There are three words we all read far too often:

  • "Just checking-in to see ..."
  • "Thought I would just check in and find out ..."
  • "Wanted to just check-in to hear ..."

It’s the follow up email. And the body of the email is often repetitive and ineffective. We're not "just checking-in" - we are trying to accomplish something.

So how do we write an effective follow up email that actually accomplishes our end goal? Read below to understand the key steps to writing a successful follow up email.

Start following up like a pro by adding these 12 follow-up email templates to your CRM today.

How To Create A Follow Up Email

in 5 Simple Steps

  • Step 1 Determine Objective
  • Step 2 Open with Context
  • Step 3 Clearly State Purpose
  • Step 4 Craft Subject Line
  • Step 5 When to Follow Up

Determine Objective

Step 1

Before crafting a follow up email, we must first clarify what our objective is in order to draft a more effective call-to-action.

There are four primary objectives for a follow up email:

Need Information

When we need to clarify a piece of information, get a status update on a deal, or determine whether we got a job.

Request a Meeting

We generally want to meet with a contact to pick their brain, give a pitch, ask for a favor, or receive feedback.

Just To Catch Up

When we haven’t spoken to a particular connection in a while, when we hear exciting news about them or their company, or when we want to share a milestone that we accomplished.;Thank You

Say Thank You

When we haven’t spoken to a particular connection in a while, when we hear exciting news about them or their company, or when we want to share a milestone that we accomplished.

Sample Sales Follow Up Email:

Let’s walk through an example to better understand the process of writing a follow up email. Say we just had an insightful conversation with a potential client and we need to send a follow up email to set up another meeting to dive deeper into a topic. This clearly falls under the "request a meeting” type of follow up. Below is one follow up email after a conversation template.

Open With Context

Step 2

We can’t get too caught up in the act of following up itself.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget to include a personal connection or a common interest that will help our contact remember us if we don’t already have a close relationship. Re-emphasizing our initial email or interaction will help jog their memory and make it easier for them to respond.

Effective Email Openers:

  • We met last week at the [Name of Event or Location].
  • I was inspired after you spoke at the [Name of Event].
  • I am an avid reader of your blog.
  • Our friend, [Mutual Friend's Name] suggested that I reach out.
  • Last time we spoke...
  • Just following up on the email I sent a few weeks ago about [Topic].

Samples Sales Follow Up Email:

Let’s demonstrate a good example of how to open with context based on another sales follow up email example. Looking for more sales follow up email samples? Find 16 additional templates here. Say Brian is now a prospect and we are busy salespeople attempting to close a deal with Brian. If we notice that a prospect is re-opening one of our emails or proposals, we can send this useful follow up.

Writing powerful and personalized sales emails is tough.

Get over two dozen pre-written sales email templates that you can send to prospects in a few clicks. Take a look at the one below and tell me that isn't convenient.

HubSpot Sales Email Templates


Bonus Tip: Trigger Events

Did a hiring manager just land a new role within their company? Did the company just release a new product? Did a new competitor begin gaining traction within the industry? Or did someone open your email?

Any of these trigger events would provide a fantastic opportunity for us to send a meaningful follow up email to our contact. Prove that you’re paying attention by including the trigger event in your follow up email.

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HubSpot Sales Free will track your emails and give you a notification whenever someone opens your email, helping you follow up when you're top of mind.

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Clearly State Purpose

Step 3

No beating around the bush. We should be blunt with our follow up intentions right off the bat, explicitly mentioning them in our intro. It’s also important to explain any underlying purpose.

This means, for example, not just stating “I’d like to grab coffee and chat about what you do.”

Specificity is key. Instead say, “I’d like to grab coffee to learn more about how you consistently reach quota because I’ve been struggling with my targets.”

With specificity, our contacts can better help us achieve what we need and, in turn, we don’t have to waste their time.

Common Ways to Articulate Purpose:

  • I want to invite you to join me at [Name of Event], I think you'll find it helpful for what you do at [Company Name]
  • As we discussed, here is the developer [insert link] I think could help you with your new website.
  • It would be great to hear more about [topic] as I'm working on something similar at [Company Name]
  • I just wanted to thank you for your time yesterday.

Sample Follow Up Email After Meeting:

Continuing on with our examples, let’s weave in purpose. Louisa is now a contact that we just met for coffee. She gave us great career advice and now we have to follow up after meeting to express our gratitude. What do we say? Here’s a sample follow up email to send after that meeting

Bonus Tip: Add Value Beyond Email

Demonstrate that you are a helpful person regardless of whether you’re following up on an application, a job interview, or a connection you just met. Remember, what goes around comes around.

Here are a few ways you can add value:

  • Offer advice, feedback, or new ideas relevant to their business or position
  • Include a resource (i.e. article, blog post, ebook, case study) that he or she might find helpful or interesting  
  • Introduce that person to someone in your network that you think would be able to help them or further their business goals
  • Invite them to an event or conference that they might find interesting or fun
  • Share their company, content or product with others

Craft Subject Line

Step 4

Subject lines should be kept short and sweet, but intriguing enough to pique their curiosity.

We conducted a study in 2014 using 6.4 million emails sent with HubSpot Sales and learned a few things about subject lines that improve email open rates:

  • Use concrete numbers and times. Emails with "Quick" in the subject line were opened 17% less than those without.
  • Create a sense of urgency by using “tomorrow.” Emails with"Tomorrow" in the subject line were opened 10% more than those without.
  • Try omitting the subject line. Emails with no subject altogether were opened 8% more than those with a subject line.

Sample Follow Up Email After Application:

Now, let’s tie in the subject line to another example. Below is a follow up email after an application which demonstrates how we can stand out from other applicants when applying to our dream job.

When To Follow Up

Step 5

Okay, so our follow up email is written. When should we send it? Here are some suggested time frames for follow up emails based on various use cases:

24 Hours

Thank you follow up email or after a meeting or conference

48 Hours

After submitting a job application

1-2 Weeks

Follow up on a meeting request or after no response regarding a job offer

Every 3 Months

To Catch Up with a Connection

Follow Up Email After Interview Sample:

We’ll return to our initial scenario of a follow up email after an interview for the final example. Here are more sample thank you emails as well.

Take Your Follow Up Emails to the Next Level

Equip yourself with tools to follow up effectively

When people are in the consideration or decision stage of the buying cycle, they’re not patient. If you don’t have the tools setup to respond to them quickly, they’ll make a decision without you.

Josh Harcus

Founding Principle


The 5-Minute Follow Up Technique
By implementing their new process, system, and technology, not only has Hüify fostered a culture for lead follow-up but also enjoys a 90% response rate from their leads.