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Circling Back: Four Key Components of Sending a Great Follow-up Email





Follow-up emails offer a treasure trove of information to subscribers and can increase engagement rates through open and click-through rates. You might send a follow-up email to those who are in the middle of a trial period with your service, those who have downloaded a resource from your website, those who attended an event, or to someone who has recently made a purchase.


Is your follow-up email worthy of an open? Whether you’re tailoring an automated email or manually following up, keep these helpful tips in mind to ensure your email is as effective as possible:


  1. Clarify the action you want. Start by determining the goal of the email. Do you want feedback from the recipient? Do you want them to extend their trial into a full membership? For any valuable action, you must allow the goal to be the primary driver of the follow-up and don’t stray far from it. If you don’t have a clear goal in mind, the follow-up isn’t worth it.

  2. Be specific and personal. A follow-up email implies the person you’re contacting is familiar with your product or service, so use this information to make the email specific. Ensure the most important information is at the beginning of the email – possibly even in the subject line – so the recipient knows what they are opening. For example, consider using a subject line like “Post-seminar check-in” or “Hi Sydney, following up on your free e-book trial.” When possible, try including the recipient’s first name to make it even more tailored.

  3. Avoid a schedule when it comes to timing. Follow-up emails shouldn’t necessarily be sent on a rigid time schedule; they should be sent whenever there is information to justify sending one. Something like a welcome email should be sent to a subscriber shortly after they join your email marketing list, but an outreach follow-up requires breathing room and patience.

  4. Find the right tone. Regardless of the purpose of the follow-up, the email should strike a balance between light-hearted and friendly, while also being urgent and clear. The email should feel unobtrusive, while also clearly stating your call to action and brief instructions on how to take those next steps.

It’s also helpful to avoid using common phrases that everyone else is using in their follow-ups, such as “just checking in” or “this will only take a minute of your time” – especially when you have those sentences in subject lines. Find authenticity and conviction in your email. If the value is clear to a subscriber, a few minutes of their time will be worth it.


At the end of the day, it’s important to keep in mind the customer’s journey when it comes to follow-up emails.

  • Have they had enough time to complete the initial action you want?

  • Do they have enough tools and resources to answer your questions?

  • Are they ready for another follow-up email?

  • Is there a clear, easy and natural next step or action?

  • Will my add-on or up-sell be viewed as a valuable, additional purchase?

Follow-up emails should be helpful and informative for your subscribers, so make sure the email you’re delivering has a purpose and function to ensure the best results


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