Follow Up Email: What To Do After No Response [Templates]

Follow Up Email: What To Do After No Response [Templates]

Farzad Rashidi
Farzad Rashidi

Lead Innovator at Respona

Man receiving a follow up email.

Here are the steps to write a follow up email after no response:

  1. Connect with your email recipient on social media, e.g. LinkedIn
  2. Craft a subject line that doesn’t feel spammy and try to demonstrate core values
  3. Give context as to why you’re emailing them and what you need from them
  4. Answer the question “what’s in it for me?”
  5. Add a strong call-to-action (CTA)
  6. Automate your follow up email sequence

We’ll also share six follow up email template examples with you — templates that you can use right away.

If you want to start getting responses to your cold emails, read on.

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Author’s note: this article is dedicated to polite follow up email messages for business purposes, not a job search, job interview, job offers or any type of message sent to a hiring manager during the hiring process.

When Should You Follow Up?

Before we get deep into how to write a follow up letter, let’s first establish two significant points: timing and frequency.

I’d like to start by saying that 91% of business emails are opened and read within the first 24 hours.

Additionally, 90% of the replies you’ll get from the email will come within 24 hours as well.

Does that mean you should send your first follow up on the same day?

No, it doesn’t.

At Respona, we understand that you risk permanently burning bridges if you come across as “spammy.”

That’s why we recommend being cautious with your number of follow-ups. Email tracking can also help you know if your emails are getting through to your contact. Sales follow up usually come after some sort of trigger event, in this case it’s the simple passage of time.

Based on our experience, 1-4 follow up emails is a great idea, depending on the objective of the campaign and the importance of each target.

It’s important to adjust the number of follow up emails based on who you are emailing and what you are asking.

Sending 4 emails within the span of 4 days is the fastest way to get flagged for spam, and ensure a blogger will never feature you or give you their time of day. It’s simply too many follow ups.

That doesn’t sound ideal, right?

Instead, you should send the first follow up a few days after the previous email.

We would recommend 5 working days for most campaigns.

The subsequent follow-ups should come at least 1 week after the previous one.

How Often Should You Follow-Up?

General content promotion and link building outreach: 1 follow up (to not get flagged for spam or burn bridges and ruin a professional relationship)

  • Broken link building: 2-3 follow-ups
  • Unlinked mentions: 2-3 follow-ups
  • Guest post inquiries to important industry blogs: 2-3 follow-ups
  • Reverse image link building: 3-4 follow-ups

Author’s Note: Remember, if you write personalized follow-ups that highlight benefits for them, you won’t need endless follow-ups or a breakup email message to get a response. This is what is called natural follow up points and they are powerful.

This is an example of how we’d recommend an outreach campaign to be structured:

Email sequence in Respona

If you think sending more follow ups to hundreds of bloggers and journalists sounds like too much trouble, it really can be.

However, multiple outreach messages can make a big difference as this recently published seminal study from Backlinko of 12 million outreach emails proves.

Backlinko response rates
Image source: Backlinko

Backlinko dissected the emails and analyzed the performance based on different content patterns.

According to the study, it looks like even a single follow-up email can significantly change the result and help you make your campaign a success.

Backlinko follow-up stats
Image source: Backlinko

Now that you know when you should send your follow-up emails, let’s see the six simple steps that will help you create a successful follow-up sequence.

How to Write a Follow Up Email in Six Steps

Writing a follow up email, although necessary in many cases, can be tricky.

That’s why we’ve prepared the following steps for you to help you take the process of following up to the next level.

To illustrate the following steps, we’ll use a hypothetical scenario.

Let’s say that we have this blog post: 22 Outreach Email Templates that Get Replies in 2021, and we’re trying to promote it so it gets shares on social media as well as links. 

Respona outreach email templates

How are we going to do this?

By sending follow up emails to our prospects.

Let’s get right into it.

Step #1: Connect with your prospects on social media

The first step in the process of writing a follow-up email is to connect with your prospects on social media.

Reaching out to your media and PR prospects is recommended – where possible – because it will help you build and establish relationships with them.

This way, you have more chances of getting your email read by them, since they’re people who receive tons of emails daily and will be more likely to spend time reading an email from someone, or a company name, they know rather than a stranger.

You could consider writing a great, personal touch about why you’re connecting with them.

That’ll make the connection one to remember for your prospects.

Connecting with the right person will also act as social proof and provide them with some essential information about you.

And, all of a sudden, you’re not a complete stranger to them anymore.

After you’ve established this human connection on social media, you can then go on and send a follow up.

Moving on to the next step.

Step #2: Craft a subject line that doesn’t feel spammy and try to demonstrate value

The second step is to craft a subject line that doesn’t feel spammy.

This’ll help you demonstrate immediate value.

The key to subject lines is personalization and relevance.

Do you know anyone who opens up an inbox thinking: “How can I help the world? :)”

Checking the email inbox is a business responsibility for most bloggers/webmasters and not something they enjoy doing.

Your subject line needs to instantly communicate why they should use their time to read your email, even though you are a stranger.

That’s why personalizing every single subject line is crucial, even for the follow-up emails.

Have a look at this uncommon subject line for a follow up email that scores a 52% open rate – more than half!

The serenade email
Image source: Sumo

Undoubtedly, it’s more cheesy and personalized than most subject lines, but that’s what makes it catchy, fun, and successful.

By personalizing your subject lines you make sure they’re not just blanket statements anymore.

The efficiency of this tactic has been proven by studies again and again.

The Backlinko study – yes! The one mentioned earlier – showed that personalized subject lines lead to 30.5% higher response rates. So, you should really try to avoid using the same subject line over and over again

Backlinko personalization stats
Image source: Backlinko

So instead of a short and sweet “Following up”, or “Link to my site?”, it would be better to start with something like “About [Your blog post]…” or “Suggestion for [Your blog post]” “Loved [Your blog post] but….”

If your original email did this, you can borrow the subject line but just add “Re:” to it.

Another bonus is that this will also continue in the same thread of the first message so that the prospects can easily get context by reading the initial email without having to search for it.

Like “Re: About [YOUR BLOG POST]”.

Short subject lines are not better

Short subjects might work better for autoresponders but work categorically worse for outreach emails.

The same 12-million email in-depth study by Backlinko showed that longer subject lines, specifically between 36-50 words, had a 24.6% higher response rate.

This could be because personalized subjects tend to be longer.

Be clear

In a case study by Marketing Sherpa, clear email subject lines outperformed “creative” subject lines by 617% in click-throughs to the link inside the email.

Subject lines that clearly communicated the topic/benefit crushed the ones that tried to express the same more creatively, so, get straight to the subject.

Step #3: “What’s In It For Them” and “What Do You Want?”

Another step is to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question.

People are self-centered most of the time — especially when dealing with strangers.

And a person you haven’t even met face to face, who has sent you an electronic mail out of the blue is about as strange as you can get.

So the filter a person uses when reading and considering emails is simple.

“What’s in it for me?” Is the question you silently ask yourself when you scan subject lines in your inbox.

Nobody will do favors for random people on the internet.

And this is the same for busy, successful bloggers.

Noah Kagan is the founder of Sumo.com and AppSumo.

Noah Kagan LinkedIn
Image source: LinkedIn

He also happens to be Facebook employee #30, and a successful blogger and podcaster.

Needless to say, he deals with lots of emails looking for favors.

Whether they want a feature on his blog/podcast or just some expert tips.

Being a busy CEO, he’s always thinking, “What’s in it for me?” when dealing with cold outreach.

And the emails that get through communicate it clearly in the subject, and opening lines.

He shared a cold email that successfully got a response on his blog, and analyzed why it worked on him.

He even used it to develop a quick & easy framework for cold emails.

The first three steps of Noah Kagan’s framework for cold email outreach all deal with satisfying the “What’s In It For Me?” mindset most people use when interacting with their inbox:

Flattery

Do you compliment them or stroke their ego a bit?

Benefit

How will this benefit them (not just you)? Do you spell it out and is it a real benefit?

Credibility

How can YOU be the person the other person would enjoy meeting?

Author’s Note: These are principles most sales professionals and sales teams are using as well, both in their email communications and in phone calls with prospects. You can use them to your follow-up emails as well, as long as they sound natural.

Flattery makes them understand that while they might be a stranger to you, you are not a stranger to them.

The benefit is simply “what’s in it for them.”

Are you offering them a free premium trial of your software? Did you feature them already on your company blog in a roundup of designers?

With most bloggers, the goal isn’t a face-to-face meeting or a phone interview, but you still need to convince them that your product/service/company is worth getting to know better for someone in their position.

Since this is a follow-up email you are writing, eliminate all the fluff, and make sure you really get this point across in as few words as possible.

You don’t need to send a full A4 page to add context and show value.

Instead, focus on hitting all the marks with a short paragraph, and maybe some P.S.es. If there is more than one possible benefit, you can try highlighting a separate benefit/or build some credibility.

For high-value targets, you can even adress their pain points before you follow up, to pretty much guarantee a response.

  • Point out a recent specific blog post where they feature your competitors and show some credibility for your product and why they should care/feature you.

Have a look at the follow up email example below:

RE: Subject

Just reaching out again because I noticed you featured services A, B, and C in a [RECENT POST], but not our service.

Any specific reason why?


I would be more than happy to set you up with a premium account for free so you can try it out.


P.S. We’re actually NR. 2 in [X Category] with [G2 Crowd], ranked above service B and C.

  • For industry experts you admire, you can feature them/their work first, and follow up later.

RE: Subject

Just thought I’d let you know we featured you as one of our top 15 [INDUSTRY] blogs. Everyone at the office loves your work :)


[DESIGN PIECE] even inspired us to create a template in [THAT STYLE] last month!


P.S. If you’re interested in that free upgrade I mentioned, let me know.

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

The call-to-action serves as guidance on what your suggested next steps are for the prospect. 

Having a clear CTA contributes to the transparency of your message and prompts them to respond/take further action.

Here are some interesting CTAs that make it very easy for the recipient to respond:

Subject line examples
Image source: Klenty

These make you want to press the reply button immediately, right?

There are plenty of CTAs that you could consider using; ones with a calendar link or a specific date for a meeting request or a phone interview can also be successful.

More subject line examples
Image source: Klenty

This is how a CTA with a calendar link in an outreach email could look like:

Email CTA Example

In a few words, CTAs are great because they make it clear and easier for the recipient to take the next steps – because the steps are highlighted.

Additionally, using a CTA means that you do the job for your prospects.

You’re being clear and specifically asking what you want them to do, without making them lose time trying to find what it is that you might want.

Step #5: Automate your follow up email sequence

Companies tend to put a large amount of time into writing and sending follow up emails.

Depending on the scale of your campaign, it can take an enormous amount of time.

Automating your follow up strategy will save your valuable time and money.

Respona email builder

You still send personalized emails to each prospect, but the follow-up messages you create in advance get sent with exact intervals automatically if you don’t receive a reply.

Respona adds a little extra convenience with our tools that help you find emails straight from blog posts, and our AI assistant that helps you reference relevant points from each blog post.

Here’s a video that explains how that works.

Six Follow Up Email Templates to Help You Get Responses

Given that we’re in the business of cold outreach, specializing in blogger and journalist outreach for content marketing and link building purposes, we have developed a set of six targeted follow up email examples.

Let’s say that you’ve sent out a link to a product, service, or piece of content that you wish to promote and you got no response.

Here’s how your follow up message opening line might look:

RE: Your (general topic) resources post

Hi {first_name},


Hope all is well with you! Just a quick follow up on my previous email.


I was wondering whether you’d be interested in including [Your Post/Company/Product] in your {url_title} post: {url}


We’d be more than happy to share your updated post on our social!


Looking forward to hearing back!


[Your name]

A personalized headline, and the mail itself, includes the same basic content as in the original email.

No prospect who read the first email will be confused about why you’re sending the email, and that’s exactly what you want.

We’ve thrown in a general benefit as well, but this can be changed and optimized based on your product/website/campaign.

Template #2: The “content promotion” one

The second follow up email sample is the “content promotion” one.

You’ve recently published a content piece on your blog and you want to boost its performance by promoting it to people you know will be interested in reading it.

RE: Suggestion for your (topic) post

Hello {first_name},


I know you receive a ton of emails every day, so thought I should send you a quick follow-up for my email below in case it got overlooked.


I was wondering whether you’d be interested in referencing our article [hyperlink to your post] in your [topic] post?
We’ve also compiled a list of [topics] that we think would be a perfect fit for some of your posts.


Especially [hyperlink to your post], we think it would go great in [prospects’ blog post].


Don’t you think?


Looking forward to hearing back!


[Your name]

P.S. We’d be more than happy to share your updated post with our [# of social followers] social followers.

See the personalized email subject line focusing on them?

We practice what we preach.

However, this is just a basic template.

For optimal results, we 100% recommend that you personalize your follow up emails.

Template #3: The “brand pitch” one

Another follow up email sample which I think you’ll find useful is the “brand pitch” template.

For the sake of example, let’s say you’re an influencer who’s reached out to brands but hasn’t heard back.

RE: (Your name/Brand name) x (Prospect’s company name)

Hi {first_name},


Hope all is well!


Although I haven’t heard from you, I’m convinced that great results could come out of a potential collaboration between us.


I’ve checked your [product/service] on [Google, social media, website] and I’m confident I could help you with [what you offer].


Let me know if you would be interested in discussing a collaboration between me and your company.


[Your name]

By linking your name with your prospect’s company name you make it more possible that they will open your email thus having more chance of hearing back from them.

Template #4: The “guest blogging” one

Follow up email template #4 is a follow up email to do with guest blogging.

RE: {Your Name} can help you write topics that are missing from {Company Name} blog

Hi {first_name},


Hope this finds you well!


Just a quick follow up on the email I sent last week.


We’ve put together a list of topics that are missing from your [Company Name] blog.


[link to sample list]


My team and I are convinced that covering these topics will help you expand your target audience.


To cut a long story short, because we totally understand how busy you are, we’d love to guest post for you and be your writers for a day (or more!).


Can’t wait to hear back from you!


[Your name]

For successful guest blogging follow up emails, it’s essential that you do some research and propose topics that are indeed relevant to what your prospects inboxes.

Template #5: The “PR outreach” one

The “PR outreach” follow up email template will help you to write a follow up email that gets replies and allows you to connect with people.

RE: (Exclusive News)

Hello {first_name},


I understand that you’re probably very busy at the moment, but thought that you wouldn’t like missing [reason for reaching out].


We’re not planning on reaching out to [Prospect’s competitors – other blogs or media publications] until [date and time].


Let me know what you think and I’ll share our [landing pages or other assets] before they go live.
Looking forward to speaking with you soon!


Best regards,


[Your name]

Relevant Resources:

Template #6: The “press release distribution” one

The last email template I have for you is one you’ll need to follow up on a press release distribution email.

RE: Let’s make it official - (Press Release Title)

Hi {first_name},


I thought it was worth following up on my previous email since your work shows that our [reason for reaching out] is definitely in your niche.


We can provide you with all the details and information you may need in relation to [launch/news].


In fact, we’ve prepared a nice, detailed file that includes all that you may need.


You can find the file by following the link below:


[file link]


Please note that the file will be available until [date and time].


Looking forward to hearing from you soon!


[Your name]

Relevant Resources:

Keep in mind that these are meant to be skeletons for you to fill in with real benefits and meaningful personal content.

Let’s wrap this up with some closing thoughts.

Link building cheat sheet

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Gain access to the 3-step strategy we use to earn over 86 high-quality backlinks each month.

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Wrapping Up

There you have it.

You now have the foundations to write a great follow up email.

Keep in mind that cold emails are all about experimenting and iterating based on results.

What does that mean?

Don’t expect to start improving your response rates without testing different elements such as email subject lines and constantly trying to understand what makes some people open and reply to your email.

Farzad Rashidi

Article by

Farzad Rashidi

Farzad Rashidi is the lead innovator at Respona, the all-in-one digital PR and link-building software that combines personalization with productivity. He also runs the marketing efforts at Visme, where he helped the company gain over 12 million active users and pass 2M monthly organic traffic.

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