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How to follow up on your cold emails

Learn how to follow-up on cold emails. Find out how to time your follow-up, how to prioritize and focus its content and improve your sales strategy.

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7 minutes

    By Tobias

    After his studies in industrial engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Tobias co-founded Mailbutler GmbH together with Fabian in 2015. In his free time, he spends most of his time in the garden and with his son Timo.

    In the first article of the "How to Master Sales with Mailbutler" series, I outlined the process for targeting and personalizing cold emails. This process helps you win customer leads and integrates well with most sales strategies. Today we will be looking at what comes next: the follow-up.

    In this post, I will walk you through:

    • How to time your next email properly, prioritize and focus its content
    • Set up the template
    • Organize the process for a large audience

    Like to know more? Here are the remaining blog posts from the series "How to Master Sales with Mailbutler":

    Knowing when to send a follow-up

    Timing is key. When you are warm emailing — sending information and content to people you already have some relationship or correspondence with — you still need to know your audience: sometimes you send an email each week, sometimes two.

    Sometimes they respond that they will check out your service; sometimes they are already using it. You don’t want to forget about this mailing list, but being pushy can put people off.

    For cold emails, writing to leads can happen much more often.

    I have a 3-day default follow-up time for my contacts. If they haven’t responded to my first message, a second email could keep me fresh in their mind.

    At this point, it’s easy to define what should come next. If you haven’t received a response to your email, just send your leads a follow-up. You can now set another follow-up reminder in case you still don't get a reply.

    Follow Up Effectively

    Designed for business owners and freelancers using Outlook, Gmail and Apple Mail.

    Follow-up is supposed to grab attention

    If your first email didn’t get a response, then you send a follow-up. That’s why they are great for bringing you more attention from leads, who may already have an inbox full of messages to sort through.

    Sending a follow-up can also help show if you are on the right path to gaining new clients (I talk about how to do that below).

    After your first batch of 100 emails, you can evaluate the open and click-through rates for your first and second emails.

    This will help you understand what does well, and what needs improvement.

    The following post in this series will discuss how to evaluate your cold emails. Even if your first campaign was not as successful as you expected, I will help you figure out what performed well and why.

    Set up another message template

    Following up on cold emails should be kept short. You are just sending a reminder, not the whole story. No need to research. No need to personalize each message. Send an email. It really helps. And again, creating a message template will save you some precious time.

    The tone of what you are saying is important.

    Remember: some people get hundreds of emails every day. Do your best to be aware of that. Try not to push.

    An important point: don’t bring up the fact that your note is a reminder. Writing, “since you didn’t get back to me,” assumes that your reader was supposed to respond. They don’t have to.

    Instead, here’s a better way to open your follow-up: “I want to make sure you received all of the information you need.” Or, “I believe that our product could really benefit you, and I can promise it will only take 5 minutes to find out.”

    Repeating your Call-to-Action (CTA) makes the reason you are writing to them clear.

    It shows them what steps they can take, and stays focused on what the purpose of the follow-up is: bringing you, and your service or product, attention.

    Extra tip: Instead of sending a new email, go back to your first one and click reply.

    Then your second email is part of what looks like an existing conversation, and not a new message that they may just sift through. It is more likely to be seen as important.

    Organizing now takes the pressure off later

    Here are the ways that I work to stay organized:


    In the last post of the series, I mentioned that we at Mailbutler use Hubspot: a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) that helps us track all communications with our customers.

    It makes it really easy for my colleagues to take over my work when I’m on vacation.

    In Hubspot, we can create filters like “first contacts,” with a date to find the first, second, and third contacted individuals behind leads.

    We then label them as abandoned or hot leads, keeping everyone internally up-to-date.

    This avoids wasting time, and potentially unprofessionally repetitive communications.

    Task Managers

    You can stay within Hubspot and organize tasks directly associated with customers from there. Or, as stated before, I like to work with the task manager Trello, especially for warm emailing.

    I set up a list for my leads and the follow-up reminders appear there as tasks with the due dates I set. It will save the direct link to the respective cold email that I initially sent someone.

    That way I stay on top of everything and it saves me time searching through my ”Sent” folder.

    Extra tip: You can adjust the task due dates in Trello. I would stick with 3 days by default when it comes to the cold email follow-up.

    But especially in regards to warm emailing or when life gets in the way, it's just good to be flexible.

    Email tracking

    After sending the follow-up, you will want to know if they read your email. Just like with your first contact, you need to judge if more action and effort are worth your time. Maybe they clicked through your links this time? Mailbutler allows you to do this.mailbutler tracking

    Here's a checklist for your follow-up

    Follow the checklist that condenses the process of sending the follow-up with Mailbutler:

    1. Set up another template
    2. Don’t spend time on personalizing — it’s just a reminder 
    3. Highlight your USP but avoid being pushy
    4. Repeat Call-to-Action
    5. Using a task manager? Set up a list of leads for the following steps
    6. Activate email tracking

    Get in touch

    When it comes to following up on cold emails, Mailbutler's AI Smart Assistant could prove to be an invaluable resource. It can help you draft unique and engaging follow-up emails that stand out in crowded inboxes. The Smart Assistant generates thoughtful and personalized follow-up content, increasing your chances of securing a response.

     With Mailbutler's Smart Assistant, your follow-up email game could be significantly enhanced, elevating your chances of a successful connection.

    If you like what you read and want to learn about Mailbutler’s product, feel free to try it for 14 days (for free).

    Follow up on cold emails FAQs

    Should you follow up after a cold email?

    Yes, you should. However, you should make sure not to be annoying as your cold email recipients might be getting dozens of messages on a daily basis.

    A useful rule of thumb is to follow up on your cold emails at least three business days after you send them. You should also avoid sending more than three follow-up emails.

    If your recipients don’t reply to either of your follow-ups, chances are they’re not interested in what you have to say or offer.

    How do I follow up on a cold email without response?

    Here are five foolproof tips on how to follow up on a cold email after no response:

    • Determine when it’s best to send a follow-up. You don’t want to follow up on your cold emails too soon as you might come across as impatient or pushy. The most appropriate time to send a follow-up is at least three working days after you send the initial cold email. Mailbutler allows you to set follow-up reminders so you don’t miss out on any business opportunities.
    • Keep your follow-up email short. The main purpose of your follow-up messages should be to remind your recipients that you’ve reached out to them. There’s no need to share all the important information again or personalize your follow-up emails. That’s exactly why you should consider creating a follow-up message template. It’ll save you a lot of time.
    • Repeat your CTA. Use the same call to action in your cold email and your follow-up message. This way, your recipient will know what the new email is about and what they’re supposed to do.
    • Reply to your own email. Instead of sending a new email, reply to your first message to create a sense of continuity. This way, your recipient will likely perceive it as important and open it.
    • Track the follow-up message. Your work doesn’t end when you hit send. To decide whether you should send another follow-up email, you’ll need to know if your recipient has opened your message and clicked on the link(s) you included. Mailbutler’s Email Tracking feature provides you with these and more useful pieces of information.

    How do you politely follow up an email?

    One of the safest and most polite ways to follow up on an email is to not mention that your message is a reminder (don’t write “follow-up” in the subject line or start the email with “just following up”). Instead, provide value, keep the email concise, and include a CTA.

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