How to Follow Up on an Email With No Response

March 27, 2024 by
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When you send a sales email and don’t get a response, it can feel like you’re talking to a wall. Trust us, this is a frustrating thing that every business experiences. And it is more common than you might expect. In fact, the average email open rate is just about 38.49%, which means more than 60 out of 100 emails are never opened. So, what can you do to combat emails that don’t get responses? This is where follow ups come in!

Sending a follow up email shows that you’re committed and interested in hearing back. In this blog, we will guide you through how to effectively follow up after not getting a response to an email.

Main Takeaways

  • Your follow up email should be concise, offer value, and make it easy for the recipient to respond​.
  • Maintain a positive attitude even if you’re tempted to express frustration over the lack of response. 
  • Wait at least a few days before sending a follow up to avoid appearing pushy; but don’t wait too long, as the recipient may lose the context of your original message.
  • Sending too many follow ups can be counterproductive. Usually, 2 follow ups are best.
  • Never send a follow up without a clear purpose. Personalize your approach based on the recipient’s previous interactions and what you hope to achieve.

What Is a Good Email Response Rate?

A good email response rate varies depending on the context, such as whether the emails are cold outreaches or part of an email marketing campaign.

On average, a response rate of around 10% is considered good. This may seem pretty low, but if 1 out of 10 of your sales emails are being opened, your campaign is generally successful.

However, this number can vary from 5% to 25% based on factors like your experience, the quality of your email list, and how well your campaign is targeted and executed. 

For cold emails specifically, a good email response rate might be a bit lower, from 1% to 10%, depending on the industry and the specific circumstances of the campaign​​​.

Why Aren’t People Responding to Your Emails?

There are hundreds of reasons why your recipient may not respond to your emails. While there are many things you can do to optimize your cold emails, this is something you will always deal with. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons people don’t respond to emails.

  1. Email overload: The average person receives 121 emails daily. This can be overwhelming and make it challenging to respond to every message.
  2. Your emails are too long: The content of your email might be too long, causing readers to lose interest or simply not have enough time to read through everything​​.
  3. CCing too many people: If you’re copying in too many people, recipients might assume someone else will respond, or they may think the email is not directly relevant to them​​.
  4. Bland subject line: An ineffective subject line might fail to capture the recipient’s attention, causing your email to be overlooked​​.
  5. Email reads like a template: Personalization issues can make the recipient feel like the email isn’t specifically meant for them, reducing the likelihood of a response​​.
  6. Sending emails at the wrong time: The time that you send or schedule your emails can really make a difference. If your emails aren’t scheduled efficiently, you may miss opportunities for engagement​​.
  7. Asking for too much: The email might ask for too much time or information right away, making it easy for the recipient to put off responding​​.
  8. Failing to address the recipient: Your message could be too focused on yourself or your company rather than addressing the recipient’s needs or interests​​.
  9. Not using a conversational tone: Using jargon or overly complicated language can make your email hard to understand​​.
  10. Not using a clear call to action: The reader should have a clear sense of what they need to do next after reading your email. Vague calls to action can leave recipients unsure of how to proceed​​.
  11. The recipient simply forgot to respond: Keep in mind that if your email doesn’t receive a response, it doesn’t always indicate that you failed to deliver an important message. Sometimes, the recipient is simply overloaded with emails and forgot to send a response.
  12. Email was lost in the inbox: The email might have missed the recipient altogether. The message may have gone to the spam folder or been lost behind a stream of new emails.

Keys to Writing a Successful Follow up Email After No Response

So, now you know why your emails may not have been opened or responded to. But what are your next steps? You’ll now need to write a follow up email that recaptures the recipient and interests them enough to respond. Here are some tips for crafting an effective email to chase down and reengage with a prospective sale or client.

1. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is the first crucial step in crafting a successful follow up email, especially after receiving no response initially. Take the extra time to research the person you are sending the email to. After all, the more you understand your audience, the more likely they will respond to your next email.

Each person you email is unique, with their own personality, challenges, and, of course, an inbox full of emails. Make your email personal and attractive. This way, it stands out from the crowd.

Think about what they care about and why your message matters to them. This way, you can personalize your email to fit their needs, making it more likely they’ll notice and respond. 

Remember, a message that speaks directly to their interests or concerns is far more effective than a generic one. 

2. Know Your Goal

Before you start typing your follow up email, be clear about what you want to achieve. Is your goal of the email to get a reply, set up a meeting, interest them in a product, or remind them of a deadline?

Your goal should shape your email. If you’re looking for an answer, make it easy for them to reply by asking a clear question. The recipient shouldn’t have to work hard to decipher the main point of the email. If you’re hoping for a meeting, suggest a time and date. By knowing what you want, you can write a more focused email that gently guides your reader toward the action you desire.

3. Short, Sweet, and to the Point

Keep your follow up email brief and to the point. As mentioned, people are busy and receive lots of emails daily, so a long-winded message might not get the attention it deserves. 

Your email should be easy to read, skim, and understand. Start with a clear subject line, then get straight to the point in the body of your email. Say what you need to say in a few sentences and end with a clear call to action. 

Short, direct emails show you value their time and are more likely to get a positive response.

4. Timing and Variation

Think about timing and how to change your approach if you don’t hear back. 

Wait a few days between your first email and your follow up. It gives the person time to respond. After that, if you still haven’t heard back, sending another message is okay. But change it up a bit each time.

You could offer new information, ask a different question, or even change the subject line. This shows you’re not just sending the same email over and over. It’s about finding the right balance between being persistent and respectful of the other person’s time. 

Mixing things up and timing your emails well makes you more likely to get a response.

5. Be Yourself (Don’t Sound Like a Robot)

You aren’t likely to receive many replies if your emails sound automated and robotic. Have fun with your emails, and try to show part of your own personality. A reader is MUCH more likely to engage with a personal and “fun” sounding email than one that reads like a copy-and-paste template. While it is totally okay to use a template for your follow-up emails, you should make sure to add your own touch to each one and let your true colors shine. 

Your email should sound natural as if you’re talking to the person face-to-face. Use simple language that you would use in everyday conversation. It helps create a connection and makes your message more memorable. 

The best follow up emails should be a blend of personality and professionalism.

6. Personalize (When It Makes Sense)

Personalizing your follow up emails to fit a specific lead can significantly increase your chances of getting a response, but it’s important to do it in a way that makes sense. 

Reference a past conversation, mention something specific about their work, or acknowledge a recent achievement of theirs. This shows you’ve taken the time to learn about them and aren’t just sending a generic message.

However, keep the personal touches relevant to the context of your email. Overdoing it or including irrelevant personal details can seem unprofessional. The goal is to strike the right balance between being personal and staying focused on the purpose of your email.

7. Add Call to Actions (CTA)

After not receiving a response, your follow up emails should include a clear call to action (CTA). Tell the reader exactly what you want them to do next, whether it’s replying to your email, setting up a meeting, or completing a task. 

Giving the recipient direction helps remove any guesswork on their part and increases the chances of getting the response you’re aiming for. 

Make your CTA simple to follow. For instance, if you want to schedule a meeting, provide a link to your calendar. If you’re seeking a reply, ask a specific question. A well-placed CTA makes it easier for the recipient to take the next step and keeps your email conversation moving forward.

8. Your Subject Line Matters

The subject line of your follow up email is the driving force behind ensuring your message gets noticed. It’s the first thing your recipient sees and decides whether your email is worth opening. 

Your subject line should be clear, engaging, and reflect the content of your email. Avoid vague titles; instead, use a subject line that directly relates to your previous conversation or the purpose of the email. 

For example, if you’re following up on a proposal, your subject line could be “Following Up on Our Proposal.”

A well-crafted subject line can make the difference between your email being opened or ignored.

9. Always Be Helpful (The Prospect’s Success Always Comes First)

Make sure you are always being helpful and providing value, placing the recipient’s needs and success at the forefront. This means offering genuine assistance, resources, or advice that can aid them in their goals or solve a problem they’re facing. 

When you approach your prospect with the goal of contributing to their success, it transforms your message from a simple nudge for a response into a valuable piece of communication. 

10. Be Creative

Use your creativity to help you stand out from the crowd. Remember, some prospects may receive over 100 emails a day. So, adding unique touches to your follow up email can increase your chances of getting a response. This doesn’t mean you should go overboard with gimmicks, but showing a bit of personality can make your email memorable and more likely to be opened. 

The goal is to break through the noise with something that captures their attention while still being professional.

11. Use Modern Sales Tools

Modern sales tools are highly beneficial for following up on emails without a response. Tools like CRM systems help you track interactions and automate follow ups, making your approach more personal and timely.

For example, HubSpot CRM is a free tool that grows with your business, and EngageBay offers an all-in-one solution for tight budgets. AI tools like use automated email assistants to understand and respond to leads, boosting response rates.

Is AI Helpful?

There is no mistaking that AI has become a widely used tool for email marketing. But should you hop on the bandwagon? The answer is a bit complicated. AI can be used as a tool and not a replacement. While AI can save you time, these tools don’t have the same personal tone that “human” emails do.

AI tools can write emails for you, remind you to send follow ups, and even structure your messages to make them more likely to get a reply. But, it’s important to monitor these tools and audit the responses. It is also important to choose the right tools. For example, some tools are great for organizing your inbox, while others are good at writing emails or sorting your messages​​​​.

When using AI, watch out for a couple of things.

Check the Tone of Your Email

AI follows instructions, so you need to be clear on how formal or friendly you want your email to sound. You’ll also likely want to insert your own personal touches, as AI can only go so far in creating the content.

Double-Check the AI’s Work

While AI can be a huge help, you shouldn’t allow these tools to run unsupervised. Give the AI tools small tasks, auditing each one.

Human Touch Is Key

AI can generate content based on data and patterns, but it doesn’t grasp the nuances of personal relationships or specific contexts as well as a human can. We NEVER recommend replacing your email follow-up personalization with AI, as these tools are simply not meant for this purpose.

Remember, a personalized touch, understanding, and empathy in your emails can make a big difference.

Mistakes When Sending Follow Up Emails After No Response

When your initial email doesn’t get a response from your prospect, you’ll need to analyze potential mistakes and optimize your follow up email. Here are some common mistakes email marketers make.

1. Sending Too Soon or Too Late

Timing your follow up is essential. If you send it too soon, you might not even give the prospect enough time to respond and come across as pushy. If you follow up too late, your message may no longer be relevant. The sweet spot is typically between one and two weeks after your initial message if no specific timeframe was discussed​​.

2. Being Overly Aggressive or Passive-Aggressive

It should go without saying that you want to avoid sounding upset. Maintain a positive tone and avoid passive-aggressive phrases, such as “I’ve tried reaching you several times.” These can alienate your recipient. Keep your tone friendly and approach with positive intent​​.

3. Making It Too Long

Keep your follow up email concise. A brief message respects the recipient’s time and increases the likelihood of a response. 

Aim for no more than a few paragraphs or bullet points, focusing on supporting your initial email rather than introducing too much new information​​.

4. Lacking Personalization and Context

Start with a personalized opening line to grab attention and provide context for your email. 

Avoid generic phrases like “Just checking in.” Mentioning a mutual connection, highlighting a shared interest, or referring to a recent event can make your message more engaging​​.

5. Forgetting a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Always include a clear CTA in your follow up email.

This directs the recipient on what to do next. Adjust your CTA if you don’t receive a response to your first email to make it easier for them to engage with you​​.

10 Follow Up Email Templates That Actually Work!

Now, you are ready to start drafting your effective follow-up emails after not receiving a response on the first try. As you can see, a lot of thought and effort goes into this. But don’t worry! We have provided some awesome templates that make the job much easier! Check out our huge guide on sales follow up templates and thank you emails after sales meetings for more ideas.

1. Checking in After a Meeting

Subject: Quick Follow up from Our Last Meeting


Hi [Name],

I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to touch base following our meeting on [date]. I’ve attached the notes and action items we discussed. Do you have any updates on your end? 

Let me know if there’s anything else you need from me to move forward.


[Your Name]

2. Guest Post Follow Up

Subject: Following up on Guest Post Submission


Hello [Name],

I hope this email finds you well. A couple of weeks ago, I sent over a guest post titled “[Article Title].” I’m following up to see if you had a chance to review it and what your thoughts are. 

I’m excited about the possibility of contributing to your site and eager to hear your feedback.

Thanks for your time,

[Your Name]

3. After Sending a Proposal

Subject: Checking in: [Project Name] Proposal


Hi [Name],

I hope all is well with you. I’m following up on the proposal I sent over for [Project Name] on [date]. I wanted to see if you have any questions or need further information from me. 

I’m here to help in any way I can to make your decision easier.

Looking forward to your feedback,

[Your Name]

4. Sales Outreach Follow Up

Subject: Quick Follow up: Improving [Specific Area]


Hi [Name],

I hope you’re having a great week. I wanted to follow up on my last email about how our [product/service] can help [company name] with [specific area]. 

I believe we can really make a difference and would love to discuss this further. 

Do you have time for a quick call next week?

Best regards,

[Your Name]

5. After a Job Interview

Subject: Following up on My Interview for [Position Name]


Hi [Interviewer’s Name],

Thank you again for the opportunity to interview for the [Position Name] last week. I enjoyed our conversation and learning more about the team and role. I’m very interested in the position and was wondering if there have been any updates regarding the decision process.

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

6. Checking in After a Quote

Subject: Follow up on Your Quote Request


Hi [Name],

I hope you’re doing well. I’m reaching out to follow up on the quote we sent over for [product/service] on [date]. Do you have any questions, or is there anything more we can provide to assist you with your decision? 

We’re here to help in any way we can.


[Your Name]

7. Follow up on Feedback Request

Subject: Your Thoughts Are Valuable to Us


Hello [Name],

I hope you’re doing well. A little while back, I asked for your feedback on [product/service/experience]. Your input is very important to us, and I was wondering if you had a moment to share your thoughts. 

It would really help us improve.

Thank you for your time,

[Your Name]

8. Follow up on Unanswered Inquiry

Subject: Hi [Name], Have Any Questions?


Hello [Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I’m following up on my previous email about [inquiry topic], which was sent on [date]. I understand you’re busy, but I wanted to make sure you received it and see if you had any questions or needed further information from me.

Thank you for your time,

[Your Name]

9. Follow up on a Discount Offer

Subject: Still Interested in Saving on [Product/Service]?


Hi [Name],

I hope you’re doing great. A little while ago, we sent you an exclusive offer to save on [Product/Service]. I wanted to check in and see if you had any thoughts or questions about it. 

The offer ends on [expiration date], and I’d hate for you to miss out.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

10. After No Response to a Collaboration Proposal

Subject: Following Up: Collaboration Opportunity


Hello [Name],

I hope all is well. A few weeks ago, I reached out with a proposal for a potential collaboration between our teams. We’re really excited about the possibility of working together and would love to hear your thoughts. 

Do you have any questions or feedback?

Looking forward to connecting,

[Your Name]

Each of these templates is crafted to respect the recipient’s time while clearly stating the purpose of the follow up. Adjust the details to fit your specific situation, and you’re all set to send!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you wait to send a follow up email?

Wait at least 3 to 5 business days before sending your first follow up email after no response.

If you’re contacting a busy executive or someone in a high-level position, consider waiting a bit longer, possibly up to two weeks, as their schedules might be more packed​.

How do you follow up without being annoying?

To follow up without being annoying, personalize your email, keeping it short and to the point. Provide value or new information that makes responding to your email worthwhile for the recipient.

Using a clear and direct call to action is also recommended so the recipient knows exactly what you’re asking of them.

Should you automate follow up emails?

Yes, you can automate follow up emails but do so wisely. Automation can save you time, especially when dealing with a large volume of emails.

However, it’s crucial to still personalize these messages as much as possible to maintain a genuine connection with your recipients. Use tools that allow for customization and segmentation of your audience to ensure that your automated follow ups feel relevant and personal.​

How many follow ups should you send?

Generally, it is appropriate to send up to two follow-up emails if you don’t receive a response to your initial message. 

Space these follow ups out by at least 3 to 5 business days. If you still haven’t received a response after two follow ups, it’s usually best to move on. 

Reel in Your Prospects with an Effective Follow up Email!

With an average person getting about 120 emails every day, it’s not surprising that many of these emails don’t get a reply. 

However, following up the right way can help ensure your emails get noticed and get the response you’re looking for. Remember, it’s not just about sending more emails; it’s about making each follow-up count.


About The Author

Mike Yon

Mike is the Co-Owner of Growth List.

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