How to Write a Follow up Email That Clients Will Respond To

by Briana Morgaine 6 Minutes
follow up email

Image via Pixabay.

So, you’ve sent out that perfect sales pitch email to a new prospective client.

You did your research, you worked in your favorite sales techniques, and you thought your email was really strong.

And now? Nothing. You still haven’t heard back from the client you’re chasing, and your inbox remains stubbornly empty.

What do you do? Do you walk away, assuming that they’re just not interested?

You could—or you could send a great follow up email that really hooks them, and brings them back around, enabling you to close the sale. At this point, what have you got to lose?

The key components of a follow up email

What are you trying to gain from following up? Clearly, the main goal here is to get a response. But, you don’t just want a response—you want a positive response that turns into a sale and a new client or customer.

So, your follow up email should include:

  • A reiteration of who you are
  • A quick description of your product or service again, to refresh their memory (or in case they really just chucked your initial email directly into the trash)
  • A supremely catchy subject line
  • A hook within the body of the email
  • A tactic that is a departure from your original strategy

So, from that list, you’ll probably notice that your email will be pretty light on discussion of your product, service, and your company as a whole. Why is that?

Well, to put it bluntly, because at this point you have probably tried that tactic, and it didn’t work out too well. So, it’s time to try something else, and it’s time to hook them back in.

Let’s break down each of those steps in detail.

follow up email

Image via Unsplash.

1. A reiteration of who you are

The first two components of your follow up message are pretty straightforward, but we’ll go through them anyway. That way at the end, you can put it all together for your own business and be ready to go—easy, right?

To start, you’ll want to remind your prospective client who you are. This doesn’t have to be anything too lengthy (in fact, it shouldn’t be).

Just a quick reminder of your name, your business, and perhaps how you were put in contact with them in the first place should be enough. Include a link back to your website, and offer a quick introduction, reminding them of your initial email.

2. A quick description of your product or service

What are you selling me, again?

Never make the mistake of thinking that you’re the only voice your prospective client or customer has to contend with on any given day. You probably know what it’s like to have an inbox full of noise, so do your prospect a favor and make it easy for them to quickly see who you are and what you’re bringing to the table.

Remind your prospective client about what it is you have to offer. This can be a quick, succinct, one-sentence description.

So, to marry the first and second follow up email components, we find ourselves with this:

“Hi there, It’s me, David, maker of the World’s Best Office Chairs. I just wanted to drop you another line, as I think our office chairs really are the superior product on the market, and I believe your office could benefit from their ergonomic construction, beautiful aesthetic design, and extremely reasonable price point.”

See? Easy. A quick, brief introduction, that repositions who you are, that you’ve already reached out, and what you have to offer your prospective client. Stick to a clear value proposition, where you illustrate exactly what your product or service does best, and how it can help your prospective client or customer.

(As a side note, please refrain from naming your business something that clunky—you’ll probably get even fewer responses that way. I take full responsibility for fictional David and his poor choice of a business name.)

Follow up email

Image via Unsplash.

3. A supremely catchy subject line

Here is where things start to get interesting—and also more complicated.

A quick side note about your sales emails—including follow up emails:

It’s a good idea to be tracking the metrics related to your sales emails from the get go, with a tool like Hubspot (my personal favorite) or something similar. Did your prospective clients ignore your email entirely? Did they open it, but not respond? Did they click any links within your email? Get a clear sense of where you lost them, and pay extra close attention to trying something new at that stage.

So, if they didn’t engage with your email, period? You’re going to want to pay extra attention to a catchy subject line. Maybe they opened, but didn’t take any further action? Component number four, the hook within the body of the email, is probably going to be your main area of focus. If they clicked but didn’t respond, you might want to do some further digging as to why you lost their interest that late in the game (are your services priced too high? Is the page you linked to confusing? Are you not tailoring your service to the prospective client well enough? There are many things you can test here).

Okay—back to subject lines. How did you title your email? Was it something super generic and snooze-worthy? You might want to spice things up a little.

There is a wealth of knowledge on the components of a great subject line—but the problem is, people often apply this knowledge to things like blog posts, but forget to think about it in terms of their sales emails. While straightforward and to the point is often a good sales strategy, if you really want to boost your sales email open rates, make sure your email subject lines are catchy.

So, your email needs a catchy, attention-grabbing subject line. For some inspiration, Hubspot has some great articles on the best subject lines (and being email marketing experts, they are a great source to draw inspiration from).

4. A hook within the body of the email

In the same vein as a catchy title, consider how you can hook your prospective client back within the body of your follow up email.

Was your initial email too dry and to the point? Consider taking a humorous approach. Did your first contact just include a wall of text? Maybe some images of your product or service, or photos of other happy, satisfied customers will help make your sales emails feel more engaging. Perhaps you could leverage a current (keyword: current) meme or funny industry-related joke within the body of your message, to get your prospective client laughing and encourage them to keep reading.

Which brings me to the final component…

follow up email

Image via Pixabay.

5. A tactic that is a departure from your original strategy

Do something different. What have you got to lose?

If you stuck with the facts and a formal tone with your initial email, consider a bolder, more lighthearted approach. Remember, you’ve already heard radio silence from your prospective client—your follow up is a chance to get them back, so don’t waste that chance doing the same old thing you did the first time.

We often hear it quoted that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”; while I wouldn’t call it insane to stick to your original sales email strategy when following up, it is definitely not outside the box thinking, which is what you really ought to be employing right now. Again, what do you have to lose? You might just stand out from the crowd of boring emails enough to snag a new client or customer.

For inspiration here, look to Hubspot’s list of funny, unconventional sales email formats—I particularly love number two. It’s cheeky, different, and memorable, and it might just make the difference between a follow up email that gets ignored, and one that actually helps you make the sale.

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by Briana Morgaine
Briana is a copy writer, copy editor, and freelance writer, covering the various facets of the small business and entrepreneurship space. She can be found writing for Bplans, and also on Twitter.