The Anatomy of a Follow-up Email That Will Generate a Response

Let’s get one thing straight first – email marketing isn’t dead. 

It’s pretty much alive and kicking, and it can generate some impressive results, but only if you have a good strategy. 

The thing is that 44% of sales reps give up after just one attempt to reach their prospects, which means that they practically let a number of business opportunities slip through the cracks. This way, you’re only doing your competitors a favor. 

The truth is that 80% of sales require at least 5 follow-ups, which means that you should by no means lose hope if your prospects don’t reply after the first couple of attempts. 

Here are some tips that will help you structure your follow-up emails to capture your prospects’ attention and get them to respond. 

1. Leverage Trigger Events

Email sequence based on trigger

Touching base won’t get you very far as such follow-ups provide no value to your prospects. 

Avoid phrases such as “Just checking in” or “I’m following up on my previous email,” because that way you only clutter your recipients’ inboxes without actually nurturing them. 

And nurturing your potential customers means offering them helpful information or useful resources that they can benefit from. 

Trigger events can be an excellent reason to follow up because they indicate that a particular prospect is interested in your product or service. For example, if you notice that someone has visited your website, signed up for your newsletter, or opened your last email, it’s a sign that they’re looking for a solution for a certain problem that you can help them with. 

Your follow-up email could be something along the lines of: 

Subject Line: Need more information about [what your business does]

Hello First Name, 

I noticed you signed up for our newsletter and I’d like to offer you some additional resources that you might find useful.

Resource 1

Resource 2

Resource 3

If you have any questions regarding anything related to [your field of expertise], don’t hesitate to reach out to me, and I’ll be happy to help. 


Your Signature

Subject Line: How to [pain point you solve]?

First Name, 

I’d like to offer you my help regarding [what your business does], so if you have any questions, we can jump on a call and discuss them. 

Schedule a meeting in my calendar, and let’s see how you can solve your problem: LINK

Looking forward to your call,

Your signature

Having a collection of sales email templates that you can adjust and customize for a particular situation can come in handy in case of writer’s block. 

2. Nail Your Subject Line

Email with a subject

This is a very important part of a follow-up email because it will improve your visibility in your prospects’ inboxes. 

Given that an average person receives more than 400 commercial emails a month, it’s obvious that you need to stand out from all that noise if you want to be noticed – and only a catchy and engaging subject line can help you do that. 

There’s no magic formula for a perfect, high-converting subject line, but there are some best practices that you can follow:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Your subject line shouldn’t be longer than 50 characters. Otherwise, it won’t display in its entirety on smartphones.
  • Don’t be deceptive. Your subject line should be aligned with your message. While it’s OK to intrigue your recipients and be provocative, you don’t want to trick your recipients into opening your email and mislead them.  
  • Use numbers and data. Vague statements in subject lines don’t perform well. Corroborating your claims with data will get your recipient to notice your subject line and open your email because it tells them what they can expect if they read your message. 
  • Ask compelling questions. This tactic is also great as it will draw your recipients in and pique their curiosity. 
  • Mention your recipients’ pain points. Such an approach will indicate that you’ll offer a solution and provide value to your recipients. 

3. Get Straight to the Point

Don’t make an elaborate intro – your recipients might be busy, and they don’t waste time reading lengthy messages that don’t concern them. 

If you go on and on, the odds are that you’ve lost them and that they will stop reading your email before even getting to the main part. 

Use as few words as possible and get rid of so-called “empty words” to get your message across.  If you aren’t sure how to achieve this, Hemingway App, an online tool, will help you eliminate complex sentences and make your writing clear and concise. 

Subject Line: [Title of your blog post/resource]

Hi First Name, 

We wrote a really helpful blog post about [your audience’s pain point], and I really think that you should read it. There are a couple of points that you’ll definitely find interesting. 

Check it out on the following link: LINK

If you have any additional questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them. Schedule a meeting with me on the link to my calendar that you can find in my signature. 

Looking forward to your call,

Your Signature

4. Follow Up Even After No Response 

Don’t let the silence on your recipients’ part discourage you. 

There can be various reasons for this, and unless you get an explicit “I don’t want to receive your emails,” response, there’s no need to stop reaching out. Of course, only after you’ve made sure that the address is valid and active. 

Maybe they failed to see your previous emails, or are still thinking about your offer, so why not give them a little nudge. 

Subject Line: Still think you should give [your company]a chance

Hi First Name,

I wouldn’t be so persistent if I didn’t believe that [your company] couldn’t help you [solve a particular challenge.]

Our [service offering]is [benefit 1]and [benefit 2], meaning that it’s customized for your needs and requirements. 

Let’s jump on a quick call, and I’ll explain this in more detail.

Book a meeting on the following link: LINK


Your Signature

5. Add Value 

We already mentioned that it’s of crucial importance to provide value to your recipients. The principle of reciprocity is a very powerful psychological mechanism, and it boils down to the fact that if you offer something – be it a free tip, discount, or resource – to your prospects, they will feel obliged to return the favor. 

Besides, that way you won’t come off as an opportunistic salesperson trying to convince them to purchase something from you – you’ll be perceived as someone helpful, they can reach out for advice. 

You can add value in many different ways, and it’s always a good idea to use your previous experience and share what you’ve learned from your existing customers. Social proof will help you build credibility and trust with your prospects, so don’t hesitate to use it. 

Subject Line: Having trouble [solving a particular challenge]?

You’re not the only one, First Name. 

A lot of our clients complain that [describe a common issue your service solves,] and I thought it would be a good idea to share a couple of tips on how they overcome it: 

 [tip 1]

[tip 2]

[tip 3]

Hope you’ll find this helpful, and in case you have some additional questions, we can have a call because there are a few more ideas that I’d like to propose. 

Book a meeting with me and let’s discuss how to [solve a problem]: LINK 

Best regards, 

Your Signature

Following up can be challenging, mainly because most people are afraid that they will annoy their prospects, but if you plan your strategy right, you don’t have to worry about crossing the line. These examples can help you structure your follow-up emails based on different perspectives and get your potential clients to respond. 

About The Author:

Milana Jović

Milana Jović

SEO Manager at VanillaSoft
The VanillaSoft sales engagement platform keeps your sales team busy and focused on engaging your leads and growing revenue.

Maximize your deal flow and automate your sales cadence with the VanillaSoft sales engagement platform.

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