What Are Follow Up Emails and How to Use Them Effectively

Follow-up emails are a great source of valuable information. If you plan them carefully, you can expect high engagement rates (eg open rate and click rate). This article aims to help you strategically apply follow-ups and increase the value of your email marketing.

what is a follow up email?

A follow-up email is an email you send after any significant point in the customer journey for the purpose of gathering information.

You can send follow-up emails to people who download your content asking if they found it valuable.

You can send a follow-up email to people who are in the middle of a free trial of your service, with questions about their experience.

You can follow up after an event to stay in touch.

You can schedule your follow-ups as autoresponders to create personalized programs that perfectly fit the needs and interests of your subscribers.

how to write a follow up email

Here are some tips to help you write an effective follow-up email.

1. start with the cta in mind

Always think about your goal first. what do you need to know exactly? what do you want the recipient to do?

this will determine your cta and the remaining content leading up to it.

Don’t have a clear goal? maybe it’s not such a great idea to send the email after all.

2. pay attention to your subject line

make it stand out. However short or long it may be, it must be specific. make sure the most important information is at the beginning in case it gets cut off in your inbox. use the preheader to complement it and add the information you can’t (or don’t want) to include in the subject line. here’s an example of a longer subject line that makes the preheader irrelevant since you don’t see it anyway. includes specific information about what the email is related to, which makes it much easier for the reader to decide whether to open it.


these two (follow-up emails sent to inactive customers) not so much:

(Also, it looks like the preheader isn’t used there at all, and could really help clarify these subject lines.)

Also, using “cheats” like “FYI” is probably a bit old-fashioned now: people quickly see them and become blind to them. For a follow-up email, it might be a good idea to include the recipient’s name to make it more personable. however, try it out to see if that works for your audience – people have different preferences when it comes to email personalization.

3. but be personal, anyway

make the email look like it was sent by a real human being: people really don’t want to talk to brands; they want to talk to people. And just because the follow-up email is automated doesn’t mean it has to sound robotic. after all, there is always one person behind writing the copy and setting up the automation rules. so make yourself seen.

this means, use natural language. like you’re actually having a conversation with the person you’re emailing.

A big trend today is sending plain text (or fake plain text) emails that look and feel like emails from someone you know, often with a real person’s name attached to the email. Return address. a great example is the emails sent by moo, or the “robot” of it. This post-order follow-up email requesting feedback shows exactly what I mean. everyone knows it’s an automated email, but still, it doesn’t actually read like one. And what’s even better, you know there’s someone on the other end of the line who will read what you have to say.

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and check out this simple email subscription confirmation from really good emails (a really good email)

example 2:

4. It doesn’t have to be short, but keep it interesting

In certain cases, such as sales follow-up emails, you may want to send a longer email. the plain text version even encourages longer copy. but whether this is a good idea will depend on various factors such as:

  • the type of email you’re sending
  • who your audience is
  • what stage of awareness are they in: do they need a story first to reach them? Where do you want the email to take them, or are they ready to click that button and all you need is a few clear sentences to encourage them?

adjust the content of the email to the needs of the recipient and, whatever the length, don’t forget your goal. make it clear all the way.

And format your email clearly: Forget about long paragraphs (even if they are very interesting, you risk losing a lot of attention) and very long sentences.

Don’t be afraid to try something different, there really isn’t one size fits all. Try different types of text to see what works for your customers.

when should I send follow-up emails?

I recommend following a simple principle: send a follow-up email whenever there is a need for information that justifies sending one. obviously, you should always consider the preferences of your target audience and use common sense.

Those information needs vary from company to company and depend on whether you operate in a b2b or b2c environment. here are some common examples:

b2c follow-up emails

  • welcome email – An email sent each time a new person joins your email marketing list. You can use this email to show new subscribers what they can expect from your email marketing program.

You can use the welcome email series to onboard new customers. here’s a blog explaining how to do it right: how to onboard new customers with welcome emails

  • thank you email – There are many reasons to send a thank you email. Perhaps someone bought your product or participated in an event you organized? follow up to get valuable feedback that will help you improve your customer experience.
  • outreach tracking: these are tough nuts to crack. here’s what ada durzyńska, editor of the getresponse blog, had to say:

As the editor of the blog, I receive hundreds of outreach emails every day and, more surprisingly, twice as many follow-up emails. Why is that? well, a lot of times, people want to follow up too quickly, sometimes they follow up twice on an email sent 10 minutes earlier.

It’s natural for a person to want to know if their email has been read and to want answers as soon as possible. but give the person you’re contacting more time to read your email and get familiar with your offer. if you want fast tracking, please wait at least a few hours. if it’s not an urgent matter, the earliest you should follow up is the next day.

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Always remember to attach the above disclosure message to your follow-up in whatever way you see fit (forward, reply, or as an attachment).

As for the email copy, make it sound friendly, cheerful, and be patient. try including a question in your follow-up email, it’s harder for the reader to skip over. so, for example, swap out the usual “just sure you saw this” for something a bit more enticing, like “what do you think of my offer?”, or even something as simple as “silence is a ‘ No’? ?“.

Also, while making the email as discreet as possible for the reader, don’t be too modest. a good “I’m following this email, because it’s worth not giving up!” It will take you beyond “I know you’re probably too busy to read those emails, and I really don’t want to bother you…”. and, in the interest of being nice to others, he leaves out the “are you alive?” and “I am copying all your management in this email”.

Make your subject line stand out, because the more creative you are, the more likely you are to get a response, be it positive or negative. Just to be clear, “a quick follow up” is the subject of (probably) 99% of follow up emails.

  • Free Trial Tracking: If you provide a saas product, you probably offer a free trial period where people can test if you provide a solution to their problems. send at least one follow-up email during the checkout to monitor customer satisfaction.
  • product campaign follow-up: so you’ve launched a promotional campaign for a new product. track the conversion and send a follow-up email to those who visited the landing page.
  • customer satisfaction survey: ask your customers if they are satisfied with your product and the overall experience. you can send a simple follow up email with an nps score. segment contacts based on the perception of your business and personalize subsequent communication. For example, find out what bothers the dissatisfied, what you can do to improve the customer experience, ask the happy for a testimonial.
  • Customer feedback: Use follow-up emails to check if customers are still satisfied with your product after purchase. Remember that satisfied customers are likely to come back and recommend your product. such a feedback loop with your customers gives you valuable information that helps you develop your product and can be used as user-generated content for marketing purposes.

b2b follow-up emails

the customer journey in a b2b environment can be longer and more complex. Here are some practical tips from the expert, Beata Patfield, Senior Business Development Executive at Getresponse:

event tracking

be nice! call them by their name, ask them about something personal that you talked about earlier, show that you really listened. Did your child beat those sats?

review your past interactions. Was there a question that I was supposed to answer them? make sure you do it now.

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keep it brief. don’t write a three paragraph email just to ask them if they like your product.

leave the ball in his court. be sure to end strongly with a specific and actionable cta: ‘let me know what you think!’ or ‘when can we take a call to discuss your feedback?’ is always better than ‘let’s touch base’ or ‘waiting to hear from you’.

and finally, don’t forget the cc. if they had a colleague involved in the conversation, be sure to include them. otherwise, you’ll be seen as forgetful at best and disrespectful at worst.

sales follow-up email

speed matters. Contact your prospects as soon as you can after hearing from them. Do you really want your competition to beat you? do not give up. it may take 5-7 attempts to reach your prospect. check your metrics. Do your emails open? Just like with online marketing, it matters what time you send your emails and what you put in your subject line. if you get opens but no replies, refresh your content. use multiple channels if one is not enough. no response to your emails? call them. not pick up? Look them up on LinkedIn on Skype: You have so many options at your fingertips, all you have to do is look. be flexible and adapt. Once you’ve established two-way communication, have a plan but be open to change. your process is to answer the query, demo the product and then make a decision, but your prospect can change things and you just have to accept it. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

If you like the idea of ​​automated emails – using autoresponders and marketing automation workflows to send emails at specific time intervals or in response to your customers’ actions, this is the perfect article for you. you:

30+ automated emails you should be sending today

follow-up email vs. follow-up email cycles

some time ago we did a podcast with dr. Dave Chaffey, CEO and co-founder of the digital marketing advice site Smart Insights, where he gives the following tips:

“You need to look at the life cycle of the potential customer as they interact with your business and figure out how you can provide them with reminders to encourage them to buy from you.

(…) one of the contact points to start with is the welcome. The first thing you can do is create a welcome series instead of a welcome email. the welcome sequence is the first impression. that first email you send is, in a way, the most important. And if you make it a sequence, you can engage your audience from the very beginning of the subscription.”

so think about the customer journey and decide if a single email or a series of emails will deliver the best results. here is a comparison between a single email and an email cycle.

when do you send follow-up emails?

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Feel free to share your fresh thoughts and best practices in the comment box below. We’d love to hear more about tracking you.

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