How to Follow-up Using Cold Email (examples and templates)

Learn about strategies and best practices for following up with cold email.

Cleverly Team
Jan 5, 2022
11 min.





You put a lot of work into drafting your cold emails. What about your follow-up emails? Many follow-ups are impersonal and unmemorable. Or, even worse, business owners get nervous about sending a second or third email after sending their initial one. They don't want to seem pushy. Many believe that if a prospect didn’t respond to your first email, then they’re not interested. That might be true sometimes, but it’s not always the case.

There are several reasons why a LinkedIn prospect might not respond to your initial cold email. It could have gotten flagged by a filter and sent to the intended recipient’s spam folder. The email may have ended up in an inbox, but the subject line didn’t grab the recipient’s attention. Or you may have crafted the perfect cold email, but the recipient's work distracted them, and they forgot about it. It happens to the best of us.

No matter what, your initial outreach shouldn’t be the only time you reach out to prospects. Following up after your first message is vital. The last thing you want to do, though, is send a generic “just touching base” message. You should put as much effort and thought into your follow-ups as you do your first messages. With the right strategy, you can craft effective follow-up emails that grab attention and get responses.

Stats That Prove the Importance of Follow-Up Email‌

Yesware reports that 70% of email chains stop after just one email. As a business, one of the last things you want to do is drive away prospects and lose leads. However, well-crafted follow-up emails can do just the opposite.

Studies indicate that an email drip series with four to seven messages can yield three times more responses than those with one to three. Believe it or not, following up just once can generate 22% more replies.

If you’re still not convinced, a study from Iko System found an 18% response rate after one email and a 13% response rate after the fourth one. The company also noted a 27% response rate following a sixth follow-up email. Going back to Yesware, that same study mentioned earlier found a 30% response rate after one email and a 14% response rate after four, but even after the tenth email, prospects were still responding.

As you can see, cold email follow-up can be effective. The key is to do it in a thoughtful, non-intrusive way.

Following-up via Cold Email Overview

Before you can start sending out follow-up emails, you have to send your first cold email. As your first contact with a prospect, it sets the tone for the rest of your interactions. You’ve worked hard to write a winning message. You hit send and then you wait.

If you don’t get a response to your initial email, don’t get discouraged. That’s why we send follow-ups. There are a few different types of emails you can send during this process:

  • First follow-up: your first follow-up email
  • Second follow-up: begin a new thread that offers a different value-add
  • Third follow up: restate your call to action
  • Fourth follow-up: ask permission to follow-up
  • Fifth follow up: start a new thread again (provide a link to a beneficial article)
  • Sixth follow-up: send a “breakup” email

There aren’t any set rules you need to follow when it comes to your follow-up emails on LinkedIn. These guidelines, however, can help you set up the cadence that works best for your business.

Cold Email Personalization

As we touched on earlier, your initial cold email is your first interaction with a prospect. It’s what sets the tone. Even though you don’t know the person you’re sending the email to, personalization is key. You don't have to know them personally — you just have to know something about them to customize your message. You can find inspiration on their LinkedIn profile or their company's blog. The prospect may have written an article or posted about a recent accomplishment.

Just as you personalize your initial cold email, you should also personalize your follow-ups. Without it, your prospects might get the impression that they aren’t important to your business. While you don’t have to personalize the opening of every single email, you still want to include relevant and interesting value-adds, case studies, or other resources. Continued personalization helps you stand out from your competition.

Subject Lines That Will Get Your Emails Opened and Best Practices

Your subject lines are just as important as the content within the body of your emails. After all, it’s the first thing your prospect sees. It should grab the recipient’s attention and convince them to open your email. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Would you like to continue our discussion, [prospect name]?
  • [Prospect name], I thought you might find these articles helpful
  • I’ve had another idea since we last spoke
  • Our next steps
  • [Connection] suggested we get in touch
  • Are you still thinking it over? This might help

Best Practices for Subject Lines

Some salespeople reply to their initial cold email. If your prospect didn’t respond to it, this gives them a reference when you send your first follow-up. However, when you reply, consider editing your subject line.

When typing subject lines for follow-ups, make sure to personalize them. A study by Backlinko shows that personalized subject lines can boost your response rate by over 30%, and showed that the ideal subject length is between 36 and 50 characters. While this might seem like a lot, it’s only a few words. Keeping it brief ensures that your prospects will be able to read the entire subject line quickly, especially if they're reading on their phone.

You should make sure to:

  • Keep it simple and relatable
  • Make it interesting
  • Offer something of value
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Avoid being clickbait-y

When to Send Follow-Up Emails

Knowing when to send follow-up emails can be a challenge. You don’t want to follow up too soon, but you don't want to wait too long. You also want to consider the time of day you send your emails.

The exact timing of your cold email follow-up will depend on your sales cycle. If you have a shorter cycle, you should follow up sooner. With a longer cycle, you can wait a bit longer. Most experts recommend sending the first follow-up no later than three days after your initial cold email outreach, though.

It's also worth considering the hour and day that you send your email. According to research compiled by Coschedule, certain times of the day result in higher open rates. According to their findings, the best times to send messages (whether through regular email or LinkedIn) are 6:00 am, 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, and between 8:00 pm and midnight. The company also found that the best days to send cold emails and follow-ups are Tuesdays and Thursdays. Experiment with sending emails at different times and on different days to see what yields the best results for your business.

How Often to Follow-Up (And How Long to Wait)

Again, you don’t want to follow up too often, too early, or too late. As mentioned above, your first cold email follow-up should be no later than three days after your initial email. According to the statistics, four to seven follow-up emails seem to yield the best results. However, you’ll need to determine what specifically works best for your company.  

Since there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution for follow-up emails, let’s look at an example of how you might wait between each message:

  • Follow-up 1: no later than three days after your cold email
  • Follow-up 2: four days after
  • Follow-up 3: seven days after
  • Follow-up 4: 14 days after
  • Follow-up 5: 30 days after
  • Follow-up 6: 58-60 days after

How to Automate Follow-Up Emails

You could set yourself reminders to follow up with your LinkedIn prospects. However, if you’re emailing several prospects and they’re all in various stages of your follow-up process, it might be difficult to manually email them all.

Instead, you can automate the process using tools like Apollo or MixMax. You create personalized messages and have them sent on a set schedule. That way, you can worry about managing the other more essential tasks you need to do for your business. Automation frees up more of your time, and it can help reduce stress.

With automation tools, you can also monitor crucial data like open rates and replies. The information gives you an idea of how well your campaigns are working. It can also help you determine if you need to change things to achieve better results.

Cold Email Follow-Up Templates

Are you ready to attract the attention of your prospects with a strong cold email follow-up on LinkedIn? We’ve got a few cold email follow-up template ideas to get you off the ground and running.

Cold Email Follow-Up Example 1

Hello [prospect name]:‌

If you missed my last message, our team at [your company name] is interested in [context of initial cold email]. It would be an excellent opportunity for you to [value proposition from original email].

Would you be interested in a brief 10 to 15-minute chat on [date and time] to discuss the details?

Regards.

[Your name]

Cold Email Follow-Up Example 2

Hello [prospect name]:

I know that we’re waiting until [date] to discuss the details of [topic of initial cold email]. However, I wanted to send you [a relevant resource] that demonstrates how [your company name] helped them [specific value proposition related to the one you mentioned in your first cold email].

Best,

[Your name]

If your prospect hasn’t specified a date and time to contact them again, you can also add a quick note before your signature that may encourage them to reach out to you again. For instance, you might say something like, “when would work best for you to pick this conversation back up again?”

Cold Email Follow-Up Example 3

Hello [prospect name]:

I hope that you’ve had the opportunity to read through my previous message. I haven’t heard back from anyone on the team yet. If you would like to discuss [context of your initial LinkedIn message], would you please let me know what date and time work best?

If this doesn’t fall in your area of responsibility, could you please put me in contact with the right person?

Thank you for your help!

Best,

[Your name]

Cold Email Follow-Up Example 4

Hi [prospect name]:

I’ve been reaching out to you because I believe that there’s a great opportunity for [prospect’s company] to [value proposition] with [your company].

I don’t want to be a bother, so I’ll plan to touch base with you again in a couple of months - unless you’d like to connect sooner. If you’re interested in trying [your product or service], I can assist with that, too.

Thank you for your time!

[Your name]

Last Thoughts

Cold email outreach through LinkedIn can be an effective way to touch base with prospects and convert them into quality leads. In many cases, however, a single message isn’t enough. You may need to reach out several times before you get a response. That’s why cold email follow-ups are so important.

Like your initial cold emails, your follow-ups need to be personalized and well thought out. You’ll also want to ensure that you send them at the right time and at the right intervals. And, with the help of some tools such as a cold email follow-up template and email automation, you can craft and send LinkedIn emails more easily in a way that best suits your business.


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