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Feb 9, 2022


How to send effective follow-up emails with samples & template

Learn how to write a follow-up email after no response with the help of our follow-up email samples and template.

Blog writer

Lawrie Jones


Blog writer

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Table of contents

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So you sent the perfect email hoping for a quick response, and 4 days later... still no reply. 😑

That's how we feel after our carefully drafted emails fall on deaf ears...

If your email has ever been ignored, a follow-up email can help get your conversation back on track. How to write a follow-up email after receiving no response can, however, be tricky.

You don't want to come across as pushy (sometimes people are just busy, and we all sometimes forget things) but you still need to meet your objectives (there's a reason you're following-up on something).

That's what we cover in this article.

We always like to give some useful examples upfront so that you can get started writing your email fast. If you, however, need help with the basics of writing follow-ups, make sure to scroll all the way down for theory and our best tips.

  1. Follow-up email examples
  2. Follow-up email format
  3. When to send a follow-up email

Don't worry if you're struggling to find a professional and polite way of reminding someone to respond. In this detailed guide, we describe how to write a follow-up email after no response and provide some practical examples that you can use.

Lastly, we'll introduce you to our follow-up email template that allows you to follow-up on on an email faster than ever while still being polite, like this:

Follow up email samples

Here, we give some examples on how to create a polite follow-up email, a gentle follow-up email, and a more formal response request email. We've provided the framework for how to follow up on an email below.

These examples illustrate best-practices but should be modified for your specific needs. If you're struggling to find the right words, use these samples to get started:

1. Polite follow-up email sample

Here's a polite follow-up email sample you can send after not receiving a response. When deciding how to follow up on email politely, think about the person and understand why they may not have read your email.

In this polite follow-up email example, we've acknowledged why someone may not have responded to an email – "I understand that you are busy".

Subject line: Be great to hear from you…
Dear Ryan,

I'm just following up on an email I previously sent to you. I understand that you are busy, but I would appreciate it if you could review the email and respond to me as soon as you can.  

If I don't hear from you by the end of the week, I'll call you at your office.

Yours sincerely,
Sarah Jones

2. Follow up email sample after no response

Here is a sample of a follow-up email sent after getting no response. It doesn't beat around the bush but gets straight to the point. This email isn't to someone that you know but a generic email address or unnamed recipient.

Subject line: Be great to hear from you…
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am following up on an email I sent on 12 September. Please can you review the email and respond as soon as possible?

If you would like to discuss the email in further detail, please contact me directly.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,
Sarah Jones

3. Gentle follow up email sample

If you're looking for a gentle follow-up email sample, here's one. This is a lot less formal than the previous ones.  

Subject line: Be great to hear from you…
Hi Ryan,

It was great chatting with you earlier. I'm just getting in touch to check whether you had a chance to review the email I sent to you previously and whether you could reply?

If I don't hear from you in the next few days, I'll give you a call.

Best regards,
Sarah Jones

What is a follow-up email

A follow-up email is an email to a recipient you've already contacted once before. 

There are many reasons why you may want to send a follow-up email, including:

  • Alert a recipient to a previously sent email
  • Request information, a reply, or response
  • Remind someone of an important time or date (for an event, for example)
  • When applying for a job or after sending your resume

The purpose of a follow-up email is to act as a reminder or prompt for a previous email you've sent. It's not to initiate a conversation but to reinvigorate it and generate a response.

The most effective follow-up mails are short, sweet, professional, and (most importantly) to the point.

Don't waste time or words; advise the experts: The US-based team of researchers analyzed over 2 billion emails and found that readers tend to skim over-long emails. 

While they found that half (50%) of emails receive a response within an hour, others could be left for long periods. The worst offenders? Older adults take the longest time to respond and write the lengthiest emails. 

Researchers also found that emails sent during the morning of the working week were most likely to receive a response. However, those sent in the afternoon and over the weekends were less likely to receive a response. Why? Researchers may have discovered the answer…

Why don't people respond to emails

Ever wondered why people don't respond to your emails immediately? 

We receive so many emails that we "triage" them, say researchers. This involves quickly checking them and then deferring them until a time when they can be appropriately handled. 

Recipients may mark or tag emails, file them away or simply leave them unopened in their inboxes. Workers spend up to 28% of their time reading and responding to emails, so we understandably develop strategies to speed up the process. Academics found that 16% of us deferred responding to emails at least once a day. 

What type of emails are we ignoring? "Users are more likely to defer emails when handling them involves replying, reading carefully, or clicking on links and attachments," say the authors.

The crucial learning point is: if your email has been delivered, it has been seen. 

Researchers in the study identified five core reasons why emails go ignored:

  1. The time or effort involved in handling the email 
  2. The identity of the sender
  3. The number of recipients on the thread
  4. The user's workload and context
  5. The urgency of the email message

Before sketching out a reply, try to understand these pressures facing the recipient. For example, sending a follow-up email (however polite) can put additional pressure on the recipient, suggest Adaira Landry and Resa E. Lewiss writing in the Harvard Business Review.

How to write a follow-up email

When you write a follow-up email, pay attention to the email format, especially the start and end. Get to the point quickly, keep it simple, and let the recipient know what you need them to do:

The perfect follow up email format

So, we've explored the reasons why you might need to send a follow-up email (and why you may not have already received a reply). It's time to get into the details of how to draft a follow-up email, using a professional email format.

  1. Email subject 
  2. Greeting
  3. Body 
  4. Closing 
  5. Sign-off/signature 

We've covered how to create professional business inquiry emails in previous blog posts, so we'll follow our advice and keep this section focused.

1. How to write a follow-up email subject line 

Keeping the subject line short, sweet, and simple is essential, advises Rebecca Zucker in the Harvard Business Review. She suggests that 47% of all emails are discarded by having lousy subject lines. Don't make that mistake!

Writing a follow-up email subject line that gets results is challenging (we've been there). We should aim (where possible) for subject lines with five words and under. The reason is that 56% of emails are read on a mobile, where the fewer words, the better.

You can either be explicit about your request or not. Here are few follow-up email subject line examples:

  • Follow up: Email sent on XXX – This is a super formal subject line to a serious email.
  • Response required: Email sent XXX

Again, a serious subject line for a serious email.

  • Reminder to register for XXX – This is a polite email reminder for an event.
  • Be great to hear from you – This is a relaxed and informal approach that you should only use with someone you know.
  • Network event reminder… Another polite follow-up about an event.
  • Thanks for our meeting – This is a different way to follow up with a person you have already met. You're not demanding a response but creating a connection.

Don't use the title you previously did when deciding on your subject header for a follow-up email. There may be a reason why the recipient missed (or ignored) your previous email. Sending the same subject line again could result in it being ignored once again.

It can be awkward sending a follow-up email but avoid being funny in your subject title for a follow-up email. Some people may not share your sense of humor or even find it offensive. 

Some bad follow up email subject examples include:

2. Follow-up email greetings

In the professional world, focus on the formality. That means always using professional greetings unless you are on first-name terms with the recipient.

Want to learn how to start an email professionally and adequately? Check out our feature on how to start an email and how to introduce yourself effectively.

3. Body of a follow-up email

A reminder email is a fast and formal way of raising awareness of an email you have previously sent. 

You need to provide some context with the opening line of your email, something we approach in our section on how to start a follow-up email.

We'll assume that the previous email contained important information that you want the recipient to see. 

There are several ways you can approach this:

  • Forward the original email (see reasons above why this isn't a great idea)
  • Provide the initial email (as an attachment, or pasted below your follow-up email)
  • Provide a reminder of the crucial points (meeting details, for example)
  • Give an external link to the essential information (an event website or invite) 

The choice of how to relay the email or information is up to you. How you choose to do this will affect the structure, focus, and length of your email.

One tip we have is don't be overly apologetic and don't feel bad for bothering people again. This can lead to longer than necessary emails.

4. Closing a follow-up

You've politely requested a response, but you should also let the person know how you will use the information and what you will do if no response is forthcoming. 

If you're requesting their attendance at a meeting, for example, will you contact them on the phone, or is this the last correspondence you will have?

In another example, if you're requesting someone respond to an invoice request, for example, will you then take further action if you receive no response?

Leave your reader in no confusion about your next steps.

5. Follow-up sign-off/signature

A polite and professional sign-off is essential. Don't know how to end an email properly? Please read our guide on how to end an email.

How to start a follow-up email

The opening phrase is arguably one of the most essential parts of your email. So let's look at some of the most common email openers and see whether they're suitable or not:

Formal follow-up email introductory lines:

  • I would like to follow up on my previous email.
  • I would like to follow up on my meeting request.

These are formal-sounding approaches. We'll assume here you don't know the person and are writing in a professional context. These are standard lines suitable for all contexts (email response reminders, meeting reminders, and so forth).

Informal follow-up email introductory lines:

  • I wanted to follow up...
  • I'm just following up...

These are less formal approaches and suggest that you know the person you're writing to. We would caution against using these when contacting someone that you have never met or have spoken with. 

Suitable introductory lines when you include the email:

  • I'm following up on the email below.
  • I'm following up on my previous email.

These examples are suitable for requesting a response when you have provided the original correspondence, either by forwarding the response, pasting it below a new email or as an attachment.

Looking for more creative email opening sentences for your follow-up mail? You'll find ten more examples in our feature of 100 best email opening lines.

When to send a follow-up email?

Before we describe how to write a follow-up email, how soon should you send a follow-up email?

One crucial consideration is whether the email response is time-sensitive. Take, for example; you are inviting someone to an event. You may have a deadline for an answer. In this case, you may need to send a polite follow-up email quickly, which is acceptable. 

If you know the person professionally, you have greater freedom when following up on an email. You may choose to send a professional request quickly, with the understanding that this won't damage your reputation or relationship.

Suppose you're sending a follow up mail to someone you have never met or have no professional relationship with. In that case, we recommend waiting around five days (one working week). 

While it can be frustrating to wait for a response, consider what we've learned about email triage and be patient.

Follow-up email template – the Flowrite way

Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns short instructions into ready-to-send emails and message. However, for emails such as follow-ups after no response it can write the whole email for you.

Try it yourself below to see how to follow up on an email with click of button thanks our follow up email template.

Are you feeling more confident about how to follow up on an email after reading the blog post? We hope so.

The next time you need to write a follow-up email after getting no response, just remember best practices we covered in this guide or turn to our follow-up email samples. Better yet, give Flowrite and our follow-up email template a try.

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