The Ultimate Guide To Write Follow Up Emails After No Response

follow up email after no response

This post is a part of my complete series on cold outreach email framework for 2019.

Do you feel uncomfortable at the thought of following up to an outreach email which hasn’t got a response? You're not alone.

In fact, 70% of salespeople give up if they don’t receive a reply to their first email. Now if that’s the case with thick-skinned sales folk, it’s not going to be any better for others too.

It’s natural to feel that when someone hasn’t replied, they’re not interested so we shouldn’t bother them again. But consider this:

Multitasking and deadlines are part and parcel of any work environment today. So depending on their schedule, it is possible that the recipient of your cold email outreach may forget to notice or respond.

Inboxes get jammed up quickly and distractions are plenty. People are busy and many even assume that if someone hasn’t followed up on their email, maybe it wasn’t that important and they can let it slide.

So it’s essential to follow up several times when your cold email doesn’t get a response. Here’s all you need to know.

Table of Contents

When To Follow Up

Majority of emails are opened and replied to on the same day. That means you can assume that if someone hasn’t replied to you within 24 hours, you’ll most likely need to follow up.

However, it’s considered bad etiquette to follow up on an email on the 2nd or 3rd day. So the ideal wait time is about 3 days for the first follow up. You can then extend the wait by a few days for each follow up email.

For example, your first follow up could be on day 4 (4 days apart), 2nd follow up on day 9 (5 days apart), 3rd follow up on day day 15 (6 days apart) and 4th follow up on day 22 (7 days apart).

If you are pitching a story or article to a blogger or journalist, you should check a publication’s guidelines (if available) to check if there are any rules on when you should follow up.

Also, It’s okay to follow up for up to 4-5 times, but don’t go beyond that or you’ll risk coming across as spammy or desperate.

Where To Follow Up

Another component that has a major impact on your success with follow ups is not confining yourself to just email.

Of course, another email is great but if you know your prospect is an active user of a social media platform like Twitter or LinkedIn, then by all means include it in your follow up sequence.

If you can talk to them on the phone, or will have a chance to meet them at an event, then leverage that as well to cover all the bases. Mix the various mediums in your follow up sequence.

If you know a prospect is active on LinkedIn for example, then your first follow up can be sent via LinkedIn message, 2nd via email, 3rd via LinkedIn and 4th via email.

Different people have different preferences on how they want to be contacted. By following an omni-channel approach, you are more likely to get a response.

Follow Up Subject Line

Subject line of your follow up emails is as important as it was for your first email. When it comes to follow up emails, don’t forget to experiment with different subject lines. Learn more about subject lines here, and study the examples below.

Our next steps

X options to get started

Know this about [topic of interest]?

Before I go … a few free resources

Should I stop reaching out?

Looks like our timing is off

This is my final email

Let’s revisit this at a better time

[name], am I off base?

Last [company] follow-up

Are you still interested in [solving X challenge]?

Is X still a priority for you?

Permission to reach out later?

Hit me back with a number

I’m emailing again because…

Am I bugging you yet?

Is it time to part ways?

Should I stay or should I go?

Open With Context

Your prospect may likely not remember all the information in your previous email. So instead of having to make them look at the email again, make it easy for them to remember.

Begin with acknowledging that you’re following up on a previous email and give a reference to what it was about. Even if a prospect doesn’t remember anything, they’re more likely to respond when reminded that this is not the first time you’re reaching out.

I wanted to make sure you saw my earlier message I sent I sent last [day] about [topic of previous email].

I wanted to bump this up in your inbox and see what you thought about [topic of previous email].

I’ve reached out to you a few times now, to see if we could chat about [your company], and why I think our [your tool] would be a good fit for your team.

I’ve reached out a few times regarding your Facebook ads strategy at [company].

I have tried to get in touch with you to see if there is a mutual fit between our company’s expertise and your goals around X.

I’m writing to follow-up on my email. I didn’t hear back from anyone on the team.

I see you’re too busy to reply at the moment. I hate pushy salespeople, at the same time I’d hate to think I gave up on trying to help.

I understand your position, but I wouldn’t follow up with you if I didn’t strongly think that X can help Y solve [problem] by [benefit].

I wanted to reach out to you one last time regarding X.

I didn’t hear back from you last week when I was looking for the appropriate person managing X.

Recap Previous Email

If needed, briefly recap information from your previous email. Moreover, sharing useful tips, social proof, interesting statistics or any other relevant resource is also a good practice. You want to appear as a trusted expert, not just a sales guy pushing to close.

However, it’s important to be short and to the point. It’s better not to add more details into the conversation if they don’t add any special value.

Qualify & Soften Your Ask

Because they didn’t respond to your previous email, you should consider how can you make it easy for them than before. You need to make it worth their while.

If you asked for scheduling a call, maybe this time you can suggest a specific time and date, or ask them how would they like to proceed.

I realize that you must be getting hundreds of emails each day similar to mine. Is X a priority for you?

Would it be okay for me to reach out next week to share those ideas with you?

Are you the right person to talk to about this? If I’m in the wrong place, could you point me in the right direction?

Would it make sense to invest 5-10 minutes to determine if there is a mutual fit? If not, who do you recommend I talk to?

If you are not interested or there is another person you would like me to follow up with, please let me know.

Usually when I don't hear back, it means this isn't a priority for your company at the moment. Am I correct in assuming this?

Wanted to see what your team thought of my suggestions… Let me know if I can help at all.

Let me know if you want me to jump on a call so I can walk you through what we do.

Just reply ‘yes’ if you’d be interested in getting some more information and I’ll send a couple of short docs over.

I have a few more ideas around {{improving X}}. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing them.

If it makes sense to talk, let me know how your calendar looks. If not, who is the appropriate person for me to talk to?

The Last Follow Up

Sometimes you don’t hear from a prospect at all, after several follow ups. So it doesn’t make sense to keep at it. But instead of just giving up, it’s better to send one final breakup email to see if it wakes them up.

It’s not literally a break-up email, since your aim is not to be dramatic or make them feel guilty. Just acknowledge that this may not be the right moment, and try to help in any other way if possible. You can share a useful resource for example.

You want to exit on a helpful note and in a way that the channel remains open. A prospect should feel comfortable in reaching out to you if they change their mind.

Are you still interested in X? If you still are, what do you recommend as next steps? If not, do I have permission to close your file?

Typically if I don’t hear back from someone for 30 days, it means they’re either really busy or just not interested.

If you’re not interested, please let me know and I’ll promptly close your tab in our CRM to never bother you with {{company}} sales emails again.

1 – “Sorry, I was really swamped but I’m still interested…”

0 – “Please close my tab, I’m not interested…”

If you aren’t interested, I'll stop sending messages. But if you’re still interested, what do you recommend as a next step?

If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll assume that the timing isn’t right and I won’t contact you again. If I can be of assistance, you can always reply to the message and I’ll be more than happy to help you.

Could you please just hit me back with a number 1-2-3 that best describes your response?

1 Please leave me alone!

2 Too busy, email me again in a month, please.

3 I’ll write you back in a week.

Conclusion

So there you go. Use these tips and examples as a starting point for your follow-up emails. Now when you don’t hear back from a prospect, don’t give up.

Give them all the opportunity to be able to notice you and give a response. This guide will help you create your own follow-up templates and test their performance.

Did I miss anything? Did you try these examples? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

This post is a part of my complete series on cold outreach email framework for 2019.

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