In a previous post, I explained how to structure an email sales campaign. Because the initial email is the most important part of any email campaign, I've written several posts describing how to structure and hone initial emails.

This post describes the follow-up emails that you send if your initial email does not get a reply from the prospect. Those follow-ups are shown in the left-hand column on this diagram:


The first two follow-up emails are very simple. If, after a few days, you don't get a response to your initial email, send the first follow-on. If, after a few days, the first follow-on doesn't get a reply, send the second follow-on.

If you don't get a response to the second follow-on, you move to the "Hail Mary." I'll discuss the "Hail Mary" in a subsequent post. (I should also note that subscribers to my free weekly newsletter can get a free critique of their sales emails.)

Below is a step-by-step for doing the first follow-up manually in Outlook, but I believe there are programs that can create follow-ups automatically. Here's how it's done:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Click on your Sent Items folder.
  3. Select and open the initial email addressed to the prospect who hasn't replied to it.
  4. Select Forward.
  5. Put the prospect's email address in the address line.
  6. Outlook automatically sticks "FW:" at the front of the subject line, which is lifted from the original email. Change the "FW:" to "RE:" This makes the email seem more important.
  7. Put a one-sentence question in the body of the forward email. Do not include additional content; your goal is to get the prospect to read and reply to your initial email.
  8. Delete your automatic signature at the bottom of the follow-on email. Because your signature is at the bottom of the initial email, leaving it in the body of the follow-on email is redundant, takes up space, and distracts from the initial email.
  9. Click Send.

The email that you send should look like this:

Tue 2/17/2015 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: Transport Costs
John, is the below of any interest to you?

----Original Message----
From: Geoffrey James []
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2015 12:19 PM
To: John Dee [mailto:]
Subject: Re: Transport Costs
I may be able to reduce your transport costs for the facility...

The purpose of the follow-up emails is to get a reply from the prospect, which gives implicit permission to continue the conversation via email, thereby leading to a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting.

Therefore, the short reminder (Step 7) should always be a simple question that makes it easy for the prospect to reply. Examples:

  1. Is this of interest to you?
  2. Did you get a chance to look this over?
  3. Are you the right person to address this?
  4. Is there some way to find out if this is a priority?

If the initial email is well-crafted, the two follow-on emails should add about 10 percent to your reply rate.