Whether it’s a response to your job interview or that important college application, not receiving a response can often be a little disappointing.
If you are also in a similar situation, sending a follow-up email is the best option. It increases your probability of getting a response.
However, there is basic emailing etiquette you will have to keep in mind when composing a follow-up email.
When to Follow Up Email After No Response?
It is always preferable to wait a day or two to receive a response after you send a formal email unless it’s urgent. If you send it on weekends or holidays, you might have to wait until the office re-opens.
According to research, an ideal maximum time for responding to an official email is 24 hours, the earliest being within 2 hours. On the other hand, sales or marketing emails might take longer to be addressed.
If you do not get a response after waiting for an expected time, it is better to write a follow-up email right away.
But don’t wait for more than a week—that is too late, and you will most likely not get any response.
How to Write a Follow Up Email?
There are certain email etiquette you need to always keep in mind while sending a follow-up email. You need to make it precise to the point, yet not too direct or impolite.
If you do not receive a reply, you can send up to three follow up emails. But make sure you do not look too desperate and always maintain a certain degree of respect.
Follow the stepwise guide to learn the correct way to compose a first follow-up email.
Step 1: Add a Compelling Subject Line
Adding a compelling subject line in an email is crucial to ensure the recipient feels it’s important enough to respond right away.
You can insert phrases like
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED,
HIGH PRIORITY, etc., on the subject line for emails that need urgent responses.
Step 2: Personalized Greeting
Adding a personal touch is a very important aspect of follow-up emails. You can always begin with a heartfelt greeting and set a friendlier tone to ease responding.
Since tone can be easily confused in written conversations, initiating as such is necessary.
For example, you can address as
Dear <recipeint name>,
Hi <first name>, or
Step 3: Recall the Previous Email
You should always begin a follow-up email by recalling the context of the previous email.
It is preferable to use email starters like
Following up on my last email,
As I mentioned in the last email, etc.
Make sure to add statements that show empathy to connect with the reader. This will compel the prospect to read your email.
Step 4: Give a Benefit of Doubt
Give the recipient the benefit of the doubt for not replying.
You can add sentences like,
If you missed my email,
I would like to draw your attention
, I believe you had time constraints, etc.
You can also add a polite question rather than a straight or rude pointing-out statement. Then, you can continue addressing the urgency of the email and why it’s important to receive a response on time.
Step 5: Mention the Urgency
It is essential to demonstrate the urgency of your email in clear yet gentle words, even more so in follow-up emails.
You can add sentences like
Since we have a limited time frame
, We request your immediate response,
Your immediate response would be highly appreciated,
Please address this as a priority, etc.
If you feel it necessary, highlight the urgent deadline in the email body. Mentioning the exact date often signifies the urgency of the email.
Step 6: Be Informative but Concise
A follow-up email should always provide adequate information but not too bulky to read.
Make your email informative and to the point. The email’s body should be as concise as possible while being self-explanatory.
If you sent the previous email to a new recipient, then it’s necessary to give a source of credibility. Or else the reader could discard it as a spam email.
Step 7: Offer Something Valuable
The recipient needs to feel the email is beneficial or important for them to open and read it.
Specifically, if you are marketing or endorsing your product, offer something valuable to the recipient. Your offer should be hard to deny if you want a response.
Step 8: End With Gratitude
After you compose the body of your follow-up, end it with a statement that shows gratitude. No matter how frustrated you feel for not getting a response, it is necessary to maintain some degree of grace.
Use sentences like
Thank you for taking out your time,
I appreciate your time,
Thank you for your kind consideration, etc.
Here’s a sample of how to write a follow-up email after sending a business proposal.
Subject line: Requesting your Immediate Attention
Dear[ Mr./Ms <name>],
We believe you intended to manage time out of your busy schedule to read the business proposal we sent in the last email.
Since we have a limited time frame to plan the project and manage resources, your timely response is really important to us. Just in case you missed our previous email, we have attached the proposal to this email, too.
We hope you will be able to get back to us despite your time constraints. Looking forward to your positive response.
Thank you again for your invaluable time.
<company name> Team
How to Send a Consequent Follow Up Email?
Sometimes, you may not receive a response even after sending a follow-up email. In such instances, you might need to send a second or third follow up email.
Usually, it is suitable to send the second follow up 4 to 5 days after sending the first one. You can use the same subject line as the initial follow-up, but the email body has to be concise and direct.
It is better to ask if they have any questions regarding the information you provided. This will ease any awkwardness they have and increase the possibility of a response (a positive or negative one).
Here’s a template to write a second follow-up email:
Subject line: Re: Requesting your Immediate Attention
Dear[ Mr./Ms <name>],
We are circling back to the last email regarding our business proposal entitled <project name>.
It is understandable that things can be too hectic at times. But we wanted to ensure you received the proposal and are taking the time to analyze it.
Looking forward to your reply.
<company name> Team
Sending a Third Follow-up Email
If the prospect doesn’t respond even after sending two follow-ups, sending a third- follow-up email is the last resort. You can mention that it’s your last attempt to reach them out, and if they do not respond, the deal isn’t possible.
You can mention that in your subject line, following up on the initial subject. It is better to mention the exact date you sent the first email.
Sometimes, you may not reach out to the right person to handle your request. Ask a gentle question to confirm if you need to reach out to someone else in the third follow-up.
In the above-mentioned circumstances, a third follow up email would look something like this:
Subject line: Final Call on <initial subject line>
Dear[ Mr./Ms <name>],
We wanted to follow up one final time regarding the business proposal sent on <first email’s date> about <project name>, which was supposed to <mention the exact intent of the project>.
We know you are busy, but we are truly interested in working on this project. Please let us know if you are willing to move forward or not. Your true intentions will be highly appreciated.
Let us know if we need to reach out to someone else from the team on your behalf.
<company name> Team
What to Avoid in a Follow Up Email?
Although we are often tempted to resend the same email when we don’t receive the replies, this doesn’t create a good impression about you and might even instigate the recipient.
Here are the basics of a follow-up email you might need to take care of.
- Never resend the same email or reply to your own email seeking replies.
- You shouldn’t show passive aggression in the email. Check if your email has the right tone before hitting the send button.
- Don’t forget to include important information while sending a follow-up. This will provide context in case the recipient loses your previous email.
- Never forget to show gratitude while ending the follow-up emails.
- Don’t forget to mention a call-to-action statement in your follow-up email. Or else the recipient might not feel the urgency to respond.
- Avoid any possible grammatical errors in your follow-up emails.