Do you think you know how to send a follow up email that will get a response? How many times have you sent what you thought was the perfect follow-up email, only to be greeted with silence?

It doesn’t feel great to be ignored. After all, you wouldn’t be emailing in the first place if you didn’t feel you had something to offer.

If you’re trying to land the next big deal for your company, connect with an influencer, or navigate a tough interview process to get your next job, you need to learn how to send a follow up email that will get a response and convert. 

How To Send A Follow Up Email: 9 Simple Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Luckily, writing great follow-up emails doesn’t have to be difficult. With just a few simple tricks, you can quickly learn how to write follow-up emails without all the guesswork.

Best of all, these email tricks will also make the odds of you booking a call, meeting, or second interview much better.

Here are 9 mistakes you don’t want to make when it comes to sending follow up emails. That way, you can create and send emails that actually get results.

Mistake #1. Your Emails Lack Personalization 

The more personalized and customized your follow up email is, the more likely it is that you’ll get a response.

Studies from as far back as 2013 have proven this to be true. Personalized emails get more opens and more clicks across the board. When you ask yourself how to send a follow up email personalization should be the first thing you consider!

send-personalized-follow-up-email(Image Source: Sending personalized follow-up Emails)

The personalized touches will make people feel like you value them as human beings rather than just another automated email to check off of your to-do list (and it’ll show them that you are human, too).

One simple way to customize your follow-up email is to use merge tags within your follow up emails or mail merges. Merge tags are variables used to change a small part of an email for each prospect, lead or customer. One common tactic used by marketing and sales teams is to insert the first name of your prospect at the beginning of your follow up email.

With ContactMonkey’s Mail Merge tool for Outlook 365 you can easily create friendly follow up emails by personalizing the email subject line and body copy with some information you have on your prospect, for example, first name, job title, etc. 

how to send a follow up email


People respond to their name. It’s even been shown to activate certain sectors of the brain in a unique way.

Ever thought you heard your name in a crowd only to look around and see that no one was actually talking to you?

Got you to pay attention to your surroundings pretty quick, didn’t it?

When someone hears their name, it makes them self-aware. It makes them focus on you and eliminate other distractions.

Don’t stop there though. You can also use merge tags to insert compliments, where you found them, or even reference something they recently published.

Jason Quey of The Storyteller Marketer offers these questions to help with your personalization:

  1. How can you build a connection, so they trust you?
  2. Can you provide context that relates what they are working on with what you are doing?
  3. Can you give a reason why they should work with you?

To sum it all up: you have to try to build a relationship.

And dropping in a few merge tags is only the first step. The entire content and message should be personalized to a certain degree, too.

Why should they trust you? How does your work relate to their current or previous projects? What’s in it for them to work with you?

Think about all of these questions and come up with an approach to all of them before you hit send.

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Mistake #2. You’re Not Researching Like the Pros

If you don’t have a lot of experience sending cold sales emails or if you don’t even know how to send a follow up email, it may seem like it makes more sense to send more messages instead of spending time on researching your follow up email strategy.

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Never follow up on your email prospects without doing your homework.


(Image Source: How to personalize follow up emails with prospect’s LinkedIn information)

Say you want to send an email to the prospect above. She has worked with VerticalResponse, HAND in HAND Custom Jewelry Design, and Banana Republic. She went to Florida Atlantic University and lives in San Francisco, CA.

You now have a handful of personal information about your prospect (that she wants you to know) to help you make an impression.

The more research you’ve done on the person you’re trying to reach, the better chances you have of making a personal connection.

Don’t be afraid to visit someone’s LinkedIn profile, website, or Twitter page to get the info you need. It’s not creepy, I promise.

And all the top sellers have been doing it for years. Look at this research from top sellers and learn how to perfect your follow up email to clients!


(Image Source: How to send a follow up email)

The information that these people are disclosing online is there for a reason. Use it to your advantage as an icebreaker and starting point for a conversation, or relate their previous work to your experiences when you are crafting your cold sales emails.

It doesn’t help to compliment them on their past accomplishments, either, while you’re on the topic.

Tapping into emotion increases the likelihood you’ll get a response – don’t be afraid to appeal to vanity. If they recently got some press or accomplished something notable, don’t be afraid to reference it in your sales outreach email.

Mistake #3. Not Cleaning Your Data

If you’re the type of person who receives lots of cold outreach emails, or if you’ve ever taken a look through your spam folder, you might be used to seeing automation like the following:


Did you notice what they did wrong there? There’s an extra space after the prospect’s name, before the comma.

If you’ve ever seen anything like this, you know the thoughts it brings.

You might be thinking, “Did they not take enough time to make sure there weren’t any errors in their email?” or “Do they not care that their writing has mistakes?”

Either way, you’re questioning the sender’s credibility. Which makes you pretty unlikely to respond.

This is the result of not cleaning your data. And the cost is huge, especially when it comes to your cold lead email outreach and follow up strategy.


(Image Source: Follow up email mistakes)

When you leave extra spaces in your spreadsheet, that carries into your email automation, making it obvious you’re not sending a personal email.

Other common ways you might have “dirty” data would be leaving the legal title on a business name (LLC, INC, etc.), or writing the business name in inappropriate all caps.

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Mistake #4. Your Emails Are Too Long

If you’re trying to reach someone important, chances are they’re pretty busy. This means you need to keep your emails short. Otherwise, they simply won’t be read.

According to David Silverman at the Harvard Business Review, “Books are read, business documents are scanned.”

A recent study on optimal follow up email length conducted by professors at NYU, Boston University, MIT found that shorter emails received faster responses and increased productivity.  

The length of an email is 50 to 125 words.

how to send a follow up email that will convert

You can always cut things down and keep things brief. Never make too big of an ask in the first email, and don’t tell lengthy stories in your first engagement with someone.

If you’ve already cut text out, keep on cutting.

Having trouble keeping your emails short? Check out Five Sentences, a personal policy of keeping all emails five sentences or less in length that’s endorsed by Lifehacker and Zen Habits.


(Image Source)

Mistake #5. Lacking a Clear Call-to-Action

If you want to dramatically increase the odds of getting a response from your follow up emails, especially a positive one, it’s important to have a clear call-to-action.

If you’re not already familiar, a CTA is a specific instruction telling the prospect, lead or customer what you want them to do next.

This could be responding to your email, scheduling a meeting, or clicking on a link you sent.

Here’s an example of a call to action Point Blank SEO does it:


(Image Source)

Here are some quick tips for using Call To Actions in your follow up emails more efficiently:  

  1. Have only one (or at most two) CTAs. Having more will overwhelm them and decrease the chance that your prospect will do anything.
  2. Make it easy to say yes by focusing on how your ask will benefit the prospect. An ask feels less like an ask when you tell them what’s in it for them.

Don’t make the prospect do the work of finding a time for a meeting. Instead, say something like:

“Would you be available for a quick 10-minute call sometime next week? I’m happy to suggest some times.”

Scheduling apps like Calendly can also make this easier and you should definitely include scheduling links like this when considering how to send a follow up email.


(Image Source: Optimising your follow up email call to actions)

A single click and they can set up the appointment themselves.

Mistake #6. Failing to Leverage Social Proof

Does your company have great reviews or testimonials?

Are industry experts using your product or services?

Chances are, whoever you’re emailing isn’t going to take the time to find out.

So use this information to your advantage. Modesty should go out the door when it comes to writing great cold sales emails and when you are learning how to send a follow up email. 

You want to tell people why you’re worth their time by providing social proof that they can’t deny – and that they don’t have to search for themselves. Because chances are, they don’t have the time.

According to OptinMonster, there are six different types of social proof that are perfect for you follow up email or cold emails:

  1. Customers –  testimonials, case studies, reviews from existing customers


(Image Source: Using social proof when writing follow up emails)

  1. Experts – social proof from experts with credentials in your line of work


(Image Source: Using Expert insights in your follow up emails)

  1. Celebrities – celebrities who have vouched for your product or service


(Image Source: Celebrity endorsements in your sales outreach strategy)

  1. Crowds – quantities of people who provide credibility (“XX people use my service/have purchased from me”)


(Image Source: Using real metrics in your email strategy)

  1. Friends – the friends of who you’re targeting (“XX of your Facebook friends like my company online”)


(Image Source: Targetting sales prospects with Facebook)

  1. Certifications – a credible certificate proving that you are a legitimate or successful organization (“FDA approved”)


(Image Source: Using company certifications within your b2b email strategy)

Include a reference to at least one of these types of social proof in your follow-up email, so people know you’re legit.

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Mistake #7. You Sound Like a Robot (Show Your Personality)

Email Templates are great. But they’re also obviously predictable.

Remember how we talked about the importance of customization? Well, that goes for templates, too.

Your boring and predictable templates are costing you. Be unexpected or even humorous. You’ll want to tread carefully with humor, as not all jokes are appreciated by all people.

Be sure that whatever humor you use isn’t offensive, tacky, or inappropriate.

Even just a funny subject line can make all the difference between getting a message back and never receiving a response.

Using funny subject line within your follow up emails is a great technique for getting a prospect to respond, for example, I love this subject line  “Ch-h-h-a-n-g-e-s” for a prospect who stopped responding to your emails or never responded in the first place.

humour in your sales email follow ups

(Image Source: Using humor in your sales follow up emails)

Another email example from this article includes the subject line: “Just like Ross Gellar’s Prom Night…” in an email to a prospect who never showed up to a meeting.


(Image Source: Funny follow up email samples)

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