“If you want something, wait for it” — said no one ever.
At least not anyone successful.
In email outreach, expecting a response from the initial email without following up with the prospect is the biggest rookie mistake a marketer or salesperson can make.
At Sumo, our growth team reaches out to book a meeting with a prospect. We then send five or six follow-up emails to in the case of no response. Here’s a snapshot of the results we get:
To help you get more responses from your outreach campaign, I bribed the Head of Sumo’s Growth Team, Seann Stubbs, to share his juicy secrets on sending follow-up emails.
And I have good news for you: I’m going to show you the never-before-revealed follow-up email sequence used by the Sumo Growth Team to get a response from our email outreach campaigns.
Ready? Let’s get into the meat.
If you’re like me, you probably get more new emails a day than you can ever read. It’s easy to let things fall through the cracks.
The same thing can happen to your prospect.
To make sure your email gets seen, give the prospect a gentle nudge one day after your initial email. Here’s the follow-up email template you can use:
Subject Line: (Send as a reply to the initial email)
Hey [First Name]... just a little nudge, did you see my last email? =)
Hope you're doing awesome.
Instead of sending this as a new email, use it in a reply to your initial outreach email. It helps to bring your initial email back to the top of your prospect’s inbox.
While you’re waiting for a response from your prospect, remember they are likely active on social media channels. If you’re reaching out to an individual at a specific company, LinkedIn is the best social media site to use.
During your research for prospects’ contact information, take extra effort to find their LinkedIn accounts. This simple step helps speed the follow-up process down the road.
If you don't receive a response after your first follow-up email, reach out to the prospect via LinkedIn on Day 3.
First, send a connect invitation to the prospect on LinkedIn with a personalized message as below.
Use the template below for your personalized message.
Hey [First Name]!
Big fan of what y'all are up to. It would be awesome to connect.
If the prospect accepts your connection request, private message them on LinkedIn immediately about why you’re reaching out. Here’s a simple template the Sumo Growth Team uses:
Hey [First Name]!
Cheers for the connection! 🎉
Looks like you’re doing some awesome stuff at [Company]
Two days after the first follow-up email and a day after reaching out on LinkedIn, it’s time to follow up with your prospect again.
Here, we assume the prospect has read the initial email but didn’t reply. Even if they missed the previous two emails, this follow-up email can help bring their attention to your initial email.
Here's the email template you can use:
Subject Line: Hey, I messed up
Hey [First Name],
I realized this may not be your focus right now.
Who is the best person on your team to speak to about [Benefits] on the site?
Thanks in advance!
Let’s break down why this follow-up email works:
The subject line is packed with emotions like concern, shock, and curiosity — which make it get opened.
Instead of asking for a response, you’re taking ownership of being “wrong” (this may not be your focus) and trying to make things “right” (who is the best person on your team to speak to?)
You get the benefits you offer across immediately in one short sentence.
Still not getting a response? That’s OK, it’s not the time to give up. It’s been almost a week after your initial outreach email now, so it’s time for another follow-up.
Compared to the previous follow-up emails, this email has more details (like your initial email), using the assumption that:
Your prospect hasn’t read your initial email, OR
Your prospect doesn’t recall what’s in your initial email.
Subject Line: Don’t miss out
Okay [First Name]...
I'm being persistent on this one. I really don't want you to miss out on meeting [Expert In Your Team].
[Expert In Your Team] will share their screen and show you exactly what you should fix on the [Company] site to [Benefits].
[Expert In Your Team] has worked with some of the top sites like [Customer #1], [Customer #2], and [Customer #3]. This is your chance to get 30 minutes on [Expert In Your Team]'s calendar.
This is not a webinar. And yes, it's free. Because we love you. =)
We only have a few spots left. Find a time [Here](Link to Calendar).
There’s a lot going on — from psychology triggers to sales copy techniques — in this one email. Let’s unpack them one by one:
Triggering the fear of loss → “I really don’t want you to miss out…”
Proposing the benefits and results → “[Expert In Your Team] will share [their] screen and show you exactly what you should fix on the [Company] site to [Benefits].”
Using social proof to showcase expertise → “[Expert In Your Team] has worked with some of the top sites like [Customer #1], [Customer #2], and [Customer #3].”
Preempting objections → “This is not a webinar. And yes, it's free.”
Creating a sense of scarcity and urgency → “We only have a few spots left.”
Using a clear call to action → “Find a time [Here](Link to Calendar].”
For email outreach campaigns, remember you’re sending these emails to an actual person — someone just like you and me (yes, I’m an actual person) — so it’s always good to vary your tone.
The previous follow-up email took on a more serious, sales-page approach. In this follow-up email, we’re going with a more casual approach.
Subject Line: Everything OK?
Hey [First Name],
Tried to reach you a few times, but haven’t heard back. Must be one of these:
1) [Solution] is not a priority and I should get out of your hair.
2) You’re interested but busy, so haven't responded yet.
3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up. If so, let me know and I’ll send help!
... I'm starting to worry.
When you give options like in the email template above, it makes it easy for your prospect to respond. Instead of thinking about what to say, they can reply with a quick answer.
And a sense of humor always helps loosen up the tension (and shows that you’re a human).
It’s likely your prospect isn’t interested in what you have to offer 10 days after your initial email plus several follow-ups. However, it doesn’t hurt to give it your last bit of effort.
We recommend keeping this follow-up email short and direct. Here’s a template you can use:
Subject Line: Ready?
Hey [First Name],
My boss asked me to check in. =)
Are you interested in a website review with [Expert In Your Team]?
If yes, you can find a time [Here](Link to Calendar).
If no, please tell me so we can save our inboxes!
This is the last follow-up email you’ll send, so make sure you’re getting your benefits or offer across, and make it easy for your prospect to respond. In our case, anyone who is still interested would book the meeting directly.
But at the same time, you want to give the prospect an option to say NO, and if he or she does, you get to save your time and move on.
If you’re not getting a response at this point, it could be for two reasons:
Your emails are getting to no one — and lost forever in the inbox black hole.
Your prospect doesn’t care about your offer enough to respond.
In both cases, the next best action is to move on.
Find a new prospect in the same company who you can reach out to and repeat the entire process.
Now you got all the juicy secrets of how the Sumo Growth Team follows up with prospects using email outreach campaigns. It’s time to implement the follow-up email drip into your own campaign.
If you’re just getting started with a fresh outreach campaign, simply copy the email templates and update them with your business information.
If you’ve reached out to your prospect within the last week, but haven’t followed up yet, copy the templates and start the follow-up sequence from the first email.
If you’ve followed up once or twice but haven’t gotten a response, I suggest you start reaching out via LinkedIn, then continue following up with the prospect start with follow-up email #3.
If it has been two to four weeks since your last outreach or follow-up email with no response, try crafting a new outreach email and add the email templates above to follow up with your prospects.
Click the button to download the complete follow-up email drip that you can use for your own campaign.