Emails are a powerful channel for businesses to engage with followers and build meaningful relationships with them. Every day, around 306.4 billion emails are sent to over 4 billion active users worldwide. 

An infographic on the number of emails sent everyday and the number of active users An infographic on the number of emails sent everyday and the number of active users

Naturally, your prospect's inbox gets flooded with emails from hundreds of businesses. So what could happen to the first cold email you sent to your prospect? It's likely that the email could have been buried in their inbox or moved to trash. 

Some prospects engage with you right from the first email you send. But most often you need to engage your prospects and leads with one or more follow-up emails. Marketing Donut in their study states that 92% of salespeople give up after four “nos”, but 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”. 

What is a follow-up email?

Follow-up email is one or a sequence of emails sent to a prospect at specific intervals after the first email. They give your brand another shot at connecting with prospects if the first one remains unopened or does not yield any response.

Follow-up emails 

  • help prospects recall previously sent emails
  • increase awareness about your business and the solution it offers
  • prompt prospects to take a desired action (such as signing up or making a purchase)
Two women shaking hands Two women shaking hands

In short, a well-crafted email sequence is a key arsenal in your marketing and sales strategy helping you:

Structure of a follow-up email

The goal of a follow-up email is to persuade your prospects to open it, read it, and take desired action. In email marketing terms, it should increase open rates, drive click-throughs and bring your prospect closer to your brand. 

A well-structured follow up includes a number of factors that helps you achieve these goals easily. Let's take a look at all the nitty-gritties that could make your email a stand-out success.

1. The subject line

The subject line appears next to the sender’s name.

Along with the preview text, the subject line is what your prospect will see when they are scrolling through their email inbox.

In today's mobile-first world, nearly two-thirds of emails are read on a mobile device

Preview of email inbox on a laptop and mobile device Preview of email inbox on a laptop and mobile device

Best practices

  • Keep your subject line short, concise, and catchy. The ultimate goal is to stand out and drive clicks.
  • We recommend a subject line that's no longer than 40 characters so that it doesn't get clipped when viewed on smaller devices.
  • Include personalization by adding the prospect’s first name in the subject line.

2. Preview text

The preview text appears alongside your subject line. It is a short snippet that tells prospects what they can expect when they open.

By default, the email client picks up a few characters from the first line above the header. 

So how do you know if your email subject line and the preview text are optimized for popular devices?

We recommend this resourceful site that lets you view how your email looks in your prospect's inbox.

Formula for increasing email open rate Formula for increasing email open rate

Best practices

  • Ensure that the preview text complements the subject line. Use the preview line to give more context to the subject line.
  • Speak directly about their primary pain point, and intrigue your prospects.
  • Create a preview text that is short, useful, and induces urgency that compels your prospect to click.

3. The body of the email

Now that your prospects have opened your email, you need to persuade them to read what you have written and act on it. 
A study mentions that at least 55% of the people check their emails before going to work and 1 out of 3 millennials check emails as soon as they wake up. 

Naturally, your emails should be mindful of the time a prospect can spend reading. Your follow-up email's body should be short, easy to read, and crafted for skimmers. 

Representation of a man clicking the call to action button Representation of a man clicking the call to action button

Best practices

  • Include a transition: Begin from where your previous email stopped. Maintain a continuity that the next email will pick.
  • Add a value proposition: Address how your brand can help solve their pain point easily.
  • Call to action: One CTA that leads your prospect out of the email and prompts them to interact with you.

4. Closing

Did you notice how we missed out an integral part of the email—one that talks about you? Yes, the introduction. Most businesses traditionally begin an email by talking about themselves.

This could be a deal-breaker. On an average, people spend 15-20 seconds reading their permission emails. By introducing the sender and their role, you take away 10 seconds of that time.

Which is why the closing is the best place to include an email signature. With a visual email signature, you can give prospects a way to contact you without crowding the body of the email.

An email signature for your follow up email An email signature for your follow up email

Best practices

  • Ensure that the closing has the sender’s name to give the email a human touch.
  • Add your email, phone, and social media profile links to the signature for prospects to contact you.
  • You can also include a calendar link for prospects to book an online meeting or schedule a call with you.

Tips for writing a follow-up email

Checking emails is wired into our daily routine. This means that your prospect spends time going through their inbox multiple times a day. The follow-up email you send should convince them that it's relevant to their needs and take them one step closer to your brand.

In a crowded inbox that receives more than 120 emails a day, you need to strike a chord and stand out. 


"The key to success is to find a way to stand out – to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins."
Seth Godin, Purple Cow

Let's dive right into how you can craft a follow-up email that can make your leads and prospects take notice.


Your emails are the start of a conversation. People prefer talking to someone they can relate to, someone they know or are familiar with. When you send a follow-up email, your brand is a stranger to your leads and prospects. But it doesn't have to be. 

Think of ways to include social hacking into your emails—one that is scalable.

It could be as simple as the first name in the subject line or a  pop-culture reference that they can relate to. Personalized emails increase conversions.


Plain text vs. HTML email

Plain text emails appear more authentic and personal while HTML lets you add visuals, branding and more.  

Most email client settings move HTML emails to the promotions tab. Some even block the images from being displayed until the prospect verifies your email as trustworthy. 

Plain-text emails tend to perform better than the HTML counterparts. Easy to compose, proper placement of elements with lesser distractions are a great way to create a winning follow-up email.

One purpose

One of the reasons that your email remains unopened is because they are irrelevant to the person reading it. This happens when you group all your leads into a master list and send the same boilerplate emails.

By defining the purpose, the goal, and the audience, you can create compelling emails. This helps you cut down unnecessary elements, stay clear of your goal, and guide readers to take that one action.

How long should you wait before following up?

In the world of email marketing and sales, timing is everything. The time you send your follow-up email should be well spaced. It shouldn't be too long after the first email and shouldn't be too soon so as to appear intrusive. 

Case 1: Respect your prospect

When you have an answer from the prospect, mark it on your calendar and follow up with them promptly. 

Note: Do not engage with them earlier than the specified day or later.


Case 2: All action, no response

When the prospect reads your email but doesn’t respond, follow up with them until they interact with you or unsubscribe.


General rule of the thumb

The first couple of follow-up emails should be sent out in the first week. After that, the intervals can be increased to weekly or monthly.


Follow-up mail templates

Your marketing and sales team are constantly on the move trying to reach out to leads and prospects. Here are a few email templates created with inputs from our team, to help them to break the ice and add leads to the pipeline.

Marketing follow-up email templates


1. When your prospect submits their contact information on a form or with a chatbot


Hi {Prospect Name},

Thank you for expressing interest in {the solution you offer}. We’re glad to help you with {the reason why they provided their email ID}.

Need more information on how we can address {pain point}? Book a time that works best for you and let’s discuss further on a call.

                                                                                                            <CTA>Book Appointment

{Sender Name}


2. When the prospect opens the email you have sent and doesn’t respond


Hi {Prospect Name},

Are you constantly looking out for ways to tackle {pain point}? Do you have a list of solutions but are not sure how to proceed? 

If you’ve got 10 minutes for a Zoom call, I’d be happy to discuss the challenges your team faces and how to overcome them. Feel free to book a time that works best for you by clicking the link below.


                                                                                                                     <CTA> Book a Time

{Sender Name}


Events follow-up email templates


1. After a webinar


Hi {Prospect Name},

Thank you for joining our webinar, {Webinar Name} and we hope you found it immensely resourceful. Here’s a doc highlighting the key takeaways from the event in case you’d want to discuss it with your superiors and colleagues.

As someone who is focusing on {Primary Pain point}, my team would be delighted to discuss how we can help you through phone or a Zoom call. Feel free to book a time that works for you in the link given below.


                                                                                                      <CTA> Book Appointment

{Sender Name}



2. When they registered for a webinar but didn’t show up 


Hi {Prospect Name},

We know that you had a busy day and couldn’t join us for {Event Name} on {day}. But we couldn’t sit there and do nothing about it. 

Here’s a recording of the entire event, available for your viewing, anytime and anywhere. 


                                                                                                 <CTA> Click here to watch
{Sender Name}


Networking follow-up email templates


1. After meeting at an event


Hi {Prospect Name},

It was an absolute pleasure meeting you at {Event name} on {Event day/ date}

When you were discussing how {pain point} is affecting your team, I couldn’t help but think how we could help you out {solution} through {your product/service}.

It would be amazing if we could hop on a Zoom call and go over it in detail. Feel free to book a time that works best for you.


                                                                                                                  <CTA> Book Appointment 

{Sender Name}


2. After they visited your booth at an event


Hi {Prospect Name},

We were absolutely thrilled having you stop by at our booth during {Event name} at {Venue}.

We know that you need more time evaluating different prospects that could help your team solve {Pain Point}.

If you have 10 minutes off on your calendar, our team would love to discuss the challenges that you are anticipating while trying out {Product name} and how we can help you.

                                                                                                         <CTA> Book a Time

{Sender Name}


Sales follow-up templates


Your sales team works on turning your leads into customers. Email follow ups help nurture leads and condition them to either interact with your sales team or buy what you offer. 

In case you missed out, here’s how you can create a follow-up email sequence for your team.


Get Follow Up Templates for Sales Team Here >

How to automate your email follow ups?

Automating your email follow ups relieves your sales and marketing team from sending the same email manually over and over again. 


With email automation you:
  • Let your team have more time to have 1:1 conversations with qualified leads and move them up the pipeline.
  • Pick the best time to send emails to prospects and leads across different time zones.


How does email automation work in Freshsales?


With Freshsales you can specify an action trigger that your prospect has to perform to receive an email.  After the action is complete, Freshsales automatically sends the email.


You can automate different kinds of email follow ups like:
  • Welcome emails
  • Onboarding emails
  • Drip campaigns
  • Surveys
  • Auto-responder emails
  • Lead nurturing emails
  • Re-engagement emails
  • Reminder to upgrade emails
  • Transactional emails

Setting up email journeys 

Freshsales lets you create journeys, which are workflows that automatically trigger emails based on preset conditions and lead behavior.

  • Set up a journey with our easy-to-use drag and drop builder. Schedule engaging emails and follow ups to be sent to the right lead at the right time.
  • Ensure that you don’t miss out any lead or prospect added to your segment. Send follow-up emails to newly added leads and route the email responses to an available team member.
  • Increase retention and keep your leads, prospects, and customers happy by making them feel valued.
  • Measure the performance of your follow-up emails in real-time. Pause and tweak your journey and maximize the efficiency of your follow-up emails.
  • Help your sales and marketing get a consolidated view of all the emails and communication touchpoints. Give your team everything they need to know to drive conversations to the next level.

Creating a follow up journey inside Freshsales Creating a follow up journey inside Freshsales

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