The Best Cold Email Follow Up Strategy to Grab Prospects’ Attention and Get Them to Respond

Everyone is very busy these days. This is especially true for the business people that you are trying to contact through cold email. That is one of the reasons why it is really hard to get through to people through their inboxes. Of course, this is not the only hurdle you will face if your cold emails suck. But, if you want to start by writing better cold emails in general, you can find out how to do that here.

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On the other hand, you might be sending out great cold emails but are still not generating the kind of open and response rates that you need. You have put in the work but your prospects are still not responding. But there is no need to worry – that is where follow up emails come in.

A lot of salespeople feel uncomfortable with following up because they do not want to come off as “stalkers.” But the truth is cold email follow up is an incredibly powerful tool in your business arsenal.

At the end of every month, the sales clock restarts. You put your performance for the previous month behind you and start focusing on the new month. You can do so by either zeroing in on new prospects or begin following up on old ones.

The only problem is that it is way too easy to send a generic follow up email. “Just checking in,” or “Circling back,” simply does not grab the prospect’s attention. The best route to success is to fine-tune your approach and you will start getting the responses you want.

That said, the whole cold email follow up process can be overwhelming.

  • How many times should you follow up?

  • When should you follow up with your prospects?

  • What is the best cold email follow up template to use?

  • And, more importantly, when should you stop following up?

The Best Cold Email Follow Up Strategy to Grab Prospects’ Attention and Get Them to Respond

Table of Contents

The Winning Cold Email Follow Up Strategy

Following up effectively is an art, not a science. These guidelines might help you up your cold email follow up game, but the only way to get better at it is through lots of practice. That said, here is how you can start building a winning cold email follow up strategy:

1. Sending Out the First Cold Email

Obviously, you must reach out first before sending out any follow up emails. That first contact is incredibly important because it sets the tone for your entire interaction with a particular prospect. That is a whole other can of worms, but you can easily learn how to write cold emails that work.

2. The First Follow Up – 2 Day Later

Your first cold email follow up should be a simple modification of your original email. The goal here is to communicate the same message but in a different format. For example, if your initial email was a couple of paragraphs long, make this first follow up email just two or three sentences long. The important rule of thumb here is to avoid drafting a completely different message or adding any attachments.

3. The Second Follow Up – 5 Days Later

The main point of this cold email follow up is to give a brief recap of your original call to action. You can ask the prospect to reply to your email, schedule a meeting or call, or introduce you to the right contact person within their company. For example, you can say something like:

Hey (Prospect’s name),

When would be a good time for you to talk about this on a quick call? Would (mention specific days) at (mention specific time) work for you?

4. The Third Follow Up – 7 or 10 days after the third cold email follow up

This is what we call the “breakup email,” – the last resort before you stop all your follow up efforts. This is where you tell the prospect goodbye. Believe it or not, this tactic is rooted in science. That is because you are relying on a psychological principle known as loss aversion. This principle describes how people will work harder to avoid losses than to acquire gains.

What does this mean for you? It basically assures you that prospects will reply to your email if they know that the opportunity will end without their response. You could send another cold email follow up before this final “notice,” but we would not vouch for following up more than four times.

Set Individual Reminders to Follow Up

The best way to run a seamless cold email campaign – including systematic cold email follow up – is by automating the entire process. Whether you are reaching out to a huge number of people or running a more low-volume campaign, RooJet is the best tool to use.

You can use tools like this tool to find any prospect’s email address, add them to your cold email campaign, and automate your cold email follow up. Setting up individual reminders to follow up in this way helps you save time and energy, allowing you to generate new leads on a regular basis.

Makes Cold Emails Work for You

Most people assume that using a better template or saying something smart or witty is what drives prospects to respond to their cold emails. While all this is important, the main reason why you will get a response is timing.

It is very likely that a prospect will see your first email, but they just get bogged down with the day to day grind of their work. If you catch the prospect at a time when they are too busy or distracted with meetings or other tasks, they might simply forget to respond to your email.

Then, you send a follow up email at a better time – meaning the prospect is able to give your message the time and attention to process and respond to your email. That is the power of the cold email follow up. It simply pushes you further onto the prospect’s radar.

On the other hand, a prospect might have read your initial email and they are not interested in your product or service. In that case, nothing you can say in any follow up emails can change their minds. That is simply the nature of cold emailing – you win some and you lose some!

The best thing to do in such cases is to avoid spending any more time and energy targeting this group of people.

Instead, you should focus more on optimizing your emails for people that have the potential of turning from cold prospects to hot leads. These prospects are interested in – or have shown a need for – what you are marketing.

They simply forgot or did not have time to respond to your first email. Optimizing your cold email follow up through personalization and customization will give them a nudge in the right direction.

Closing Deals in the Follow Up

It is usually easier to focus on the first contact: the first email you send or the first call or meeting you land with an important prospect. But the truth is that reaching out with a great pitch is only the first step. It is simply not enough to send out the initial cold email and hope your powerful call to action will drive prospects to respond! You have to follow up.

If you want to win at cold email prospecting, it always happens in the follow up. The fact that you are still contacting the prospect after other marketers have given up shows that you really care about getting their business.

This goes back to what we were saying about timing – you will win simply because you are still in the race when everyone else has stopped running!

You might have sent a cold email that led to a positive interaction with a particular prospect. This could be through landing a response email, call or meeting. But, for whatever reason, they stopped responding to your emails or calls. In this case, you should keep following up. Follow up indefinitely if that is what it takes. Whatever the case, keep following up until you get a yes or no response. It might be a little annoying, but this approach works.

On the other hand, you will have prospects who do not respond to your initial cold email. A great rule of thumb here is to send a cold email follow up at least three or four times. If that does not help, you should simply cut your losses and move on to prospects that are more promising.

Effective Cold Email Follow Up Template

Here are a couple of cold email follow up templates that you can use in a few different scenarios:

1. After no response

Hi (Prospect’s name),

In case you missed my earlier email, the team here at (your company name) is interested in (restate context). This would be a great opportunity for you to (restate the value proposition).

Would you be free for a quick 10-minute chat on (specific date and time) to talk more about this?


(Your name).

2. After they ask you to get back to them later

Hi (Prospect’s name),

I know we’re still holding off our conversation until (mention date, month or time the prospect asked you to contact them again), but I wanted to send you a (mention relevant resource like a customer case study) that speak to how (your company) helped them (specific value proposition).

What sort of timeline do you think we are looking at to pick this back up? (Add this if they have not specified when you should contact them again.)


(Your name).

3. After a meeting

Hi (Prospect’s name),

It was great meeting with you (today, last week, etc.)! Thank you for your time and having me come over to your office. I look forward to chatting again on (specific time and date).

Quick question: can you please confirm that I recapped our discussion accurately?

  •    Discussion point 1
  •    Discussion point 2
  •    Discussion point 3

From our meeting, the action steps we agreed on are:

  •    Point 1
  •    Point 2
  •    Point 3

Again, it was great meeting with you! I look forward to hearing from you on this.


(Your name).

4. Break up time – the last email

Hi (prospect’s name),

I’ve been reaching out because I see a great opportunity for your team at (mention prospect’s company) to (mention specific value proposition) with (mention your company).

I hate to be a bother, so I’ll plan to reconnect after a couple of months. That is, of course, unless you tell me you are ready to reevaluate sooner! If you are interested in getting your team on a pilot basis to try our (mention your service or product) out, I could help set that up for you too.

In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for (mention prospect’s company)!

Thanks for your time.

(Your name).

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Cold Email Follow Up Do’s and Don’ts

Effective cold email follow up lies in a simple philosophy: follow up as many times as it takes to get a response. If the prospect asks you to get back to them in seven days, highlight that on your calendar and contact them again in seven days. If they say that they are too busy right now, ask them when would be a good time to get in touch.

In a nutshell, the key here is to keep the flow of communication going. And if someone says that they are not interested in your product or service, then you must leave them alone. But, if they do not respond at all, keep at it until you get a clear yes or no answer. Here are some other do’s and don’ts that will help you improve your cold email follow up strategy:

1. How many times is too many?

The number one question most people have about cold email follow up is how many times they should follow up. A great rule of thumb is if you have never had any other interaction with a prospect, send follow up emails up to six times. You still have not built the type of relationship that will allow you to do more than that.

On the other hand, you might have interacted with the prospect before. If they did not give you a clear and definite no, then keep sending follow ups until you get a response. You can use tools like RooJet to automate this process and set up simple reminders that will keep this constant stream of communication (even if it is one-way!) going.

2. Keep it short

Keep all your messages short and to the point. Let’s face it – the kind of customers that you want are constantly on the go, so they value their time. Reading through paragraphs of meaningless formality or pleasantries is not what they are looking for. Always be friendly and nice, but keep your follow up emails brief.

3. Always provide value

This is the key to effective cold emailing at any stage. If you know and understand what a prospect wants and needs, then you will be able to offer them a relevant product or service. It can be anything from an article that you think the prospect might enjoy or a resource that they could find helpful. Whatever the case, you can offer the prospect value without giving anything away for free. Remember, the goal here is to sell, not offer pro bono work!

4. Don’t play off the guilt!

Never say anything like :

“Why haven’t you responded to me yet? I’ve sent you six emails already!”

One of your toughest jobs through this process will be maintaining an air of indifference if the prospect does not respond. By staying nice and friendly, you show them that you are a professional who is on top of their game.

How to Follow Up: Phone or Email?

The answer to this question lies in what you are after. Do you want a quick response or a positive one? Sometimes, it is necessary to follow up via a telephone call because you are dealing with a time-sensitive issue. That is the only time it is okay to reach out to prospects through a phone call. But keep in mind that this move will make you come across as annoying, and can increase the chances of turning a “maybe” into a hard “no.”

On the other hand, following up through email is a great way to optimize your outreach for a positive response. If you keep it short, friendly, and professional – as well as follow all the other tips we have highlighted above – your cold email follow up campaign will be effective.

Apart from these two options, there are other ways you can use to follow up. For instance, you could do so on social media. Some salespeople swear by using channels like LinkedIn or Twitter to get on a prospect’s radar. This approach could work, but only if you do not overdo it. You do not want to cross that fine line between marketing and stalking!

You can also reach out through handwritten notes, but this hinges on your judgment. Do you already have a cordial relationship with the prospect? Or have you already had a few positive interactions with them? Depending on your answer, a handwritten note can make a great impression and help you connect with more customers.

Another weapon in your arsenal is the fax. “Wait, it is 2017? Fax? Are you serious?” Yes, we know – no one uses the fax anymore. And that is why this just might work! It has to be the least cluttered medium you can use at this point. If they are not responding to your emails or calls, why not send them a fax? The truth is that you might not need this 99 percent of the time, but it might make a difference if you are facing a really tough prospect.

Lastly, you could always just show up at their office. Unannounced. Without an invitation. We do not endorse this move because it is very intrusive, but it sure is a good way to get a prospect’s attention. If you must land a particular prospect and all else has failed, keep this option as the very last resort and only use it when it if it is a do or die situation.

The Final Word

A lot of salespeople and marketers assume that if a prospect does not respond to their cold email, then they are not interested. But this could not be further from the truth!

The prospect could be busy or have forgotten to get back to you, but that does not mean they do not want what you are offering. Either way, cold email follow up is the only way to know this definitively.

If a prospect does not respond, simply assume that they are too busy right now and that you need to follow up till they get a chance to respond. Reaching out continuously will increase your chances of getting that response, call, or meeting that you are angling for.

After all, it always falls on you as the salesperson to maintain relationships and drive the conversation forward.

These tips will help you do just that. But keep in mind that is all they are: tips, not rules set in stone! Research will help you know your prospects better and tailor a cold email campaign that will work for them. It all depends on the context, situation, interactions, and relationship that you have had with the other person.

That said, following up is the only way to win in the cold email game. It is how you get meetings or calls when other people do not. It is also how you close deals with promising prospects when others have already given up. Keep following up until you get the job done!

If you have any more tips and tricks on how to create a winning cold email follow up strategy, make sure to leave them in the comments below!

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