Email essentials

10 best follow up email subject lines examples for 2024

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One of the greatest misconceptions about follow up emails is that your potential customers or customers will get agitated by seeing multiple emails coming from you.

But that’s far from the truth.

In fact, with consumers receiving in excess of a hundred emails every day, it’s likely that they may have missed seeing your first emails.

And that’s why a follow up email is necessary.

Given that inboxes are overloaded with emails everyday, your email needs to stand out from the rest. And your follow up email subject line plays a key role in grabbing the attention of your audience and getting them to click on your email to open it.

Case in point—the average reply rate with follow up emails is 13% as compared to just 9% with the first email.

And that’s why, in this post, we’ll look into how to write a follow up email subject line that can drive up your open rates. We’ll discuss the best practices and some great examples of such subject lines too.

How important is a follow up email subject line?

Some “people” tend to underestimate the importance of a follow up email subject line. While you may have aced your first email, the chances are that your receivers may have missed it or missed to take action after opening the email.

The follow up email is your second chance, and your subject line has to serve as an enabler for that. And that’s why it’s very important to ace it.

And due to its importance, you must ensure that you get it right. It can’t be spammy and should connect to your previous email.

Here’s an example of poorly crafted follow up email subject lines. Note how all four follow ups have the same subject line.

Some of the other issues with this subject line are:

  • It’s a very run-off-the-mill subject line that won’t attract attention.
  • It doesn’t continue from where the first email left off.
  • It looks very spammy.
  • It’s the same subject line that didn’t drive the receiver to open the email.

Needless to say, if you make such mistakes with your subject line for follow up email, you’ll likely drag your open rates down.

For instance, if the receiver didn’t open your email with the same subject line the first time around, their chances of doing so on seeing it the second time would be even lower.

And guess what?

Your open rates affect your conversion rates too. So, by extension, your conversions would be impacted, and your campaign will fall flat.

Best practices to craft your email follow up subject line

Now that you know how important it is to craft compelling subject lines for follow up emails, let’s take a look at some of the best practices that you can adopt to get them right.

Create a connection with your previous email

The email you’re writing is a follow up email. So, it must, in some way, connect to the initial email you sent. This way, the receiver will clearly understand that you’re following up with them regarding something you’ve already sent them earlier.

So, how can you go about creating a connection between your first and follow up emails?

Here’s how:

On the same thread as the initial email

This means the subject line will be the same with a “RE:” at the beginning.

Here’s an example:

RE: Your free marketing guide is here

This email gives an impression that you’re replying to the reader. It also shows them the initial email, building their trust further. However, many spam emails tend to use “RE:” in the subject line, so it may not be the best option for you.

On a new email

You could also create a fresh email with a new subject line. For example:

Did you check out the free guide I shared earlier?

Such a subject line shows that you’re following up. At the same time, it’s a separate email altogether that evokes curiosity. The disadvantage is that the reader will have to search for your initial email to verify if you did send them something.

Keep your follow up email subject line short and captivating

It’s important to keep your subject lines short. Let’s understand with examples.

Here are two subject lines:

  1. You’re almost out of time to register for our retention strategies webinar
  2. Don’t miss our retention strategies webinar!

The first subject line is long (74 characters) and doesn’t get to the point. It may not even appear completely if you open the email on a smartphone.

The second one is a catchy subject line that drives the reader to take action. It’s also just 45 characters, which means it’ll appear completely on the phone. Keep your subject lines to a maximum of 60 characters.

Do not get too aggressive

Let’s be honest—it can be frustrating when you don’t get a response to your sales and marketing emails. But that shouldn’t come in the way when you write your follow up email subject lines.

You might end up being too pushy or exaggerate the urgency in your follow up email. But that could have a reverse effect on your audience and may drive them away.

So, make sure you keep things in the middle. Be slightly pushy, but nothing more than that.

Provide value

The follow up email subject line acts as a short marketing message for your receivers that compels them to open your email. And that’s why it needs to capture their attention.

Your subject line must convey the value that your email will provide the readers. It should show them what they have to gain from opening your email and taking the action that’s mentioned in it. When you provide them with something that’s advantageous to them, they’ll likely open your email.

Here’s a great example:

Make your subject line personal

Personalization matters in any form of marketing. In fact, 76% of consumers say they’ll buy from brands that personalize.

Your subject lines for follow up emails aren’t exceptions. You need to customize them for every segment or prospect. That way, you can bring a personal touch to your email and build a connection with them. It’s also a great way to get them to open your email.

But don’t just personalize the name. Make sure the entire message is very specific to them.

Here’s a great example of a personalized subject line.

Use actionable language

The goal of your follow up email subject line is to get your receivers to open your emails.

But what’s the end goal this leads up to?

Clicking on your call-to-action. And that could possibly lead to a conversion.

In any case, this means your subject lines must be able to convince your readers to take the action you want them to. And that’s why you need to use actionable language in the subject lines by packing them with action verbs or phrases.

These can nudge your receivers to take the desired action.

Here’s a great example of such a subject line:

Note how the subject line asks the reader to stop running their campaigns without a direction. It can compel the receiver to open the email and take action.

Avoid spam triggers

The last thing you want is for your follow up email to be perceived as spam. And given that your subject line is the only thing that readers see initially along with your name, you need to ensure it doesn’t send alarm bells ringing in the minds of the receivers.

So, how do you ensure your subject line for follow up emails looks genuine and doesn’t get widely perceived as spam?

Well, the easiest way of avoiding such an undesirable situation is to stay away from words that spam emails usually incorporate in their subject lines. These include:

  • Free
  • Urgent
  • Big bucks
  • Earn money
  • Urgent
  • Limited time offer
  • Do it now!

Avoid using such words at all costs, as they could even trigger spam filters put in place by email clients. This could affect your email deliverability and lead to poor campaign results.

What’s more?

Along with spam words, make sure your follow up email subject lines aren’t in all caps. This could trigger spam filters too.

A good idea here is to run your email subject line through a subject line tester like ours to determine if it’s free from any spam words or not.

Customize based on action

You can send a follow up email for a variety of reasons. Here are a few:

  • To nudge your prospect to open your email and check it out if they haven’t opened the initial email.
  • To get your prospect to reopen your email and take the action you want them to take if they didn’t do so in the initial email.
  • To get the prospect to take the action again if they clicked on your CTA but didn’t follow through.

So, it’s important to customize your follow up email subject line based on the action that your prospect took in the initial email. This way, you can have a laser focus on what you need them to do this time around.

In each of these situations, you’ll have different goals. If the prospect hasn’t opened your email, you’d want them to. If they did open it but didn’t take any action, your follow up subject line has to reflect that.

Finally, if they did click on the CTA but didn’t complete the purchase, you’d have to use a subject line like the one below. Note how it asks the prospect to complete their purchase and even incentivizes them.

Strategically time your follow up email

While this isn’t strictly related to subject lines for your follow up emails, it’s relevant if you want to get more opens for your emails.

When you send a follow up email, it’s important to get its timing right. That way, you can reach your prospects when they’re active. It improves your chances of getting noticed. This, in turn, can improve your open rates.

Our research shows that the best day of the week for open rates is Tuesday. Friday, on the other hand, is the best day for click-through rates. It’s also the day that drives maximum conversion rates.

The best times to send emails are 2 pm, 5 pm, and 8 pm, with 8 pm driving the maximum open rates among all.

Test, test, and test

Irrespective of the strategies you use, it’s important to test your follow up email subject lines multiple times. That’s the only way to ensure that you’ve got them right.

Start by using a free subject line tester to identify if your subject line checks all the important points. It also ensures that it’ll be free from any potential spam words.

Once that’s done, you should A/B test the subject line to see which one drives better results. Do this process continuously to ensure that your subject line drives opens, clicks, and conversions.

Best follow up email subject lines

In this age of overflowing inboxes, a subject line that grabs attention can make all the difference in whether your email gets opened or ignored.

Here are some follow up email subject lines that you can tweak to fit your brand personality.

With question mark

Using a question mark in your follow up email subject lines can create a sense of urgency or importance. It can also pique the recipient’s curiosity, encouraging them to open the email.

Here are some examples you can use.

1. Ask a simple question that makes it very clear why you are reaching out.

2. Engage the recipient by using an open-ended question in your follow up email subject line. By posing a question that requires more than a simple yes or no answer, you invite the recipient to think more deeply and engage with the topic of your email.

3. Consider asking a pertinent question that needs to be answered.

Compliment

A well-crafted compliment can make the recipient feel valued and appreciated. It can help to set a positive tone for your email and may even spark intrigue, encouraging the recipient to open the email.

These are a few follow up email subject lines you can use for inspiration.

1. Pinterest created this recommendation email inspired by the recipient’s previous saves.

2. Grammarly appreciates the unique word use of this recipient.

3. The email below is a good follow up subject line example of how to personalize an email while appreciating the recipient.

Direct and promising value

A follow up email subject line that explicitly states the value or benefit that the recipient will receive from your email creates a sense of anticipation and expectation that can motivate the recipient to take action. These sorts of subject lines work well for welcome emails too.

Promising value can help establish credibility and build trust, as it demonstrates that you have something valuable to offer and are focused on delivering results.

Check out these examples.

1. State a specific number and topic to appeal to recipients looking for information on that topic.

2. Consider using words that indicate that the information provided in the email is valuable. The below example uses the word “unlock” to indicate the same.

3. The below subject line promises to teach the recipient how they can make the most of a particular tool at work.

Humorous and witty

By injecting humor into your subject lines, you can make your emails stand out from all the other emails your recipient may receive regularly.

It also establishes a friendly and personal tone and works best for people who may be busy or difficult to reach.

Check out these examples.

1. You don’t need to come up with witty one-liners. Something like this could also work well.

2. Of course, a funny one-liner is always welcome.

3. Here is an extremely creative one that can both shock your recipients and make them smile at the same time.

Sense of urgency and FOMO

Creating a sense of urgency can be an effective way to encourage the recipient to take action and respond promptly. Such a follow up subject line may indicate that the offer is time-sensitive and that the recipient should prioritize your email over others.

Here are some examples you may use.

1. Using words like “last call” or “ends soon” indicates that the recipient needs to act fast.

2. Here is one from Fabletics that shows that the sale ends tonight. So, if you need to buy, you need to buy NOW.

3. How about offering something for free but for a limited time? This email nails the FOMO.

Mention the name of the sender

By including your name in the subject line, you make your email more personal and establish a connection with the recipient. This can be particularly useful if you have previously corresponded with the recipient.

Why not use some of these subject lines for inspiration?

1. Here is an email that uses the name of the sender right at the beginning of the subject line.

2. The below email subject line may not have the name of the sender, but it still uses “I,” making it personal.

3. This email subject line does not have a name, but since the sender's name is that of a person, receivers know that it is coming from an individual and not a company.

Mention a mutual connection

By referencing a mutual connection, you create a connection between yourself and the recipient. This helps establish trust and familiarity.

It can be particularly useful if you are trying to reach out to someone who may not know you well or may be skeptical of your message.

Consider using these subject lines for your next email.

1. You could reach out to a recipient by mentioning the name of the mutual connection.

[Mutual Connection] suggested we connect.

2. Here is yet another way to mention your mutual connection.

[Mutual Connection] thinks we could be a dream team!

3. This email subject line suggests that since your mutual connection buys from us, you should too.

[Mutual Connection] buys from us too!

Conversational tactic

Using conversational language in your follow up email subject lines makes your messages more personal. It can help build rapport and establish a relationship with the recipient.

Check out these examples.

1. This email subject line by Samsung may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can tweak it as you see fit.

2. The below email asks for an “RSVP” which is good enough to strike up a conversation.

3. Here is an email that asks for feedback. A great conversation starter, indeed!

Appeal for help

By framing your email subject line as a request for help, you can establish a relationship with the recipient on the idea of mutual benefit. Your message will seem more personal and meaningful to the recipient, increasing the likelihood of a response.

Here are some good examples.

1. Here’s an email that asks for new product suggestions.

2. The email below asks for the recipient’s input for the annual survey.

3. Here is another subject line that requests feedback but also offers something in return.

Create a sense of a call to action

Using a CTA in your email subject line, such as "respond," "act now," or "take action," creates a sense of urgency. It also helps to clarify your message and provides a clear next step for the recipient to take, which increases the likelihood of them taking that action.

Check out these examples.

1. “Register Now” is a clear CTA used in the example below that indicates that recipients should register immediately or else they may miss the introduction session.

2. This email from eMarketer conveys that this is the reader’s last chance to get their hands on a free expert roundup related to boosting customer experience.

3. This Grammarly email nudges the recipient to upgrade their Grammarly subscription to Premium at a discounted price.

Wrap up

Follow up emails play a central role in helping you drive opens and conversions. But you need to get your subject lines right to ensure they hit the mark. Personalize them, provide value, don’t be very aggressive, and stay away from spam triggers to ensure your campaign is a success. Test your subject lines before sending them too.

Use the above tips and examples to come up with compelling follow up email subject lines that can drive your business growth.

Finally, choose an email marketing platform that helps you deliver your emails on time to your prospects’ and customers’ inboxes.



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