So you sent the perfect email hoping for a quick response, and 8 days later... still no reply. 😑
How to write a follow-up email
If your email has ever been ignored, a follow-up email can help get your conversation back on track.
As the name suggests, follow-up emails are reminders, prompts, and (very gentle) pushes to get a response. If the follow-up email does its job, you'll quickly find a reply ready and waiting in your inbox, and you can (quite literally) get back on with business!
In this ultimate guide on how to write follow-up emails, we delve into the format, breaking it down into sections. Then, we provide 8 follow-up email samples and finish with a 100% customizable template.
Let the email pros at Flowrite guide you through the process of creating fantastic follow-up responses that won't fail to get a reply!
Why send a follow-up email?
Consider the situation: You've emailed your boss with a question about a project.
Time is running out for you, but you're still waiting for a reply. What would you do?
It's easy to get frustrated and even angry if you feel ignored. But before you go nuclear, send a follow-up email. There are many reasons why you're email may have been unanswered, and you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
The hardest part of creating a follow-up email is to stay polite and professional, while pushing for an outcome. It's especially sensitive if you're pushing someone in power, like a boss, manager, director, or valued client.
The (not so secret) trick is to use the formal email structure and established follow-up email format. So let's get to it...
Follow-up email format
The follow-up email format is no mystery to anyone who creates messages for business. It uses the formal email format (you can read about that in our monster guide here!).
Follow-up emails are focused on getting an outcome.
When they open the email, it's professional, personalized, and precise, focusing on your desired outcome. It ends with an outline of the next steps in the process and a suitable sign-off.
It sounds simple because it is! It's time to get into the details of how to draft a follow-up email, using a professional email format:
1. Follow-up email subject line
For every type of email, subject lines have to grab attention. They must express precisely what the message is about and encourage the reader to open it. Fulfilling these principles is a priority for follow-up emails, as your initial message was ignored. Don't make the same mistake again!
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!
You can either be explicit about your request or not. Here are a 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 knowNetwork event reminder (details) – Another polite follow-up about an event
- Thanks for our meeting – This is a different way to follow up with someone you have already met. You're not demanding a response but creating a connection
In case you're wondering, here are some terrible follow-up email subject lines that you should never use in any situation!
- Why didn't you respond?
- Did you get my last email?
- I'm waiting for your reply…
- I know you're busy, but…
- Just checking in…
- Respond ASAP (I included your manager as CC)
Let's start crafting a follow-up email together, starting with the subject line:
2. Follow-up email body
The follow-up email body is where we start asking for what we want: a reply.
Start with a personalized greeting that uses the person's name. A "Hi" or "Hello" is fine, along with their first name. (Don't forget any professional titles, too.)
Your email is about getting attention and encouraging a response, but try to avoid becoming emotional in your requests. The format outlined below is a great way to ensure you get the desired outcome without damaging your reputation or burning any bridges.
Restate your original request
Start with a warm greeting and remind the person of the previous email (request or correspondence). Keep things upbeat and friendly rather than ice-cold and overly formal.
Remember, there may be legitimate and fair reasons you've received no reply, so always give the person the benefit of the doubt (until proven otherwise).
Restate what's needed and possible deadline (call-to-action)
Your email opening is positive, friendly and continues to build your relationship. The door is still open – but let's push for some answers!
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.
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.
In this section, we state what's required and provide a deadline to drive action. You can offer them an opportunity to extend the deadline if there's a genuine reason why they've not been able to respond.
3. How to end follow-up email
To finish off your follow-up email, you can restate your overall aims of the message – and the outcome you want. Even if you're feeling frustrated, don't let that come across in your follow-up emails. Focus on staying 100% professional!
Before sending, don't forget to add your name, signature, and other details. Double check you've added the attachments, documents, and anything else the recipient may require!
Follow-up email examples
Now, in the classic Flowrite style, we stop telling and start showing.
We give you 8 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 samples are written to help you understand the format and find the right words. Use them as the basis for building your follow-up emails.
Or, if you're feeling lazy, copy and paste them. It's your choice!
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".
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.
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.
4. Polite follow-up email sample for a request
We start with a polite follow-up email sample to make you sound like a pro. This sample is a basic – but effective – way to follow up.
We use the structure set out previously and leave the reader in no doubt about what we want, when, and why.
5. Politely follow up with your boss sample
Emailing your boss requires some tact. You'll naturally want to push for a response, but remember who has the power (they do!).
In this sample, we create a polite follow-up you can use with even the most fearsome boss.
Be bold and confident that you're doing the right thing for your career and the business.
6. Chaser email sample
Chasers aren't just soft drinks taken after hard liquor; they're also emails to accelerate a response. Chaser emails are often sent to get attendance at a meeting, confirmation of a booking, or dietary requirements.
Chaser emails are briefer than the other follow-ups and less formal – but don't be complacent. Check out our chaser email sample.
7. Following up on my previous email sample
How many times have you had to follow up on an email that's been ignored? For us, it's lots and lots of times, sadly.
Email follow-ups are formal and stick to the structure – but there is flexibility. If you're emailing a colleague, you can be friendlier. If you're emailing an existing customer or potential client, stay formal.
8. Waiting for a response email sample
Sometimes you can find yourself left waiting for a response. This can hold you up and stop you from progressing on projects or achieving your aims.
Don't delay; send a follow-up email, and let's get you some answers!
This email sample provides an engaging way you can explain you're waiting for a response – and why you need one ASAP!
Follow-up email template
If the samples above don't suit your style, or fit your circumstances, here's a 100% customizable follow-up email template you can use.
This follow-up message follows the format and sticks rigidly to an approach we know works.
To use this template, work from top to bottom and fill in the gaps. You can delete any section you don't need or add more information where required.
By the end, you'll have a follow-up message that will get results!
Follow-up on how to write follow-ups
And so, the end is near, and by this stage, you should know how to write follow-up emails. We’ll say it again, but the key is to focus on the outcome and ignore any emotions.
Always remember there could be a legitimate reason your original email or request wasn't answered, so give the person a chance. When writing follow-up emails, use the standard format simple structure, keep things short, and include a CTA.
Never settle for anything less than an answer!
Follow-up email template using Flowrite
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 to our follow up email template.
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