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Best Follow Up Email Subject Line Examples that Get Replies

Reaching out can be a struggle when people aren’t replying to your initial email. It’s essential to follow up as it allows you to bring your email back to the top of your prospect’s inbox. When you’re sending emails, you want to be seen, and you want the recipient to reach your message. 

But it can be hard to stand out if you’re entirely focusing on getting the most out of your outbound emails. You’re not just supposed to write amazing copy for your recipient to read; you also need to focus on the subject line.

An excellent follow-up email subject line provides a good reason for your recipient to check out this and your previous email. It’s essential to understand why the recipient hasn’t gotten back to you. You also want to know how they’ve interacted with your first email. 

Tracking metrics such as opens and clicks can be a great source of understanding what is happening with your initial emails, even when you’re just trying to contact an individual. Whether you’re trying to book a demo call, start the conversation through email, or need some advice, sending an email with an excellent follow-up email subject line can make all the difference. 

Why craft a great follow-up email subject line?

Contacting people online can be hard, especially when the other person is busy. They may have seen your email, took a mental note to take care of it later, and have completely forgotten about it 15 minutes later. It’s not uncommon for people to lose focus on the emails they’re receiving; today, we receive more emails than ever. But when you’re sending out emails yourself, you want to be seen. And you want to make sure that people reply to you. 

A follow-up email subject line reopens the conversation. It allows you to quickly get the attention of your recipient again to follow up on your first email. Just because someone doesn’t reply to your initial email does not mean that they’re ignoring it. Often it just means they’re busy. But even when people are working, there are a couple of things you can do to still get the most out of the follow-up email that you are sending. There’s more to a follow-up email than just the recipient:

  • You need to make sure they have a reason to open the email

  • The message within the email needs to be relevant

  • You need to provide a preferred action for your recipient

  • Focus on being short and sweet is essential

What are the best practices for the follow-up email subject line?

When it comes to sending emails, there are a lot of best practices that you should cover. The best practices do not just apply to the follow-up email subject line. If you want your recipients to read your emails and respond to them, several essential factors impact the rate of success. 

In the end, you need to think like your recipient; if you got the email that you’re sending right now, would you respond? To ensure that you’re sending the best emails that get responses, you should stick to the following best practices:

  • Straight to the point

  • Encourage to click or reply

  • Look at the engagement with your previous email

  • Make sure it’s personal

  • Keep it relevant to the situation

Straight to the point - there’s no need to write a 1000 word piece of content and paste it into your email. Most people are busy and instead want to focus on other important tasks. Busy people don’t have time to read long emails that contain a single question. Every email should be straight to the point and follow this core: what can you do for the other person, and what do you want them to do for you? Every email has a purpose. There’s no reason to use hundreds of words to explain what you’re trying to say. Avoid wasting your recipient’s time. Start focusing on writing shorter emails. Every professional email template is short and straight to the point.

Encourage to click or reply - though the subject line for a follow-up email is important, the content of the email is significant as well. You need to specify to the other person what they should do to respond to your email. If you never ask any questions in your email, odds are people aren’t going to send anything back. And even if you do ask questions, you should make it as easy as possible for your recipient to reply. Nobody enjoys spending a lot of time in their email inbox; you want to handle all the emails as quickly as possible and move on to more important things. So, encourage your recipient to click on the link or to reply to you, and state how and why they should do that. 

Based on engagement with the previous email - if you are trying to book a demo or sell a service/product, getting no reply might be frustrating. You might even feel like the recipient is ignoring you. But most of the time, people forget to answer because they add the email to the list of “other things to do once I get this big pile of work out of my way.” And sometimes they haven’t even opened your initial email yet. It got stuck in the inbox surrounded by dozens of unopened emails. When you’re writing a follow-up email subject line, you should try to figure out how the recipient has interacted with your email until now. Have they opened it? Did they click a link? Or did they not open the email at all? 

Make sure it’s personal - nobody likes to receive emails that look generic as if they were sent to dozens of others. This is why you avoid downloading free email lists. If you want to schedule a demo call or sell a service/product, you need to personalize your emails. There are many tools out there that allow you to get more data based on the email address of your recipient. Try to use that data within the email to make it look more personal. You will quickly see that your results will improve significantly.

Keep it relevant to the situation - don’t just copy the “best follow-up email subject line” you find somewhere online. Your subject line and the email’s content need to be relevant to your recipient. Sending a follow-up subject line such as “Next steps” may have resulted in high open rates and response rates for some people. But if you’re following up on a cold sales email, using the words “Next steps” makes no sense. Stay focused on the situation and limit the words in your subject line to what is relevant right now.

Focus on making your emails look professional - if you’re using a lot of images in your email, odds are people will not see most of your emails. Almost every email client blocks images from senders who are not on the recipient’s contact list. Make sure you use as much text as possible. You can include an email signature in your emails to add some extra dimension to your emails, but it shouldn't be the highlight of the follow-up email. The end goal is to get your prospect to respond to your email, not to create great-looking emails that don’t get any replies or never get opened.

Give your recipient an easy out - sometimes people are just busy, or they don’t want to respond to your email at all. It might be useful to add a short line to your follow-up email saying, “if you don’t have time, just let me know, and I’ll let you go for now.” This is often much appreciated by the recipient, as he/she already feels the pressure of having to say no. However, postponing replying to your email because he/she has so many other things to do is much more comfortable. If they tell you they don’t have any time, write down their details and follow up with them in a few weeks from now.  

Why you should always follow up business emails

Following up had resulted in many opportunities for people who kept pushing when others already gave up. Getting no reply to your email may seem like the other person is not interested, but it’s usually best to follow up at least once. Some people follow up at least eight times until the recipient tells them to either a) stop emailing them (a hard no) or b) finally has time to talk about the email. 

What if that extra follow-up email results in you landing that new client or project? By using an excellent follow-up email subject line and better copy, you can keep following up as long as you’re not annoying your recipient. If they feel like you're annoying, you will quickly find out by the big “NO” in your inbox.

Why experimenting is key to proper follow-ups

There’s no golden formula for the perfect follow-up email subject line. It’s different for every industry, product, recipient, sender, and even the time you’re sending your email has an impact on whether your recipient will read it and answer. That’s why it’s important to experiment. Experimentation provides critical insights that will help you to improve your follow-up email subject lines further and get better results every day.

Image source: B2Bexpos

You should actively be testing different versions of the follow-up subject line, but also aspects such as

  1. the recipient’s local time

  2. whether you’re using their name in the subject line

  3. and even if you should use an emoji in the subject line. 

The latter is usually not recommended in the B2B space as this depends on the recipient. Certain Twitter personalities or people that you know appreciate emojis can be motivated to open more emails. But in most of the business world, emojis make you look unprofessional, especially when you’re trying to sign more prominent clients. 

When to use which follow-up email subject line

Picking the perfect follow-up email subject line to use depends on the situation and the recipient. You’re not going to send the CEO of a Fortune 500 company an emoji-filled subject line. Below we will dive into several use cases for specific follow-up subject lines:

  • When they haven’t responded to your cold email

  • When they showed interest but aren’t responding

  • After recently meeting them but not getting an answer to your first email

When they haven’t responded to your cold email

Subject line

Why it works

Just a quick follow-up

It’s obvious what you mean: you’ve sent an email before and want your recipient to look at it

Quick question

Ask the recipient whether they’ve received your email

I forgot to mention

Perfect when you have any additional comments on your previous email

RE: Previous email subject line

You can also send a follow-up with your last subject line and adding “RE:” in front of it

When they showed interest but aren’t responding

Subject line

Why it works

Can [their company name] wait?

If they haven’t responded yet, you want to emphasize that their issue might be needing a fix soon

Quick 5 minutes?

Perfect when you want to hop on a quick 5-minute call to schedule a future call

Too busy?

If they haven’t gotten back to you, sometimes they’re just busy. So ask whether they are busy and if you should schedule a call 1-2 weeks from now

Do you want the last spot?

By creating FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on your recipient’s side, they might quickly act

After recently meeting them but not getting an answer to your first email

Subject line

Why it works

What we talked about

Give a quick recap of why you connected when you met, and why you’re following up on your previous email

A quick note on our conversation

Take a random topic that you’ve talked about when you met and add a “did you get my last email?” line to it

Is this a priority?

Just ask your recipient if the product or service you are providing is a priority right now. If it’s not, you’re saving your own time and your recipient’s time

How do you know you’re using the right follow-up email subject line?

In most cases, you don’t. As mentioned before, it’s all about testing different variations of the subject line to figure out what works best in your case. You should even consider your way of speaking outside of email to understand what type of email subject line you should be using. Using an email subject line for a commercial email will be a lot different than a networking email subject line.

Image source: Grammarly 

It’s hard to find the right follow-up subject line at first. But once you iterate and understand which path works best at what point during the conversation, you will start getting better results. It’s especially useful if you start automating your follow-ups based on user behavior, as this will help you to get better insights.

How to experiment with follow-up email subject lines

Follow-up emails can be sent in different scenarios. When you’re sending out cold emails and want to automate essential steps within your campaigns, it’s useful to start using drip campaigns based on user behavior.

Drip campaigns allow you to understand how people are interacting with the emails you are sending. This data can trigger the next step within the drip campaign. Here’s a short example:

  1. The cold email was sent on day 1

  2. The recipient still hasn’t opened the email on day 3

  3. Because they have not opened the email, you can send a follow-up email #1

  4. The recipient opens your follow-up email but doesn’t respond

  5. The drip campaign sends another follow-up 

That’s just the short version. Drip campaigns allow you to set specific triggers based on how the recipient interacts with your email. Do they click the main link in your first email? Follow up two days later with more information about that page. Do they open the email without clicking the link? Send a follow-up that includes a link to the page again. You can even launch experiments to understand which cold email subject line creates the most conversations with recipients.

Image source: ClickDimensions 

Drip campaigns are highly useful to start experimenting with different follow-up email subject lines. They’re handy to get insights into how specific subject lines perform based on recipient behavior. And they allow you to work towards a better drip campaign based on results you’re getting from your current campaigns. In the end, it’s recommended to use drip campaigns when you’re sending cold emails, as it can improve your success rate significantly. 

Things to avoid when sending follow-up emails

First and foremost, you want to avoid being annoying to the recipient. Sending a follow-up email because you might think they’ve forgotten about you is fine. But you shouldn’t try to continually appear at the top of the recipient’s inbox by sending multiple emails a day. Or even one a day. Follow-up emails should give the recipient enough time to respond. If the content of an email is not a priority to someone’s life, they’re more likely to add the email to the ‘I will do this later’ list. 

Do not use caps at any time. You want to look professional when you are sending follow-up emails. Getting your recipient’s attention is not about being the loudest. It’s about writing the catchiest email subject line that will make your recipient click your email as soon as they see it. Including capital letters, lots of exclamation marks or even a subject line full of emojis is not going to get you response any sooner. 

Avoid writing clickbait like subject lines. Using clickbait titles and subject lines is rarely a good idea. It’s useful, however, to write clickbait like subject lines for marketing campaigns such as your newsletter. You want the highest open rate and the most traffic to your website. But when you’re trying to plan a meeting with your recipient, using clickbait like words is often going to end up looking very bad on your end. It’s hard to take you seriously when you’re trying to use techniques that are used by thousands of websites on the internet in your professional emails.

Don’t look too eager for your recipient to respond. Your recipients will appreciate it if you don’t make it look like your world depends on them answering your email. It’s off-putting. You want to build a relationship with the people you are reaching out to. Just like you wouldn’t disturb anyone continually in your social circle, you shouldn’t start bugging potential future clients. Most people have a 2-3 day answering schedule for emails that aren’t a priority now. Don’t make yourself look bad by pressuring the other party to answer your email.

What types of tools should you use to send business follow-up emails?

With email taking over most of the business communications today, there are dozens of tools that allow you to send follow-up emails. These tools also provide insights into how people are interacting with the emails you are sending. Follow-up emails are a great way to create more opportunities for your business. But it comes with a downside: it takes a lot of work to keep track of all the emails you are sending, and the follow-ups you should soon be sending. 

Automated emails are a great way to keep track of all the outgoing and scheduled emails. Just like drip campaigns, automated emails are a great way to use recipient behavior to send the right email at the right time. Maybe you want to send a follow-up after 48 hours if the recipient hasn’t gotten back to you yet. And if you want that for a single recipient, maybe you want it for a few dozen of them as well. Doing all of this by hand will cause massive headaches as you’re trying to remember when to send that email. Using automated emails allows you to sit back and let the automation do all the work.



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