many follow-up emails will you send, and how will they be sent?
  • What are the follow-up email subject lines?

Let's answer them one by one.

How do you write a follow-up email?

In general terms, there are two frameworks that you can master.

Both will help you understand how to write a follow-up, whatever your objective may be.

The reminder follow-up

The first follow-up email example is popularly known as a reminder.

Essentially, what you're doing is reminding prospects about your previous message.

There are several different ways to do this.

You can sum up your previous email and rephrase the important details, or add a goofy meme or GIF to spark attention.

Be creative, as long as your email is still grammatically correct, uses the right transition words and phrases, and is a good match for your target audience.

For example, here’s a short and casual follow-up that got a 33% reply rate:

Hi {{firstName}},

Don't want to be an annoying bore, so I'm sending a quick follow up and leaving you alone afterward.

That's a promise. 😉

Take care,
{{signature}}

Avoid sending messages such as "Just wondering if you saw my last email" if you’ve had no prior connection with the prospect. In most cases, it'll only annoy them.

Every email exchange should sound human and get you one step closer to a fruitful relationship between the prospect and you.

The added value follow-up

Another way to send a follow-up email is to add value with every new email you send.

So, instead of giving all of your information in the first email, you add a bit more with every additional email in your sequence.

If you manage to nail the message and address their pain points accordingly, this strategy will make it harder for them to ignore you.

In both cases, you’ll want to make sure you give enough information without making the email too long.

You’ll see a great example of added-value follow-ups in the templates below.

To skip straight to it, check out this example follow-up email to book a meeting, with a 71% reply rate.

How soon should you send a follow-up email?

For the best results, create a follow-up schedule out of the amount of emails you wish to send (we recommend 4-9), plus the time delay between each email.

Time delays between emails are essential, as you neither want to overwhelm prospects, nor let them forget about you.

Here's one typical framework in our marketing team:

A screenshot of the lemlist campaign modifier. There is an email template included, with 4 scheduled emails. Each scheduled email has a time delay of 2-4 days between each.
  • 2-day delay between emails 1 and 2
  • 4-day delay between emails 2 and 3
  • 4-day delay between emails 3 and 4

Ultimately, you always want to figure out the time between follow-ups that works best for your prospects. Start with this set-up if you aren’t sure, then tweak it as you go to test out different schedules.

Once you’ve set up your schedule, put a system in place to make sure your follow-ups stop after a prospect replies.

If you’re a lemlist user, you can automate this step by going to your campaign settings and telling lemlist when to stop sending your sequence.

A screenshot from lemlist campaign settings, which allow you to stop a campaign when a prospect responds or books a meeting.

How to write a follow-up email subject line

Keep in mind that your subject line is the first thing your prospects see in their inboxes.

So, to maximize your open rate, it should always be short and sharp.

If we're talking about a follow-up after the first email in your sequence, the best way to proceed is to keep the same subject as in the previous email.

This way, all the emails from that sequence will be going under the same thread, and it will be easier for your prospect to follow along.

For lemlist users, all you have to do is leave the follow-up subject line blank, and the rest will be filled in automatically.

A screenshot from the lemlist campaign creator, with an empty subject line that will result in a Re: [previous subject line]

In other cases, you may want your follow-up to have a different subject line than the first email; for example, if you’re following up after having already met in person, or if you want the message to stand out from the first email.

In this case, keep these best practices in mind:

✅ Keep your subject line between 1-8 words

✅ Personalize your subject line to your prospects

✅ Add urgency so prospects reply sooner

✅ A/B test your subject lines to pinpoint the best results

To learn everything you need to know about cold outreach subject lines, use this complete guide to B2B cold email subject lines.

9 follow-up email template examples

Let’s get into the list of high-performing follow-up email templates. Each of these has 53-100% open rates, plus 42-87% reply rates.

If you find one that’s relevant for you, feel free to copy and paste it into your campaigns, or use these as inspiration to write your own high-conversion cold email follow-ups.

1. Follow-up email example after no response

For people operating in the marketing space, this is the perfect follow-up email framework if you're trying to establish a partnership with someone.

Hi {{firstName}},

Not sure if you’ve seen my last email, but I’m going to make this one super quick in order to not waste your time.

I’m 100% confident that the collaboration between {{companyName}} and [YOUR COMPANY] is a match made in heaven.  

Here’s why:

{{strong Argument}}

Plus, all indicators suggest that once we release it, it’s going to be a major hit, and it will bring us a lot of attention.

Let me know {{firstName}}, as I’m super interested to hear your thoughts.

Stay safe,
{{Signature}}

Follow-up email teardown:

  • It references the previous step to make a quick transition that's easy to follow.
  • If you use this email, do your research and replace the {{strongArgument}} custom tag with a sentence that will be different and personalized for every prospect.

Results: 14 emails sent, 86% open rate, 71% reply rate

2. Follow-up email to book meetings

This cold email follow-up was inspired by one of our users, Jeff Wenzel. It’s a great message to help you book more meetings.

Hello {{firstName}},

We’ve selected {{companyName}} campaign as our weekly “What could this campaign be doing better?” round table.

In essence, we choose one very lucky campaign and go through it top to bottom to see what we could do to help your project grow.

We usually do a brainstorming session with 2-3 people from my team. (I’ve attached a screenshot of our Zoom meeting below.)

[PERSONALIZED IMAGE]

Erin from my team also took some notes about all the ideas that we had, so if you’re free sometime I’d love to have a chat with you!

{{signature}}

P.S. Don’t want a follow up? {{unsubscribe}}

Here’s the personalized image Jeff included in his campaign:

A screenshot from a zoom call with 4 people, with a space in the corner for a personalized image of the prospect

Follow-up email teardown:

  • Seeing his first email failed to generate replies, Jeff switched the subject line and decided to make this follow-up special.
  • The custom image is there to grab attention and make the prospect visualize themself on the call with the team.
  • The simple call-to-action makes the prospect’s next step clear: reply to book a chat.

Results: 87% open and 23% reply rates

3. Sales follow-up email example

If you have high-quality content to share, a personalized video thumbnail strategy is the perfect solution to ramp up your click rate.

Here’s an example:

Subject: Introducing Impressius - franchise opportunity in {{country}}

Hi {{firstName}},

Thank you for your interest in learning more about becoming an Impressius licensee!

I've recorded this video message for you, click to watch it:

[PERSONALIZED VIDEO THUMBNAIL]

See you there,
{{signature}}

Here’s the personalized video thumbnail included in this follow up:

A personalized thumbnail of a video with a man in glasses speaking to the camera. The text reads "video for you {{firstName}}"

Follow-up email teardown:

  • There’s a quick reference to a previous connection to give context.
  • Your prospect feels special seeing you made a video for them.
  • A personalized video thumbnail shows prospects that you are a real person and encourages them to click to see what's behind it.

Results: 40+ sales meetings with videos for sales during a week

4. Follow-up email after a meeting

When you finish a meeting, a demo, or any type of pitch, you should always follow up right after the call.

Here’s one way you can do that:

Subject: As promised 😉

Quick follow up, as promised! It was great to connect and talk about your recruitment process at {{companyName}}.

Should you decide to give us the green light, here are the next steps.

{{nextSteps}}

Oh, one more thing, sending a little something. You’ll love it!

[PERSONALIZED IMAGE]

{{signature}}

Here’s the personalized image included in this campaign:

A personalized image with a woman with blond hair pointing to a picture of a present. The text reads "Click here {{firstName}}"

Follow-up email teardown:

  • The intro line is light, so the prospect gets context quickly.
  • Precisely defined next steps (personalized for each prospect) to make their lives easier.
  • You can add extra value by sending them something that will help you convince them to buy your product/service. Then entice them to click with a personalized image that has creative custom text.

Results: 20 emails sent, 85% open rate, 64% reply rate

5. Follow-up email after an event or a conference

If you’ve already met a prospect in person, you’ll want to send a follow-up to keep them interested.

Despite being a follow-up, it will be the first email sent in your sequence, so treat it carefully. Here’s one example to help you out:

Subject line: Thanks for our chat at {{EventName}}!

Hey {{firstName}},

It was really nice to discuss {{topic}} with you during the conference.

Coming back to the office, I thought this video would be interesting for you to dive even deeper into the subject, since it highlights how {{solution}}.

What do you think?

Talk soon,
{{signature}}

Follow-up email teardown:

  • If you use this template, make sure not to wait too long to send it. Regardless of the timing, refresh the prospect’s memory of the event with the {{topic}} custom tag.
  • When you meet in person, if you manage to tease the prospect without revealing your best secrets, this will give you the perfect opportunity to add a link that goes into more detail about what you can offer them.
  • Tailor your call-to-action to invite the prospect to reply and continue the conversation.

Results: Tested after SaaStock 2019, with a 33% conversion rate

6. The last follow-up template

This follow-up email works great when you notice that the prospect hasn't replied to any of your emails.

Since the recipient probably isn’t the right person to talk to in the company, the idea with this follow-up is to have them connect you with the decision-maker.

Hey {{firstName}},

Apologies for bombarding your inbox like this.

It seems like you’re not the right person to talk to about {{Topic}}. Is there any chance you could let me know who’s in charge of this?

And don’t worry, this will be my last email 😉

Thanks in advance!
{{signature}}

Follow-up email teardown:

  • This shows you understand that you might have sent too many emails and that you appreciate they've stuck around.
  • Use the {{topic}} custom tag to make it absolutely clear what your email is referring to, so you make sure that it's easy for your prospect to connect you with the right person.

Whether they answer or not, this message helps establish good relations for the future. You're sending a signal that you are not too pushy and that you are only trying to address the right person.

7. Networking follow-up email template

This is a follow-up email sample inspired by Cam, one of lemlist's first users. You can see it generates interest and replies with a casual tone and a personalized image.

Hi {firstName}},

[Personalized image]

I hate being a pest, but it seems I'm destined to imitate one :-)

Just wanted to see if my offer of coffee and a catch-up made it through your bulging inbox?

If you've 30 mins it'd be lovely to just hear what's new for you with life and work.

Let me know or just book in a time that suits you.

Kindest,
{{signature}}

Here is the personalized image Cam included in his campaign:

A personalized image of a man holding an empty coffee cup with a perplexed expression. The text reads "no coffee, {{firstname}}?"

Follow-up email teardown:

  • Connecting your follow-up to the first message in a funny way helps keep things casual, like how you would normally speak.
  • The personalized image captures prospects' attention.
  • The rest of the email comes back to the main point in a straightforward way.

Results: 45 emails sent, 100% open rate & 60% reply rate in the original example from Cam.

8. Webinar follow-up email template

Checking back in after a candidate has already interacted with you or your content is a great way to hone in on their interests and keep them connected.

Subject: {{firstName}}, quick question about my revenue-driven marketing webinar

Hey {{firstName}},

Yesterday you attended my webinar about revenue-driven marketing at The Sales Expert Channel.

Quick question: was it valuable for you? Did you get some insights? I’d love to hear your feedback.

I’ve also researched your company {{companyName}}, and thought it made sense to share some more content with you.

[PERSONALIZED IMAGE]

Here is the list of content that might be valuable for you:

Case study on how to generate $300k in sales opportunities from an account-based marketing program

Full-funnel B2B Marketing Framework Overview

I would love to invite you to join my Full-Funnel B2B Marketing community here and connect on LinkedIn.

Looking forward to your feedback,

{{signature}}

Here’s the personalized image included in this campaign:

A man at a conference table holding a thumbs-up sign in front of his computer. There is a square in front of his screen that can be personalized with the prospect's homepage

Follow-up email teardown:

  • If you use this follow-up, don’t forget to send a recording or recap of the webinar quickly.
  • These emails are a great way to connect and expand your network on LinkedIn or any other platform.
  • Andrei also added a cool custom image to continue raising his brand awareness, with the prospect's website screenshot to make it more personalized.
  • If you have an engaged audience in your list, promoting your top content or your next webinar also helps keep prospects engaged.

Results: 53% open rate, 42% reply rate in this campaign example by Andrei.

9. Follow-up email Interview

Job hunting? Here’s a great way to follow up with your interviewer after you’ve had your first meeting.

Subject: Thank you for the interview

Thank you for your time yesterday, it was really nice meeting you, {{Name}}.

Our discussion around {{jobDescription}} and the vision of {{companyName}} confirmed that this post would be the perfect fit in terms of both tasks and values.

I’m particularly excited about the upcoming {{launch}}, as I believe it could really help the team {{objective}} and reach {{deliverable}}.

I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions if you need more details about my profile.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Stay safe,
{{signature}}

Follow-up email teardown:

  • This opens the conversation by showing appreciation and giving context to the email.
  • The objective of this type of email is to stand out and confirm you're the right fit for the company. You want your {{launch}} and {{deliverable}} custom tags to become content that proves you understand what's at stake and that you'll get it done. Show your expertise and passion!

Key takeaways

Here’s everything you should keep in mind about sending cold email follow ups:

  1. You should follow up: Sending 4-9 follow-up emails can increase your reply rates without being spammy, helping you connect with busy prospects who might have missed your initial message.
  2. Test different follow-up strategies: Try reminder follow-ups to stay on prospects’ minds, or value-based follow-ups to gradually share information with each new email.
  3. Time delays matter: Schedule follow-ups strategically with a 2- 4-day gap between emails to avoid overwhelming prospects while staying on their minds.
  4. Write high-conversion subject lines: Maintain a concise subject line consistent with the initial email for follow-ups within the same sequence. For new subject lines, keep them to 1-8 words, personalize them, make them urgent, and A/B test for maximum impact.
  5. Build relationships: To make personal connections with prospects, reference past interactions, use personalized content like images or videos, and write messages that actually sound like a human.

Finally, always remember the golden rule of cold email outreach:

More follow-ups = more replies

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