January 16, 2022

How To Write An Effective Follow-Up Email Subject Line, Using the Right Words to Close The Sale!

When you want to close any matter, it is vital that you do so with the right subject line. It should be short and sweet, yet still state the purpose of your email. It should be clear and concise, yet still leave room for the customer to respond. It should state your purpose without being too pushy or aggressive. If you can nail this part down, you will have a good chance of closing that deal or sale or work! That's why I'm sharing with you today my top-secret formula for writing effective follow-up email subject lines that get results! These are simple tips (some if not all might seem obvious) but nevertheless I'll share them because they work.

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Follow-Up Email Subject Line Best Practices

To secure that you are writing the best follow-up email subject lines, follow these guidelines:

Keep the email subject line to 40 characters or less.

The subject line is a very important part of your message, and you want it to be as helpful as possible! The reason that I advocate for such a short length in my blog post was because I wanted to focus on providing actionable tips instead of being too wordy with every tip. You can use more words if necessary (for example) but keep it under 40 characters at least.

Be specific when writing the purpose of your email.

This is another one that I think can be overlooked, but a lot of people seem to forget this when they compose an email to someone in customer service or sales... You want the details as brief and concise as possible, so ask for what needs to be done (and not how it will look) or ask them how exactly they would like you to do something without being too pushy or aggressive.

If you are asking someone about their needs, state your purpose in the subject line. For example:

"My Name is ********* and I'm writing to inquire about [the reason you are contacting them]" It's OK if it looks like spam, but try not to start with a "Dear" or anything too formal! You want this email to be as casual and friendly as possible because that helps someone feel more comfortable opening up (and sharing) their information with you. Your job is to find out what they need, so make sure your Subject Line clearly states why.

Use action words when asking for details!

When writing your Subject Line, try to use action words that get people excited and make them want to read the rest of your email. Action words such as : "Request," "inquire," and the like, are important because your Subject Line is probably one of the most attention-grabbing parts of this email.

Make it personal!

I believe that when you write an email to a company or person with whom you do not know well (such as someone in customer service), try writing something like: "Hi my name is ********* I'm contacting [company] today regarding our account." This helps establish rapport right off the bat and shows sincerity which will help them trust your request more quickly if they have any doubts about whether or not you are being honest about your intentions.

Highlight accomplishments in every follow-up message

If there was something that you did well in your previous communication with them, highlight it. This will help reinforce the idea that the person on their end is a valued customer and not just another number for them to shuffle through.

Don't ask personal questions in the subject line!

No asking someone what their favorite color is, how they like their coffee, etc.

This one seems obvious to me, but I still see it happen quite often when people send emails to my inbox with these kinds of question-askers in the subject line--what do you think?

Be specific about your deadline for taking action on this request

"We will be missing the completion of our project if we don't receive a response by _________." This is important because it clearly states your deadline and makes them feel obligated to take action right away. You should always try to make this deadline as specific as possible unless you have a good reason not to (like they are in an extremely busy season or some other unavoidable circumstance). The last thing you want to do is give someone expectations that you know they can't meet which will cause them to feel frustrated and unappreciated (and ultimately hurt your chances of their taking action).

Another way I like to communicate deadlines is by providing a clear reason why the deadline is important.

Sound natural and conversational

"Hey, _________. How are you?"

"I'm sorry to bother you but I need some information about my project."

When asking for feedback in an email (or even a phone call), it is always important that the person on the other end of your conversation sounds friendly and like they would be willing to talk with you if called upon (not someone who seems annoyed or irritated by having their time wasted). This will make them feel more confident about giving you feedback and not be hesitant to respond.

Follow up the email with a phone call or in-person follow up (if possible)

"Hey, _________. Thanks for your response! I was wondering if we could schedule a time that worked better on how I might like our logo to look." Or "I wanted to touch base with you again before our project is scheduled so that we can finalize our spacing and make sure everything is going to work out well."

One of the best things you can do for your chances of getting feedback from someone effectively (especially if it's a huge project or time-sensitive) is schedule a meeting with them. This way they have no excuse not to speak with you because they don't see an immediate need for communication. You also want their response in writing so that there are no misunderstandings about what was discussed.

Ask them basic, open-ended questions

When closing a deal with a prospect, asking open-ended and simple questions is a great way to get the information you need.

"What's your top three needs?" "Can we talk about that in more detail later today?" or "That sounds like something I can help with." These are all questions that will leave room for interpretation and then let them decide if they want to elaborate further when there is time (or not).


What about the length of the body of your follow up email subject line, what should it be?

The length of your email body is directly correlated to the amount of time you want in which to get a response. This part is up to personal preference, but here are some examples:

– Short (1-2 sentences) if it's going be quick and easy

For example, "I wanted to follow up with you on the survey we talked about last Friday. If that's okay, I'll have my designer send over a few examples of what our logo could look like."

– Medium (3-5 sentences) if it's going be half an hour or more but won't take all-day

For example, "Hey Bill, thanks for taking the time to talk with me yesterday! As promised, we had some idea of the direction we'd like to take with our logo, and I'm ready to start working on a few ideas. If it's okay, could you send me some examples of what your ideal version would look like?"

– Long (6-8 sentences) if it's going be half an hour or longer

For example, "Hey Bill! Thanks again for taking the time yesterday afternoon. I know that was probably pretty last minute, but there were a few things I wanted to talk about and I really appreciate you giving me a chance.

I've been working on some potential logo ideas for the company, which we'll be sharing with everyone soon! The first one is below, but here are two more that may fit perfectly as well."  

If your follow up email subject line has too much text (10+ sentences) it's going to end up being read by few people. If it 's too short (1-2 sentences) it's going to be read by many people. How do you know which is right? A good rule of thumb is that the length should be long enough for your target audience to actually get something out of their reading experience, but not so long as to bore them or make them lose interest before they've even started reading.

The more information your email has in a shorter period of time, the fewer people will have to read it. The less information in a longer time, the more people are going to see it.


Active vs. Passive language in Follow-Up Email Subject Line

The best follow up email subject line is a combination of Active and Passive language. An Active sentence tells the recipient what you're going to do, where it's in progress or about to happen, or that something has been done. A Passive sentence does not tell the reader how something will be accomplished but instead focuses on why things are being done (e.g., because) and makes a request for action from your target audience.

For example: "I'm sending you a few logo concepts. Which one do you like? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the design."

vs

"Here are some logos we're considering for our upcoming marketing campaign, would you have time to give me feedback today?"

Note: The first email subject line does not ask for comments but tells my receiver that there is another message waiting in their inbox as soon as they open it. Passive language carries less information and is usually more impactful.

Although the first message may be useful, you're only going to get one shot at getting your point across in this email , so it's important that you make sure your follow up subject line gets their attention!


Which words/phrases should you avoid when writing your follow-up email subject lines for maximum effect and conversion rate optimization (CRO)?

I've found that some words or phrases can hamper your email's effectiveness in the CRO department . Here are a few to avoid:

Informational - This word should be avoided when writing an email subject line. The purpose of this type of message is to inform someone about something, not to ask for action. Instead, use "I'm sending you..." and let your reader fill in their own blanks as they read through the body of your email.

Urgent - Just like informational messages , urgent emails are asking people to do things that no one really has time for . If you're trying to get people's attention, use "I'm sending you..." and let them fill in the rest of their own blanks as they read.

Soliciting - When writing your follow-up subject line for a marketing email , this word is usually used with monetary requests and other services that involve money (i.e., asking for donations). Asking for information or feedback should be done without any sort of pressure. Send your email as a "brain dump" and let readers fill in the details on their own.

Catchy - Catchy is often thought of as an amazing word, but it can also hinder your ability to increase conversions. When writing follow-up subject lines for informational emails , avoid all uses of this word or you risk turning off half of your reader base! Your goal with marketing emails should be to get people's attention. Don 't get distracted by catchy words and phrases that don't accomplish your goals.

Exclusive - This word is usually used to incite a person's curiosity, but you shouldn't be doing this in follow-up subject lines! When writing the title of an email that requests action , use "I'm sending..." so your reader will have no excuse not to click on it. If you're going for exclusivity with this kind of message, then send it in a very short time frame.

Awe - Awe is an amazing word that people love to use, but it can create resistance when using it as the headline of your follow-up subject line! When you ask for information or action , be sure to keep this word out of your title so your reader will see right away what they'll get if they click on yours instead.


To summarize, use catchy words and phrases that are relevant to your message. Don't use exclusive words or phrases that will turn off half of your readership. You should also include a mix of Active and Passive Language when writing your Follow-Up Email Subject Line. Remember that the Subject Line is what your reader sees first, so make it as powerful and engaging as possible to motivate them to open your message.


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