December 1, 2020

How to Write a Follow-up Email After No Response

Are you trying to learn how to write a follow-up email?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Whether you’re conducting outreach for sales, link building, or PR, follow-up emails are arguably one of the most important aspects of any cold email campaign.

Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics

According to a study from Backlinko, 91.5% of all outreach emails are ignored.

This same study showed that a single follow-up email can increase your response rate by as much as 65.8%.

If this doesn’t convince you that follow-up emails are worth the effort, other studies have similar findings.

According to a study by Yesware, you have a 21% chance of getting a reply to your second email if the first goes unanswered. In this study, even the 10th email in the sequence got a 7% response rate.

Despite this, Yesware’s study also reported that 70% of email sequences only contain one outreach attempt!

Follow-up emails aren’t just about getting more responses, they’re also about being persistent. 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say yes.

Unfortunately, 92% of people give up after hearing “no” four times.

This means that only 8% of salespeople are generating 80% of sales – simply because they follow up.

Needless to say, unless you like missing out on sales, follow-up emails are an essential part of your outreach strategy.

Now that you understand the value of following up, here’s how to write a follow-up email after no response.

When to send a follow up email

So, knowing that follow-up emails are a valuable part of any outreach campaign, when is the best time to send a follow-up email?

The answer is, not long.

According to data from Statista, many workplace professionals are checking their emails as much as every few hours. Sometimes even outside of work hours.

Because of this, the vast majority of emails are opened and read the day they’re sent. If the recipient is going to reply at all, they’re likely to do this the same day as well.

This means that it’s safe to assume that if someone doesn’t reply to your email the day it’s sent, they’re unlikely to reply at all.

In fact, according to the previously mentioned Yesware study, about 90% of recipients open and reply to emails the day they get them – if they even do so all.

So, with this in mind, how long should you wait before sending a follow-up email?

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to wait at least 3 days before sending your first follow-up email. This shows the prospect that you respect their time, and allows you to be persistent without being annoying.

After that, you should wait 3 days before sending any additional follow-up messages. If you plan on sending more than 2 follow-up emails (as you should), then you’ll want to space them out more and more as the sequence goes on.

As an example, your emails might be spaced out as follows:

  • Day 1: Initial email
  • Day 4: First follow-up email
  • Day 7: Second follow-up email
  • Day 14: Third follow-up email
  • Day 28: Fourth follow-up email.
  • … once a month for any additional follow-up emails.

The sequence of emails you use and how you schedule them will depend on your specific use case, but it’s important that you space the emails out enough that you aren’t annoying to your targets.

You absolutely should experiment with the scheduling of your follow-up emails, but the above gives you a good starting point. Go with it unless you find that it’s not working for you.

3 things to do before sending a follow-up email

Before you send your first follow-up email, it’s important that you’re prepared.

Normally, you’d want to do these things before you send a follow-up, but if you haven’t, here are three things you should do before you send a follow-up email.

1. Consider automating your follow-up emails with software

Email outreach software can be a powerful way to automate the process of sending and scheduling follow-up emails.

Instead of manually entering tasks into your CRM or marking your calendar to follow-up with a prospect, outreach software can automatically send follow-up emails at a predetermined time.

Sequencing features allow you to tell the software exactly when to send the email. Good outreach software will also check for responses from different email addresses, forwards, or autoresponders so prospects who’ve responded aren’t annoyed with unnecessary follow-ups.

If you’re completely new to cold email outreach, I recommend hand-writing every email and follow-up on your own before using software to automate the process. Once you’re comfortable with the process of sending cold emails and you have a working system in place, you can scale it up.

If you’re ready to start automating your outreach, check out PitchFunnel. It does everything mentioned above, and more.

You can schedule your emails to be sent during working hours, block out certain days (such as weekends), and personalize your emails at scale with the use of merge tags.

Following up is absolutely essential to any outreach campaign. Automating this will allow you to focus on more important things, like closing deals with the prospects that actually respond.

2. Determine your objective

Before you send a follow-up email, it’s important to consider what you’re even after in the first place.

It could be that you want to…

  • Get more information from your contact.
  • Schedule a call with your prospect.
  • Close a deal with a lead.
  • Earn a backlink.
  • Pitch a story to an editor.

Whatever the case, determining your objective will help you make better decisions along the way.

Because every situation is different, there’s not much I can say to help here. Exactly what you’re looking to accomplish with your email outreach campaign will change depending on the nature of the campaign.

What you’re looking for may even change between follow-up attempts.

Whatever the case, make sure you know exactly what you’re after, in detail, so you can clearly communicate this to your prospect.

3. Identify additional touch points

With the fact that professionals in the workplace are sending and receiving a combined 127 emails per day, it makes sense that they might overlook a cold email landing in their inbox.

This is why it’s important to leverage multiple touch points in your outreach campaign.

Yes, email is your best method of communication overall.

However, by leveraging other forms of engagement with your prospects, you can further increase your chances of getting a response.

For best results, you may want to explore the possibility of leveraging an omni-channel approach when launching an outreach campaign.

One example of this is to leverage the power of social media to help get on your prospects’ radar.

To do this, find out what your prospect’s favorite social media channels are, and engage with them on these channels before and between your follow-up efforts.

Think about it – if they see your name on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, they’ll recognize your name when it appears in their inbox.

This familiarity will result in them being more likely to open and respond to your emails.

In fact, Groove’s founder and CEO Alex Turnbull used this exact pre-outreach social engagement checklist before emailing any of his prospects to promote his blog post.

By engaging with his prospects on social media before reaching, he was able to get an impressive 83% response rate when he finally sent his emails.

The bottom line is this – while email is your best bet for getting direct contact with someone, leveraging social media touch points before and between outreach attempts can help you get on their radar. This will increase your chances of getting a response.

How to write a follow-up email in 5 steps

Now that you know how important it is to follow up, when to send your follow-up emails, and how to be prepared to do so, let’s go through how to write and send a follow-up email.

Step 1. Connect and engage with your prospects up on social media

As mentioned above, social media can be a great way to get on the radar of your prospects.

Just because you’ve sent an initial email doesn’t mean it’s too late to do this, either. Since follow-up emails are already more likely to receive a response, doing this between outreach attempts can work in your favor.

When connecting with your prospects on social media, it’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t trying to sell them anything.

Instead, you want to focus on leveraging this as an opportunity to engage and build your relationship with them. Look for ways to get them to recognize you by giving as much value as you can.

Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Visit their LinkedIn profile.
  • Add them on LinkedIn.
  • Follow them on Twitter.
  • Like and comment on their posts.
  • Share something they’ve recently written and tag them in the post.
  • Comment on their blog.

Notice how none of these are selfish. They all focus on giving – this is the key.

This has to do with the principle of reciprocity.

The principle of reciprocity in psychology means that when someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give something back in return.

Have you ever had a friend buy you lunch, and in return, you’ve wanted to buy them dinner? That was the principle of reciprocity in action.

The same principle applies to cold email outreach. By giving value to your prospects before asking for anything, they’re more likely to return the favor.

Step 2. Craft a subject line that communicates value

If you’re following up in an existing email thread, it’s likely that your subject line will be “Re: your initial subject line

This is fine, but you need to make sure you follow best practices when writing your initial subject line.

Another case of sending a follow-up email is when you just had a call with your prospect.

This situation is a little different in that you’ll need to craft a brand new subject line that addresses why you’re following up with them.

In any case, when writing a subject line, two things are key:

  • Personalization – This can be achieved by simply inserting their name into the subject line. For example “Thanks for the call, NAME!”
  • Relevance – This depends more on the specific reason you’re sending the follow up. A common format I use to establish relevance is to reference the type of interaction we last had. For example, “NAME – Regarding our chat”

Combined with upfront engagement on your part, a relevant, personalized subject line gives you the best chance at getting your email opened.

Step 3. Tell them why you’re emailing them

After you’ve engaged with your prospect on social media and crafted the perfect follow-up subject line, the next step is to tell them exactly why you’re emailing them.

In simple terms, just tell the recipient what you want. If this hasn’t changed since your previous email, remind them.

Here are some examples of how you can do this:

  • [Product name] could really help you [element of prospect’s role] more effectively. I’d love to have a quick chat to find out if I’m right.
  • Just wanted to see if you’re interested in seeing a draft of the article idea I emailed you about last week. Mind if I send it over?
  • What do you think about the story idea I emailed you about last week? It seems like something your readers would really enjoy!

Finally, do your best to remove any “I” statements that involve value you get from the exchange. It’s unlikely that the prospect cares much about what you want.

Step 4. Add a strong call-to-action (CTA)

Make your email easy to respond to. Do this by being very specific about what you want.

For example, if you want to schedule a meeting, give them an exact date and time, or include a link to your calendar for them to schedule it themselves.

If you want to meet in person, propose an exact location.

Here are some examples:

  • Does 3 p.m. on Wednesday work for you?
  • Are you the right person to talk to about this? If not, would you be willing to refer me to the person who is?
  • Mind if I send the docs your way for review?

A lot of outreach professionals make the mistake of being too vague in their ask. Make your call-to-action clear by telling them exactly what to do as a next step.

Step 5. Close your email

Close your email in a way that feels natural to you. It could be as if you’re having a casual conversation with a friend, or a more professional tone. Whatever your preference.

Here are some examples:

  • Let me know what you think! [Your name]
  • Let me know if you have any questions. [Your name]
  • Speak soon! [Your name]
  • I look forward to hearing from you! [Your name]


There you have it – everything you need to know about sending follow-up emails.

Hopefully this helps ease the anxiety of not knowing what to say or how to say it.

What are your tips for sending follow-up emails? Let me know in the comments!