How to Write a Follow-Up E-mail (When to Write and Example)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 26, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A follow-up e-mail is one of the most efficient means to sustain communications and maintain workflow in the workplace. Depending on the purpose of the e-mail, you may begin by mentioning the previous communication and specify the reasons for following up with your colleague. Understanding the essence of follow-up e-mails and how to write one can help you communicate effectively and maintain contact with other professionals. In this article, we define a follow-up e-mail, outline how to write one, provide instances when you can write a follow-up e-mail, and review an example.
What is a follow-up e-mail?
A follow-up e-mail is a message that a company, employer, or employer sends after a prior communication to request an action from the receiver. When you send a follow-up message, you remind them of the previous e-mail while gaining additional information from the recipient. It's important that you identify the purpose of the e-mail and employ a call to action so that the recipient understands the intention of your message and knows what to do.
How to write a follow-up e-mail
Follow these steps for how to write a follow-up e-mail:
1. Determine the e-mail objective
The first step in sending a follow-up e-mail is to identify the purpose you want to achieve. It's also important to be thoughtful about how you want to phrase the follow-up e-mail. For instance, if you want to follow up with a client on details of a project, you may present a document describing the terms of the project or partly-done work. While it's safe to ask for clarifications from the client, it's beneficial to inform them you've made progress and attended other aspects of the project.
2. Draft an attractive copy
A good angle you may consider in creating follow-up e-mails is first to create a good impression when you meet the client, colleague, hiring manager, or employer for the first time. Then, you can start the e-mail by referencing your meeting with them and the positive experience. Finally, creating a striking and personal copy makes it easy to remember you and increases the chances of reading your e-mail and replying when necessary. Here are some examples of follow-up e-mail openings you may use:
I'm following up on an e-mail I sent two weeks ago...
Last week at the Preston conference, I listened to your speech, and I felt inspired…
Brittany Cole, a mutual friend, shared your contact with me…
We met at the diner two days ago to discuss a business proposal…
3. Explain why you're e-mailing
After defining the beginning of your follow-up e-mail, the next step is to compose the body of the message. This part establishes the reason behind the e-mail. For instance, you may give a concise background and then tell the recipient what you want. Some examples you may explore are:
Following the meeting weeks ago, I started to develop the terms for the agreement between you as the client and the company. I performed a background check and discovered we didn't clarify all the details concerning the project.
We discussed the role's requirements and the ideal candidate that the company wants to hire. Then I researched the company website and discovered there wasn't any information on the work hours for my division on the website.
4. Include a call to action
After introducing yourself to the recipient and establishing a connection with them, it's important to include a call to action. The essence of the call to action is to elicit an action from them to respond to the e-mail or perform some other action, like attending a meeting. Including a call to action also eliminates ambiguity and emphasizes the purpose of the message. While you may not seem demanding and forceful, it's important that your call to action is clear and concise. Some examples of how to incorporate it are:
I look forward to hearing more about the role and any further steps I can take to ensure I'm the perfect fit for the role.
If it's convenient, I want to know where you are regarding the project tasks we assigned last week.
As promised during my interview, here's a link to my website. I look forward to assisting with any pending projects where you require design assistance.
5. Create a strong subject line
While the subject line comes first in the e-mail, it's advisable to think of a title last. Saving the e-mail title for last allows you to understand the essence of the e-mail and find an appropriate heading. It also gives you time to think of a catchy e-mail title that can quickly attract the reader's attention. In addition, it's important that the e-mail title reflects the call to action in the message. You may also include numbers to make the content more attractive and give the impression that the expected response falls within a timeline.
6. Close your e-mail
While e-mail closings are common and may be generic, it's advisable to draft one that aligns with the content of your e-mail. For instance, you may use the e-mail closing to reiterate a point you made at the beginning of the message. You may also use the closing to re-emphasize the call to action in the e-mail body. Ensure that your e-mail closing is personal, yet professional and memorable. Some examples of e-mail closings you may use are:
Let me know if you have further questions.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
I expect to meet with you again soon.
Let me know what you think.
When to write a follow-up e-mail
There are different reasons you may write a follow-up e-mail, either for the company or to advance your career. Some of the most appropriate instances where you may send a follow-up e-mail include:
To schedule a meeting
As an employee or a manager, you may schedule work meetings for different reasons. For instance, you may set a meeting to pitch an idea to senior management, present a report, have personal conversations, or get updates regarding a project from team members. In addition, your work manager or supervisor may review your annual performance, and you can follow up with a progress update. To schedule meetings effectively, you can use a project management system.
To check performance status after the interview
After your interview process, it's good practice to send a follow-up e-mail to the hiring manager. This e-mail may contain a thank-you note where you appreciate the interviewer for their time and the interview. You may also include a call to action by reminding them about how pleased you are with the prospects of working with the company. Then indicate how you hope to hear from them soon on the application status. You may personalize this e-mail by highlighting the major points you gathered during the interview, further clarifications about the company or role, or new information you learned.
To consult with a colleague
As an employee, you can consult with your teammate, supervisor, or colleague using a follow-up e-mail. You may also contact coworkers in your former workplace or new colleagues that you meet at industry events like conferences. Connecting with new and old contacts shows that you care about them and may help generate leads on industry opportunities. You may also get major updates on their career accomplishments and any open opportunities in their workplace.
To gather information
Employees at work send follow-up e-mails mostly to gather information. For instance, you may follow up with a client on the details of a proposal, campaign, or contract while gathering important information required to complete them. You may also draft a follow-up e-mail to the client to clarify the details of previous conversations you've had. In addition, you may send a follow-up message to a colleague at work based on a project you're both working on to get the status updates or seek clarifications.
Follow-up e-mail example
Here's a follow-up e-mail sample you can use at work:
Subject line: Progress report on the project assignment on the 5th of May, 2022
I'm writing this e-mail as a follow-up to the project meeting we had two weeks back on the 5th of May, 2022. From the tasks assigned, I'm supposed to receive the client database from you, with which I can write the concluding part of the team report. I've worked on the thesis and the project focus, and I'm ready to advance to the recommendation.
You may have other tasks with other team tasks, but we have a very close deadline for this project and a meeting with senior management. Kindly send the client data to me before the end of the week. I expect to hear from you soon.
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