For years I'd been doing something that just came naturally to me when sending (or responding to) sales or pitch emails. That thing was sending a follow-up email. And I recently realized that more than 75 percent of the 2,000 deals I've landed over the years have come from sending follow-up emails.

First, let's talk about why you should care about follow-up emails:

  • Have you ever sent an email to a person or company, looking to partner with them in some way?
  • Have you ever sent an email to a potential employer?
  • Have you ever sent an email to a potential employee?
  • Have you ever reached out to the media in any capacity?
  • Have you ever been contacted by someone from the media?
  • Have you ever tried to connect with someone influential via email?

My guess is that you probably said yes to at least one of those questions. My other guess is that you probably didn't hear back after sending whatever email you sent (and you definitely didn't send a good follow-up email).

Follow-up emails are your way of showing that you're putting in more effort than everyone else.

Don't feel bad about sending follow-up emails either, especially if you're passionate about the thing you're emailing someone about.

An example of your first follow-up email, which should be a direct reply to your first email, could read something like this:

"Hey again, NAME, [Show the person you aren't a robot]

I know your inbox is probably a busy place, so I just wanted to send a quick follow-up email. I'd love to chat with you about having INSERT THE PERSON'S COMPANY'S NAME AND THE THING YOU WANT. My original email is copied below for quick reference.

Would love to chat,

YOUR NAME"

That first follow-up is a gentle nudge. It's not a hard sell, but it's also not as simple as just saying "hey, I'm following up." You're showing more effort than probably 95 percent of the people that email that person. And I'm willing to bet that percentage is accurate on the basis of how many people send me emails and never follow up. Ever.

If you don't hear back after your first follow-up email, or you just want to add more creativity to your follow-up emails (which you should), you'll need to invest a bit more time to grab the person's attention. Getting more creative with your follow-up emails can look like this:

  • Your follow-up email can include a photo of you holding up a photo of the product you're trying to partner (put in effort; don't take a poorly lit and blurry selfie).
  • Your follow-up email can include a short story that shows how much research you've done on the person you are emailing.
  • And best yet, your follow-up email can include specific ways you are going to provide value to the person you are emailing.

The idea of sending follow-up emails might sound daunting and hard to keep track of. Don't worry, it's not! Here are three ways to make follow-up emails easy:

1. Create a Google spreadsheet (or Excel) and catalog all your email outreach efforts. In your spreadsheet include columns for the person's name, company, and email address, when you sent (or received) the first email, when you sent your first follow-up email, when you sent your second follow-up email, etc. This document is crucial if you're working on one big project. I created a Google spreadsheet for my SponsorMyBook.com project and had more than 1,200 emails catalogued in it (about 80 percent were follow-up emails).

2. Use tools like FollowUp.cc or Boomerang to remind you to send follow-up emails. I probably use FollowUp.cc two or three times a day. It's a simple (free) email tool that doesn't require any software or installation. Simply put a time you want to send a follow-up in the Bcc field of the email you're sending and the service will send you a reminder email that you need to follow-up at that time. (You can set whatever time you want, for example: 2hours@followup.cc, 37days@followup.cc, 1week@followup.cc, etc.)

3. Use virtual assistants. For not much money, you can hire a virtual assistant to work hourly and help keep your follow-up emails organized. One great virtual assistant company I'd recommend is Don't Panic Management. They can help you plan, strategize, and get creative with your email pitches and subsequent follow-up emails.

I can't stress enough the importance of sending follow-up emails. People are busy and get lots of email every day. I also know that when people have reached out to me via email asking for things, I tend to wait and see if they send a follow-up email. This shows me they actually care and really want whatever they emailed about. Following up doesn't have to be difficult and shows extra effort.

Be diligent about your follow-up emails and you'll start getting responses immediately!