Follow-up Sales Email: 5 Important Rules

We talk a lot about cold emails, but not so much about follow-ups. We carefully craft our opening message, but we don’t seem to spend the same amount of time writing the follow-up sales emails.

Meanwhile, experience shows that the majority of prospects reply to the second or the third message from the sequence, and not directly to the first one. So we should focus on the follow-ups at least as much as we focus on the opening email. Here are 5 crucial rules to keep in mind when it comes to effective follow-up sales email.

Jump straight to:

RULE #1: Always follow-up
RULE #2: Make the follow-up sales email valuable
RULE #3: Send enough follow-ups at the right time
RULE #4: Use automation to never miss a follow-up
RULE #5: Abide by the rules #1–#4

Rule #1: Always follow-up

Too obvious to mention it at all? Well, it appears that as much as 70% cold email senders ignore this first crucial rule and send no more than one message
(source). So if you send follow-ups, you’re in the cunning minority.

And here’s a rule within the rule: don’t be afraid of sending follow-up sales emails. If you craft and schedule them well, your prospects will not be irritated but grateful. Follow-ups are a chance to show your addressees you care for their reply more than those who resigned after their first attempt.

See the detailed post on Why you should Always Send Follow-up Emails >>

Rule #2: Make the follow-up sales email valuable

In the last sentence of Rule #1, I used the words “…show your addressees you care…”. Remember that the prospects do not owe you anything. They will reply only if they can feel you can provide them with some value.

That’s why we shouldn’t send follow-ups starting with “Just following up” and ending with “Looking forward to hearing from you”. That is not providing any value to the prospect. That’s just poking them in the ribs asking “Why didn’t I hear from you yet?”

And that may make them annoyed indeed. Even if they respond to such a poke, their answer is not bound to be positive. To get positive replies, you need to put some value in the follow-up sales email, just like you do in the opening message.


Rule #3: Send enough follow-ups at the right time

The two questions arise immediately:

  1. How much is enough?

  2. What is the right time?

These are both very good questions. Unfortunately, there are no straightforward answers to either of them. The general hint to find the answer is: it all depends on your group of prospects, your target market, the product you’re selling, and most importantly – the aim of your cold email campaign.

The key is to be “pleasantly persistent” instead of being pushy. To find out the thin borderline between the two, we need lots of common sense, research, and testing.


Rule #4: Use automation to never miss a follow-up

Sending follow-ups is a must if you want your cold email campaigns to bring satisfactory results. But sending personalized follow-ups manually is a real drag. Fortunately, that’s a process that can be taken off your shoulders by smart automation tools like Woodpecker.

To see what my workday looked like before we created Woodpecker and what it looks like now, see the full post on:


What’s in it for you?

That’s just four rules. Read them again and make sure you always keep them in mind when writing a follow-up sales email. I sometimes get the impression that many people know the rules, but hardly anyone abides by them when it comes to cold email sending.

So here’s

Rule #5: Abide by the rules #1–#4


You may also want to quickly check:

10 Golden Rules of Cold Email >>

How Your Emails & Followups Will Be Sent by Woodpecker >>