18 Follow-Up Email Subject Line Examples + Tips

18 Follow-Up Email Subject Line Examples + Tips

The follow-up email is one of the most important tools in a salesperson’s arsenal of communication. 

In fact, in most cases, an effective follow-up represents the ticket to a closed-won deal. 

And while the body of the email communicates your message, the subject line often determines whether that message gets read at all. 

Unfortunately, the follow-up email subject line is often an afterthought. Sales reps need to remember that although the subject line is a seemingly small part of the overall message, it’s the first thing the reader sees. It can make or break an opportunity in a split second, and sales reps should consider it carefully.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how to write an irresistible follow-up email subject line that makes your message stand out from the crowd and encourages the recipient to open it.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Why the Follow-up Is So Important

Many salespeople feel wary about how and when to send follow-up emails because they fear coming across as pushy or incompetent. 

In fact, 48% of sales reps never follow up at all, and 44% of those who do stop trying after only the first attempt. 

But salespeople who shy away from following up will undoubtedly miss out — 80% of customers say no to four follow-up attempts before saying yes on the fifth.

Follow-Up Email Subject Line

With these statistics in mind, it’s clear that the follow-up email needs to be a carefully-planned piece of your overall outreach strategy. 

The fact of the matter is that it’s perfectly normal for a prospect to not respond to your first couple of attempts to reach them. The average email user receives over 120 emails per day — it’s no wonder some messages fall by the wayside, intentionally or otherwise. 

The data shows that the salespeople who are persistent with their follow-ups will reap the rewards.

But how can they ensure that their message gets noticed? It’s no small task to win the attention of the reader when there are over 100 other messages with which to compete.

That’s where the email subject line comes in.

The subject line determines so much about what happens to your follow-up attempt. In many cases, it’s the single deciding factor in whether or not your email gets read at all — 47% of recipients choose whether to open an email based on the subject line alone. 

Let’s dive into some surefire ways to ensure your subject line stands out from the crowd and gets your email opened. 

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Follow-up Email Subject Line Formula

Great subject lines have been shown to generate open rates of over 85%. That’s pretty outstanding when you consider that the average email open rate is only 12% – 25%.

Here’s how to write the perfect follow-up email subject line every time, regardless of the market you serve or the product you sell.

Get Personal

Most salespeople know that their emails should be personalized, and tailored to the needs of the reader. Personalized emails generate 6x higher transaction rates than generic ones.

The same principle applies to subject lines. Many successful subject lines include the name of the reader, like the one shown below.

Follow-Up Email Subject Line Example

You might also reference a specific meeting date. This can jog the reader’s memory about the last time you spoke.

Follow-Up Email Subject Line Example

The goal of a personalized subject line is to grab the recipient’s attention among a sea of other messages in a way that makes them think, “This email was written explicitly for me.”

Deliver Value

Great salespeople know that their interactions with buyers should be value-based. The goal, of course, is to close the sale, but that objective is best achieved by providing value and advising prospects before they even consider signing on the dotted line.

Look at the way this subject line promises to provide a benefit to the reader.

Follow-Up Email Subject Line Example

You might also reference an unanswered question from your last meeting, or share a relevant blog post that you think might resonate with them. Again, make sure this content is personalized and designed to meet a specific need.

Keep It Short

While there are always exceptions, subject lines should generally be brief. Our email subject line study found that open rates peak when subject lines are between 1-5 words.

Email Subject Line Length

The decision about whether to open an email is made in fractions of a second, and you risk losing that attention if your subject line is too long.

It’s also important to keep in mind that many readers navigate their inboxes via mobile devices, where subject lines are more likely to be cut off based on length. If it needs to be longer than 10 words, make sure the important content is at the front.

Time Your Sequence 

Studies show that 63% of interested prospects will not commit to purchase for at least 3 months, with 20% taking longer than 12 months. 

This means that you need to be ready for the long haul, and plan your subject lines accordingly. You wouldn’t, for example, follow up after a two-month-long hiatus with a subject line like, Thanks for our meeting eight weeks ago

Consider the cadence of your follow-up series to help you write the perfect subject lines. How frequently you reach out will help you convey the right tone, urgency, and value offering. Software like Yesware can help you automate and personalize this process.

Tip: In our sales follow-up statistics study, we found that the most successful cadence based on replies is six touches in the span of roughly three weeks.

Average Follow-Up Cadence

18 Email Subject Line Examples

We rounded up some of our favorite follow-up subject lines that have been proven with above-average open rates. Many of them can be tweaked or adapted to fit your own personality or brand tone.

General Follow-up

Subject Line: Hello again from {YOUR NAME or COMPANY NAME}

Formal Alternative: Pleasure meeting you, {NAME}!

Casual Alternative: Great meeting you, {NAME}!

Alternative: Hi {NAME}, just checking in

These subject lines are easy, basic examples of ones you can use for just about anyone with whom you’ve had prior contact. They convey a warm but professional tone and demonstrate to the recipient that you want to create a stronger relationship. 

A Casual Follow-up (With Some Intrigue)

Subject Line: Hey {PROSPECT’S NAME}, remember me?

Alternative: Hi {NAME}, it’s me {YOUR NAME}…

This subject line certainly checks the boxes for short and personalized. It also piques the reader’s curiosity with a question, and asks them to jog their memory. Both of these add to the likelihood that the email will get opened.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Subject Line: Hey {NAME}, I think I got stuck in your inbox.

Alternative: Did you miss this, {NAME}?

Who among us hasn’t let an important email get accidentally buried under spam and promotions? These subject lines work because they acknowledge that the reader may have accidentally overlooked your previous email. 

If that’s the truth, the reader will likely see the follow-up and open it more readily. If, on the other hand, they disregarded the original message intentionally, this subject line may make them feel just enough pressure to re-engage — no one wants to make someone else feel like they’ve been forgotten. 

cursor-clickEliminate the guessworkKnow which subject lines are getting prospects to click

Offer a Specific Time

Subject Line: Free {DATE} at {TIME}?

Alternative: Phone call on {DATE}? 20 minutes?

This subject line gets right to the point by providing a clear meeting time proposal. The hope here is that the recipient will automatically check their calendar. If they’re free, the subject line makes it easy to say yes. If not, they’ll ideally propose an alternative time (and if they don’t, you can follow-up by asking them what works best for them).

Provide Value

Subject Line: New {DEPARTMENT} strategy for {COMPANY}


First steps for improving {PROBLEM}

Here’s the info I promised

I saw this on {SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM} and thought of you

You really can’t go wrong with a value-based subject line. There are a multitude of ways to frame these, depending on your last date of contact, and they can be drafted to suit the specific needs and personality of your recipient. 

The value can be as simple as sharing a link to a blog post, or as complex as crafting a new strategy for your prospect. Regardless, the subject line should indicate to the reader that they’ll benefit by opening your email. And, of course, make sure that the content you provide adequately addresses at least some of their pain points

Mention a Mutual Acquaintance

Subject Line: {MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE} suggested I reach out

Alternative: I just talked to {MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE}, thought I’d reach out

Showing your recipient that you share a mutual connection can fast-track your email to the top of their priority list. It’s okay to name-drop in this situation, as long as it’s genuine (i.e., if you say you just spoke to them, make sure it’s true). A referral can go a long way in generating an enthusiastic response. 

Find the Decision Makers

Subject Line: Is there someone else I can reach out to?

Alternative: Want me to stop contacting you?

Sometimes, a lack of response means you’re reaching out to the wrong person. You may need to reach out to someone with a different job title.

One effective way to address this is to use the subject line to suss out the actual decision-makers. This gives the recipient an “out,” so to speak — they can pass the appropriate contact onto you, if you give them the opportunity.

Best Practices for Follow-up Subject Lines

There are some best practices to keep in mind for follow-up subject lines (bonus — these apply to cold emails, too). Keep these tips in mind to improve your response rates. 

Stay Away From Click Bait

Whatever you do, avoid subject lines that contain too much hype, or ones that trick the person into opening the email by alluding to something irrelevant. This is known as click bait, and it’s a sure-fire way to end up in your recipient’s spam folder

A good subject line should be enticing, but it also needs to be relevant to the body of the email.

Perform A/B Testing

If your open rates are lower than you’d like, or you find that you regularly receive no response to your emails, A/B testing is a really effective email marketing tool that will help you get to the bottom of your lack of results.

With A/B testing, you send two different subject lines to two different email lists within your target audience, and compare your results. This can give you valuable data about what kinds of subject lines resonate most with your prospects and can help you design winning email campaigns that you can use over and over again.

Consider testing out some of the following strategies in your A/B tests:

  • Use a cliffhanger: A subject line that piques the recipient’s curiosity can create an intriguing first impression. Try testing lines like, “{NAME}, you in?” or “{NAME}, your thoughts?”. Just remember to ensure that the body of the email tracks with that kind of subject line.
  • Ask for a favor: Some sales reps have success with asking the recipient to help them out with something. This strategy might work well if you’re looking for the right person to contact — “Hi {NAME}, can you help me reach {DECISION MAKER}?” It’s harder for people to ignore a plea for help than general outreach.
  • Call out their behavior: In some cases, you may consider using your subject line to directly address the recipient’s interactions with your email: “Hey {NAME}, you’re not opening my emails. Is there something wrong?”. This probably isn’t the best strategy for the first email in a sequence, but can work later down the line when you have data available. 

Be Casual (But Not Too Casual)

Believe it or not, a subject line that’s too professional can sometimes come across as spammy. It’s okay to be somewhat casual in your subject line using some of the tactics outlined above.

Using a recipient’s name, or referencing something they mentioned at your last meeting adds a personal touch and can boost reply rates. It’s also effective to use lowercase letters after the first word of the subject line; a subject line with all capitalized letters sometimes gives off a spammy impression.

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