How to Send a Follow-up Email After No Response?

by Meg Kawalkowska

January 14, 2021

How to send a follow-up email after no response?

It’s been a couple of hours now since you reached out to the CEO of that new startup you came across. A day passes and still nothing. Silence. You start having doubts… To follow up, or not to follow up?

That is the question.

Actually, there’s no question about it. You should always follow up after no response. The only questions are: how long to wait before doing it, how many follow-ups to send, and what to write in a follow-up email? Continue reading to find out.

Why do your emails get no response?

There are three basic reasons for that:

  • The problem may lie in the content of your email. Perhaps it didn’t hit the right chord and recipients didn’t find it interesting enough. Or they need some more touchpoints to get engaged.
  • Your addressee is a busy person and simply forgot to reply or missed your email among hundreds of other messages.
  • Your email landed in SPAM or the promotions tab and recipients never saw it.

In the first two cases, you can get a second chance to catch their attention by sending a follow-up email after no response. You’ll find out how to write one in this blog post.

In the last case, the problem is a bit more complex and requires some investigation to be done first. To learn more about spotting & solving email deliverability problems, read this blog post.

How long should you wait for an email response?

Give your contacts at least 1-3 days to answer your email. Following up too soon will make you look pushy or even intrusive. Nobody likes that. Also, try not to wait too long with sending a follow-up email, because your recipient may lose the context.

How many times should you follow up after no response?

There’s no rule stating the maximum number of follow-ups. It’s rather a matter of common sense. There’s a fine line between being persistent and becoming annoying. Also, as proved by our research, the 5th, 6th or 7th follow-up email brings just a tiny increase in the reply rate, so it may not be worth your time to send more than 3 or 4 follow-ups.

It seems like a better idea to work on the quality of each email, rather than quantity because if you overdo it, you may get labeled as a spammer by one of the irritated addressees and that’s the last thing you want.

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How to write a follow-up email after no response?

I can’t count how many times I get a follow-up email saying “Just wanted to follow-up on my previous email” or “Just checking in”. Yes, it’s short and immediately gets to the point, but it’s also so overused that it became one of the cold email cliches. There’s also one more problem: this approach doesn’t solve the first case of why people don’t respond, namely because your message didn’t catch their interest.

Since you don’t really know the exact reason why people didn’t respond to your initial email, it’s wiser to write a follow-up that brings additional value and use a second chance to catch their interest, rather than keep reminding them that you’re waiting for their response.

So what is the additional value I’m talking about? For example, mention another benefit of your product, send them a case study of how it helped a similar company, or link to a video, which shows how to use your product and what they can gain from it.

Here is a follow-up email template for no response that perfectly illustrates my point:

Grab our Sales Follow-ups Guide, for more templates and tips >>

How to send follow-up email after no response?

Basically, there are two ways you can send follow-ups: manually or schedule an automated follow-up sequence in a tool dedicated for cold emailing, like Woodpecker or Mailshake. It depends on how many recipients you target and how much time you can devote to it.

Sending follow-up emails manually is de facto only possible on a small scale. And if you have a lot of patience, strong nerves, and above-average organizational skills. Trust us, we’ve been there and done that. Actually that’s how the idea for Woodpecker came into being. You can read the story here.

If you target more than just a handful of people, it’s much easier to prepare a follow-up sequence and let the tool take care of the sending for you. You won’t have to keep track of when was the last time you followed-up, who already responded and who you should follow-up again. You also get insights about how your emails perform, so you can use the saved time on A/B testing and polishing them up to improve the results. It’s like you hired an assistant who works round the clock for you.

Long story short: the way you handle follow-ups depends on the scale of your email outreach. Managing communication with ten, or even twenty contacts at a time is still possible manually, but with more than that the process gets tricky and eventually becomes a total chaos.

To sum up

Usually, no response to your email means that either the message didn’t grab a receiver’s attention or they simply forgot to reply.

Whatever the reason, wait at least 1-3 days for a response before you send a follow-up email. If after your first follow-up you still don’t get a response, don’t be afraid to follow-up again. But instead of sending a clichéd reminder, write a follow-up that brings additional value and use it as a second chance to catch an addressee’s attention. Go for quality, not quantity and you’ll notice a significant increase in the reply rate, even up to 40%.

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Meg Kawalkowska

Content Manager at

Meg is passionate about educational content creation. You can always spot her either writing or reading. She treats each day as a chance to learn something new.

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