How To Write An Effective Follow-Up Email

Perhaps no other type of email gets less thought put into it that than the ever important follow-up to a cold email. Over the years, many sellers have become lazy in their follow-ups, resorting to nothing more than a call back to their original email.

So, if you don't want to be ignored and deleted, use this as a guide to write a more effective follow-up email.

The Follow-Up Email Rules

Not all follow-up emails are created equal. Let's first start with 3 rules for sending an effective follow-up to a cold email.

Rule #1

Send an initial cold email that doesn't suck

  • Your initial cold email should be text only (no links or images for email deliverability purposes).
  • Your initial cold email should be both personalized and relevant to the person you are sending it to.
  • Your initial cold email should be brief and to the point.
  • If your first email didn’t check all these boxes, it likely sucks. And, your follow-ups won’t matter.
  • Here's an effective cold email framework from the good folks at Lavender.

Rule #2

Be timely in your follow-up

There are a ton of varying opinions about when you should send a follow-up to a cold email. So let's settle the debate once and for all. Here are some guidelines you can't go wrong with in terms of when to send a follow-up email...

  • If your original email was read by the recipient (and you are able to track that), you have a much better chance of getting a reply to your follow-up if it is sent within a few days of the original email.
  • If you don't show that your original email was read by the recipient, send your follow-up within 7-9 days of the original email.
  • Follow up more than once on your cold email. Sending 3-5 follow-up emails (spaced apart via the guidelines above) feels about right before taking the hint if you don't get a reply.
  • If you're inclined to follow up more than 3-5 times, make sure to mix up your mediums (cold calls, LinkedIn, etc.) in your additional outreach.

Rule #3

Be unexpected in your follow-ups

It's important to remember that you are sending follow-up emails to humans. Think about the humans you know. They're real people, right? That means they respond to things that engage them.

But the reality is that people’s inboxes are littered with follow-up emails that are anything but unexpected, ranging from creative masterpieces such as “I’m just following up” to “Did you read my last email?” to the ever popular "Just checking in". Those types of follow-up emails look exactly the same as every other follow-up and thus will get ignored.

Your approach to a follow-up email should instead be to break a pattern in terms of what the prospect expects. You’ll be much more likely to grab their attention.

Sample Follow-Up Emails After No Response

It's easy to tell you to write an email that follows all three rules so that it grabs a prospect's attention. But, the proof is in seeing it for yourself. Here's an example of both an ineffective and an effective follow-up email.

Sample Email #1

An ineffective follow-up email

Let’s assume you send a follow-up email that complies with Rule #1 and Rule #2 above. Here is an example of an ineffective follow-up email after no response:

Hey Martin,

I'm writing to follow up on my previous email. I haven't heard back from you, so I wanted to check in to see if you have any questions or need any additional information.

I'm available to discuss this further at your convenience. Please let me know if you'd like to schedule a time to chat. Or, feel free to use the calendar link in my signature.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

Why is this email ineffective? Because it doesn’t comply with Rule #3.

It’s just like 99% of the other follow-up emails that people send. It adds no value. And it does nothing to break a pattern (it's not at all unexpected).

It won't capture attention. It won’t move the needle at all.


Sample Email #2

An effective follow-up email.

Now, let’s craft an effective email that complies with all 3 rules above, most importantly delivering something that is unexpected. See if you can spot the differences...

Hey Martin,

I noted your "economy" comment in my previous message.

Here are some insights I think you'll find relevant to that comment...
Should I share the data behind these insights?


Why is this email more effective? Because it complies with all 3 rules. Most importantly, the email is unexpected in a couple of different key ways.

First, the email contains personalized insights that are relevant to a comment that the prospect has made in another forum (i.e. an article, podcast, social media, etc).

Second, the content is delivered in an engaging and unexpected fashion (using an animated slideshow from

These factors, along with the fact that the follow-up email is short, personalized, relevant, and offers a non abrasive call for interest, help to make this a more effective follow-up email.