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How to Write a Follow-Up Email (Your Recipients Will Actually Open)

In a world filled with texts, emails, and instant messages, it’s not easy to get a recipient to open your email and get an immediate response.

This is where a follow-up email comes in. But how do you write a follow-up email that your recipients will open and respond to?

Here’s a comprehensive guide to show you how. 

What is a follow-up email and why should you care? 

A follow-up email is a type of business email sent to a subscriber in response to their action. It identifies the subsequent steps with a potential client and stimulates the participants to schedule a meeting, choose a paid plan, leave feedback, purchase another product, etc. 

Additionally, it also helps businesses address the pain points of their customers if they have expressed dissatisfaction with a product or service.

Naturally, the purpose of a follow-up email will vary and depend on the respective industry. The following are some of the reasons why a follow-up email is essential:

Drive conversions. There can be a number of reasons why recipients don’t open an email. People are occupied with work, or maybe your email got lost in their inbox. A follow-up helps you add value in all steps of the customer’s journey to ultimately boost conversions.

Build trust and loyalty. Follow-up emails help you increase audience trust and grow loyalty since they demonstrate that your brand adheres to a customer-centric approach

How to write a follow-up email: 4 best practices 

 Since 57% of the recipients consider email to be spam if it isn’t pertinent to their needs, it is essential to understand and incorporate some of the best practices to cater to different interests and motivations.

Here are some of the best practices for follow-up emails.

Set up automation

Automation makes the follow-up email process manageable and significantly enhances the recipient’s experience too. Email automation helps you generate 320% greater revenue as compared to the non-automated ones. 

Automation makes it easier to draft, send, manage, and track sales-related follow-up emails. It’s an effective way to cater to a large-scale audience. 

(Image Source: Away)

Check out this example from Away, whose automated emails let their brand personality shine. The email is simple yet appealing – just a couple of paragraphs with a header image.

It’s also important to optimize the time of the email sent, as research shows that mornings result in a higher open rate. 

Use a personalized approach 

Don’t forget that people are on the receiving end of your emails. But with an authentic and strategic email approach, recipients realize the value you provide – all it takes is a little patience and personalization.

The right email marketing tools can help you personalize your follow-up email approach and make it more relevant. For that, you need to segment your mailing lists to create a strategic sequence of follow-up emails including specific messaging that will resonate.

(Image Source: The Bowery Presents)

The above example of The Bowery Presents exhibits a personalized follow-up email once the customers purchase their concert tickets. They use a lot of images to draw the recipient’s interest. This makes a lot of sense since the human brain processes images 60.000 times faster than plain text. That’s why creative image personalization in emails can deliver up to 6 times higher engagement.

Create engaging subject lines

One of the critical factors in follow-up emails is the subject line, which helps the recipient decide if they will open the email. 

Why should someone engage with your content right now? A follow-up email is an effective instrument to persuade the recipient to take action. 

If you want your brand to garner attention, you need to cut through the email clutter. You can also test different subject lines to see what works best. Here’s also a decent list of potential email subject lines for various situations.

Keep in mind, your intended audience probably receives about 306 emails every day. Since the recipient first interacts with the subject line, it’s wise to place relevant CTA in the subject line to entice them to open the follow-up email.

Check the Sumo example below. Their subject lines are crafted to provide something useful to the reader, captivate their attention, and articulate the point in a few words.

Add CTAs in follow-up subject lines
(Image Source: Sumo)

Compose a solid yet brief message 

The final component of a follow-up email is to craft a compelling yet concise message. Communicate the message in a friendly and straightforward way. 

Right after the opening, state the reason for reaching out. Stick to the point so that the recipient knows what you want to convey.

Wrapping up

Follow-up emails are an effective way to convert leads, close deals, and build strong relationships. The difficult part is to make your email recipients open and respond to your follow-up email. 

Email marketing tools that AddThis offers can help you with email marketing needs and help you grow your subscribers and mailing list. Furthermore, it also lets you seamlessly integrate with other email marketing platforms like HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, and more.

You can effortlessly build email lists, increase sales value, generate leads, and even reduce your cart abandonment rate.

Whenever you set up an email campaign don’t forget to put emphasis on crafting convincing follow-up messages. It will be worth the effort.


Will Cannon is the founder and CEO of UpLead. He knows a thing or two about follow up emails and loves to use them in his lead generation strategies.