Getting someone’s attention is hard. And getting it by email? Even harder.
So, why is it that when we send an email following an interview, networking event, or cold email outreach and get no immediate response, one of our first thoughts tends to be “I guess they’re just not interested…?” And then many of us may or may not decide to passively send an email to “check in?”
I’ll tell you why. Because it’s easy to just give up! That’s right. It’s easy to think that it’s not worth your time to keep pushing or to follow up until you get the response you were hoping for.
But easy is not always right. And it’s definitely not the approach I’d want you to use — especially when it comes to follow-up emails!
Follow-up emails, in sales, career development and job searching alike, are often where the magic happens. Yet, so few people do it well!
Let me show you what I mean with just 3 statistics on the value of follow-up emails in sales.
- Follow-up emails can get more responses than the original email. One study saw an 18% response rate to the first email, 13% to the 4th, and 27% to the 6th. And those numbers make sense considering…
- People tend to say “no” before they say yes. In sales, roughly 80% of prospects say “no” 4 times before they say “yes.” But, unfortunately — and here’s where it gets interesting…
- Most people give up after one email. Even when there’s money to be gained, 70% of salespeople give up if they don’t receive a reply to their first email!
Do you see why sending a follow-up email is so important? Response rates increase when you do, and that's when most people say yes! But so few people are making the effort to send those emails in the first place.
That’s why, in this post, I’m going to show you how to write a good follow-up email so you can stop “just checking in” and start getting responses that lead to results and help you get ahead!
Here’s a quick overview of the questions and topics I’ll cover along the way:
- What is a follow-up email?
- When do you send a follow-up email?
- How to write a follow-up email
- Follow-up email templates
- How to keep track of the emails you need to follow up on
- Let’s dive into that first question now!
What Is A Follow-Up Email?
A follow-up email is an email or series of emails that you send to get an update on something that’s ongoing or to get a response to something that was left unanswered in a previous email.
Follow-up emails are typically sent after:
- Submitting a job application
- Phone & onsite interviews
- 2nd and 3rd round interviews
- Informational interviews
- Career fairs, networking events
- Cold email outreach
- After no response to your first email & subsequent follow up emails
Later, I’ll share example templates you can use to write follow-up emails for each of those situations. But first, I want to talk to you about when is the best time to send a follow-up email.
When Do You Send A Follow-Up Email?
As I showed you earlier, one follow up email isn’t always enough. Sometimes, it’s the 5th follow-up email that will get you the response you’re after!
But planning when each of those emails reaches the other person’s inbox is definitely something you’ll want to do thoughtfully. While sending several follow-up emails can make you seem persistent, it could also make the other person find you annoying if you follow up too frequently.
Follow Up Strategies
If you’re following up after a call, interview, or meeting, your first follow-up email should be a simple thank you that's sent 30 minutes – 2 hours after.
If you’re following up on a cold email, give it 2 business days to send your first follow up email.
But what about the follow-up emails that come after that? How often is just right? Well, unless the other person has given you some sort of timeline (e.g. “I’ll get back to you in two weeks.”), every 5 business days is a good rule of thumb.
Our studies have shown that following up every 5 business days will boost your response rate from 15%- 25%+!
Follow Up Email Subject Lines
Before I teach you how to write a good follow-up email, I want to share a few email subject lines that will actually get your emails opened.
This is important because 47% of people decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone.
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend too much time thinking about how to craft the perfect subject line.
Use something simple and to the point like one of these:
After a phone or onsite interview
- Thank you for your time today, [Name]
- Following up from our interview today
After submitting a job application
- Do you need anything else from me?
- Following up on my application
2nd & 3rd post interview follow-up
- Any updates on the [job title] position?
- Really enjoyed our conversation, [Name]
- Here's another solution to [Pain Point]
- Follow-up regarding [Interview, Budget Plan, VVP, etc.]
- I thought you might find this helpful, [Name]!
After meeting at a career fair or networking event
- It was great meeting you at [Name of Event]!
- Really enjoyed our conversation at [Name of Event]!
Cold email outreach
- Quick question
- [Mutual Connection] said we should get in touch
- Here's an idea to help with you with [Pain Point]
- About your work
- Congrats on your [Promotion, Publication, Accomplishment]
- Can we chat about [Company, Service, Role, Product, etc.]
After no response
- You may be interested in [Idea/Topic]
- I have some great info on [Idea/Topic]
- Missed you again
- I also wanted to mention..
- Let's take another look
- Too busy?
Keep in mind that response rates have been shown to drop 30% with subject lines that are in all caps! So be sure to use normal sentence case in your email subject line.
How To Write A Follow-Up Email
Alright, now let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of a good follow-up email.
Whether you’re following up after an informational interview to learn about a career path, a final round interview for your dream job, or anything in between, your follow-up email should include:
A short introduction. Address the other person by name (e.g. Hi [Name],) and then get straight to the point.
Context for why you’re emailing them. Let them know what you’re following up on so that they have an opportunity to remember either a previous conversation or your last email.
Something of value. Show the other person that you’re not just passively sending out mass emails. Offer value for the recipient of your email by including an attachment or link of something related to their personal or professional interests. Bonus points if it’s related to something you talked about with them during a previous conversation!
A call-to-action. Remember, a good follow up email isn’t just “checking in”. It’s an opportunity to make moves! So, make it easy for them to take the next step by telling them exactly what you hope for them to do in response to your email.
An expression of gratitude. Remember to say thank you for their time. It’s simple but sometimes surprisingly easy to forget!
Now, you may be thinking, “But what if I don’t have their email address?” In which case, you’re in luck. Because that part is super easy!
Just head over to Mailscoop where you can easily find the email addresses of people you want to reach out to as long as you know their first name, last name, and their company’s website address.
Tip: Want to learn more about how to add value when applying for a job? Check out this article on how to create a Value Validation Project!
How To Add Value To Your Follow-Up Emails
Before we move on to some templates, let’s talk about the hardest part of writing a good follow-up email: including something of value. At first, it can be confusing to provide value to someone you might not know too well. But it gets easier if you focus less on getting something (info about a job opening, a referral, etc.) from your new contact and more on building a genuine connection!
Here a few ideas on how to provide value in an email so that you can increase your chances of getting a helpful reply:
Valuable connections. Do you know someone who can help the recipient of your follow-up email to achieve a goal? If so, include a bit about why you think the introduction could be beneficial in your email. Just don’t actually make the introduction in the email. Save that for a separate email with the two people you’d like to introduce to one another.
Educational content. If you come across an article, video, or podcast that relates to your contact’s professional or personal interests, send it in your follow-up email. This sounds easy. But the real value will come from doing the following: 1) letting them know why the content made you think of them 2) listing a few of the takeaway points 3) asking for their opinion of something mentioned in the content.
Your progress. Have you taken action on a piece of your contact’s advice? If so, let them know specifically what advice you followed, what it helped you achieve, and a question related to how you take another step forward. And remember, this advice doesn’t need to come directly from the other person to you. It could be something you found on their LinkedIn, website, blog, etc.
Value Validation Projects. This one’s my favorite for job seekers! Let’s say you’ve recently spoken to someone about an exciting job opportunity at a company you’d love to work for. Well, if this person could have some say in the hiring process, why not show them you’re the right person for the job with a project that showcases your relevant skills?
That’s the essence of a Value Validation Project — one of the best methods for standing out during the hiring process and showing that you’re following-up because you’re confident you’re a good candidate for the job!
Follow-Up Email Example Templates
Let’s see now what a follow-up email template looks like when we put everything together!
Example #1: After Submitting A Job Application
Subject: Any updates on the [Job Title] position?
I recently applied for the [Job Title] position at [Name of Company]. After speaking with [Name of Person] on your [Name of Department] team about [Specific problem for the company], I put together this short report with some research and a few ideas I have on how [Name of Company] can [solution to the problem].
Would you mind taking a look? If you think it’s helpful, I’d really appreciate it if it could be reviewed with my application.
I’m very excited about this opportunity and looking forward to hearing more around next steps. If there’s anything else I can provide from my end in the meantime, please let me know!
Example #2: After Phone/Onsite Interview
Subject: Thank you for your time today, [Name]
Thank you for taking the time out to chat today. It was wonderful to speak with you and learn more about [Name of Company]!
I really enjoyed our conversation, especially [Specific topic of conversation you and the interviewer will remember well]. Here’s the article I mentioned about [Something related to the topic of conversation].
I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about the next steps. If there’s anything I can provide from my end, don’t hesitate to ask!
Example #3: After Informational Interview
Thank you for taking the time out to chat this afternoon. It was wonderful to speak with you and learn more about your path to becoming [Job title of the other person]!
I really enjoyed our conversation, especially [Specific topic of conversation you and the other person will remember well]. Here’s a link to the book I mentioned that talks about [Something related to the topic of conversation].
I’m going to start doing [A professional recommendation they gave you]. Would you mind if I reach out to you again in two weeks to discuss?
Also, if there’s anything I can help you with in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Example #4: After 2nd & 3rd Round Interviews
Subject: Following up from our interview today
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me again today to discuss the opportunity to join your team at [Name of Company].
I really enjoyed learning about how you see the future of this company and where my role would fit in. [Specific point made by interviewed] really resonated with my own professional goals and feel this opportunity could be a great fit.
If you remember, I mentioned an article on [Topic] when we were discussing [Topic]. I thought you might be interested to read it, so I found the link. If you have time to check it out, I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on it.
In the meantime, I look forward to hearing more about next steps. If there’s anything I can provide from my end, don’t hesitate to ask!
Example #5: After A Career Fair
Subject: It was great meeting you at [Name of Event]
It was great meeting you yesterday at [Name of Event]! Thank you for taking the time to chat and tell me about the opportunities at [Name of Company].
I really enjoyed our conversation, especially when you mentioned [Something about the Company]. I came across this article on [Something related to the company or conversation] that I thought you might enjoy. I think the part on [Something specific from the article] was quite interesting, and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts as someone working in this field.
Would you have time next Tuesday morning for a call to discuss further the upcoming opportunities at [Name of Company]?
Example #6: After A Networking Event
Subject: Really enjoyed our conversation at [Name of Event]
It was really great to meet you yesterday evening at [Name of Event]!
I really enjoyed our conversation, especially [Specific topic of conversation you and the other person will remember well]. Here’s the article I mentioned about [Something related to the topic of conversation]. I think you’ll enjoy the part on [Something interesting from the article].
I really hope you enjoyed the rest of your time at [Name of the Event]. I’m planning on going to [Name of Another Event]. Let me know if I will see you there!
Example #7: Building Connections Through Cold Email
Subject: Quick Question
Not sure if you saw the email I sent you last Thursday, but I’m planning to apply for the open [Job title] position on [Name of Company]’s [Department] team.
On LinkedIn it says you’re the [job title] so I thought you’d be a great person to ask this question before I apply:
I understand you’re likely busy, so even just a word or two to point me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time!
P.S. I noticed you follow [Name of Person] on LinkedIn. Have you read their latest book? If not, I highly recommend you do! Here’s a pretty accurate review if you’re interested.
Example #8: Follow-up Email After No Response
Subject: You may find this interesting
I just wanted to thank you again for chatting with me about [Topic] on [Date] at [Place].
I really enjoyed our conversation, especially [Specific topic of conversation you and the other person will remember well]. While browsing the news this week I came across this article that I think you’d really enjoy. The author’s point on [Topic] reminded me of what you said about [topic].
I’m also still very interested in learning more about the open position you mentioned at your company. Mind if I give you a call on Monday at 11am to discuss?
Example #9: Subsequent Follow-Up Email
Subject: Too busy?
I hope you're having a great day.
I know this is a busy time of year, and I realize how valuable your time is. I wanted to quickly follow up on my note below. I'm grateful for any time or advice you have to offer. If it's too much to ask, I totally understand.
Either way, have a great week!
How To Keep Track Of Follow-Up Emails
If you’re proactively making connections and moves in your career, you may be sending out multiple follow-up emails a week.
So, how do you keep track of them all? How do you make sure you’re sending the right email to the right person at the right time?
Well, you could do it the old fashion way and create an Excel sheet that tracks to who and when you need to send your next follow-up email. But if you want to be a bit more efficient and cut down on time, I have another suggestion.
I like to use a sales management tool called Yesware that lets you do things like automate your follow-up emails, track open and reply rates, see which email templates are performing best, and a lot more.
Yes, it does cost a bit to use. But if you find yourself sending out tons of follow up emails, or want to use data to be more efficient with your follow up, it’s worth it! They also have a free trial for first time users.
So many good opportunities can come from just sending out well-written follow-up emails. I hope this post has given you the tools to not let those opportunities go to waste!
And remember, a good follow-up email includes:
- A short introduction
- Context for why you’re emailing them
- Something of value
- A call-to-action
- An expression of gratitude
If you don’t get a response from your first email, there’s still a good chance that you’ll get a response on subsequent follow-up emails which can be sent out every 5 business days.
And if you really want to get the most out of your follow-up emails and improve your response rate, make sure to track the performance of your emails by using a tool like Yesware and make adjustments to your strategy when needed.
Wishing you success!