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6 Email Scripts to Crank Out the Perfect Follow Up Email to a Client

If you’re a freelancer, contractor, or small business owner, working with clients can be one of the most challenging parts of your job. This is especially true when those clients become mysteriously unresponsive. When this happens, you’ll need to be vigilant in sending a follow up email. And this is where some handy email scripts and templates come into play.

When written with a little thought and foresight, the right follow up email can produce quick results.

If you’re not sure how to do this, don’t worry! Seeing a few examples and understanding how (and why) they work is usually all you’ll need to start using this tactic effectively in your business.

In this post, we’re going to introduce six common situations involving unresponsive clients.

For each, we’ll provide a polite follow up email sample, and explain why it’s likely to produce results. We’ll then wrap it up by answering some commonly asked questions about writing follow up emails.

Follow up email examples and templates 📧

  1. Follow up after a proposal submission
  2. Reminder that you’re waiting on a response
  3. Solicitation for new work
  4. Touching base after a while of inactivity
  5. Request for an overdue payment
  6. The final email
👉 Why it pays to design a carefully-worded and polite follow up email

When it comes to creating email scripts, it’s well worth your time to design them carefully. A hastily-sent email can do more harm than good, so you’ll want to be strategic.

This involves a number of considerations. You’ll want to think about the action you’d like the recipient to take, and how you can gently (yet firmly) encourage them in that direction. In addition, it’s vital to pay attention to every single word you use. Tone and intent matter just as much here as content – especially when you’re dealing with an unresponsive or difficult client.

Writing solid email scripts that return results takes practice. However, to get you started, we’re going to present a number of examples you can use and learn from.

We’ve worked with a lot of challenging and hard-to-contact clients over the years, and what follows are email samples that we’ve found work best.

Six email scripts you can use to follow up with unresponsive clients 📝

Let’s now take a look at the six scripts themselves! By using (and perhaps slightly tweaking) these emails yourself, you can greatly increase your chance of making successful connections.

They’re in no order of importance or relevance, so you’re free to dip into whichever one takes your fancy first!

1. Follow up after a proposal submission

Few things are more frustrating then sending off a detailed proposal for a new project, and hearing nothing back. You’re ready and waiting to get started, and each day’s delay means one more day you’ll have to wait for payment once the project wraps up.

The good news is that a lack of response to a proposal rarely means the client is unhappy with it or unwilling to move forward. On the contrary, they’ll usually let you know of this straightaway. Instead, you’ll often find they’ve been too busy to give it much thought, or even to fully read your email.

In the words of Mercedes Cardona at OMH Communications:

Everybody gets far more email than they can read every day, and we’re all weeding out spam aggressively. Sometimes, a useful lead gets thrown out by mistake – it happens.

Even so, you’ll certainly want to follow up with this client. You need to stay at the forefront of their minds, and remind them to take time out of their schedule to give your proposal the attention it deserves. Usually, a gentle nudge is all it will take:

Hi [Client name],

I was wondering if you've had a chance yet to look over our most recent proposal. [Brief, one-sentence summary of the proposal itself].

We're eager to hear your thoughts, and to get started on this project! Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the specifics of the proposal (as outlined in my previous email).

This message opens with a polite acknowledgment of how busy the client is, and that you understand they may not have been able to give your proposal a thorough look yet. Then, it briefly reminds them of the proposal’s focus, so they don’t have to go back to the previous email in order to orient themselves.

The second paragraph is the crucial element here. It’s a good idea to let the client know you’re excited about the project (even if you’re also feeling frustrated). This enthusiasm can be the push they need. Plus, by soliciting questions, you’re telling them they don’t need to immediately approve or reject your proposal, but are free to voice any queries or concerns they may have about it first.

Of course, you’ll want to close the polite follow up email with your favorite sign-off phrase and your name. In addition, you should avoid terminology such as “there’s no rush” in this sort of message. While you want to remain polite and thoughtful, you also want to encourage the client to take action as soon as possible (your bank account is depending on it!).

2. Reminder that you’re waiting on a response

This may be the most common situation you find yourself in when dealing with unresponsive clients. You’re in the middle of some kind of project, and you can’t proceed further until the client answers a key question or provides a particular resource. Yet you’re met with radio silence.

Following up promptly in this situation is in the best interests of both you and your client. After all, both of you want the project to carry on smoothly and avoid wasting time. As with the previous scenario, it’s highly likely that the client did see your email, but forgot about it or has it marked to deal with later.

This follow up email template can be sent anywhere from a few days to a week after the prior communication, depending on the project’s urgency:

Hi [Client name],

I wanted to follow up, and see if you've had a chance to review my previous email. As I mentioned, [briefly restate the question or remind them of what you need].

Once we have your answer, we'll be able to proceed straightaway to the next stage of the project. Let me know if I can provide any further clarification on what we need!

The first paragraph is structured in a similar way to our last example, which is deliberate. Here too, it’s important to acknowledge how busy the client is, and to avoid any air of impatience or frustration.

Plus, reminding them briefly of your query lets them know exactly what you’re looking for. At the same time, you don’t want to get too detailed here, as the client can simply go back to the previous email to read over your full request.

The next sentence is designed to let the client know (politely) the importance of this particular message. In other words, they may not have realized the lack of response has led to a roadblock on your end.

Then, the offer to provide clarification wraps up this brief follow up email, while making it clear you’re ready and waiting to discuss anything unclear in your original message (thus delaying their response).

An alternative follow up email script you could use in the “no response” scenario:

Dear [Client Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I'm reaching out to follow up on the email I sent you on [Date of the Previous Email] regarding [Subject of the Previous Email]. I understand that you may have been busy or that my message may have slipped through the cracks.

I wanted to reiterate my interest in [Purpose or Opportunity Discussed in the Previous Email]. I believe that [Explain the Benefits or Value Proposition]. I am confident that my expertise in [Your Expertise or Relevant Skills] can be of great value to you and your business.

If you have any questions, need further information, or would like to discuss this in more detail, please let me know. I'm open to arranging a call at your convenience.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

In the first paragraph, you set the purpose and context of the follow-up email. You acknowledge the possibility of the client being busy or the initial email being overlooked, demonstrating empathy and understanding.

You continue in the second paragraph by reiterating your interest in the purpose or opportunity discussed in the previous email. Emphasize the benefits or value proposition associated with the opportunity and highlight your expertise and how it can benefit the client.

For the third paragraph, encourage the client to engage by inviting questions, seeking further information, and expressing openness to discussing the matter in more detail. Offering to arrange a call shows your willingness to accommodate the client’s preferred communication method.

Finally, use the closing sentence to express gratitude for the client’s time and convey anticipation for a response, ending the email on a positive note.

You should modify this follow up email to suit your specific situation and the nature of your relationship with the client. Personalizing the email and ensuring it is concise yet informative can significantly increase the chances of receiving a response.

3. Solicitation for new work

Staying in close communication with your clients is always important. However, it’s never more essential than right after a project wraps up. It’s all too easy for a client to forget about you and move on to the next thing at this point – which is the last thing you’ll want.

Therefore, if you’ve finished a project for a particular client and haven’t heard anything from them for a little while, you’ll want to send along a request for new work. The best approach to this email can vary a bit depending on the specific circumstances, but here’s an example of an effective message:

Hi [Client name],

As you know, we recently wrapped up [project name/description of project]. We hope you're happy with the results!

We're eager to move forward with the next project – here's all we'll require from you:

- [Brief list, in bullet point form, of necessary questions and/or requests for information or resources.]

Once we have this infraction, we can move forward to the next phase. Of course, please let me know if there are any questions I can answer as well.

This follow up email sample relies somewhat on the assumption that both you and your client are aware of your usual process, and have worked on multiple projects in the past. It may need a little personalization to reflect the type of projects you’re working on, but it provides a solid framework nonetheless.

The first paragraph serves two purposes (besides simply being an introduction to the email). It reminds the client of the recently-completed project, and of their (hopefully) positive reaction to its quality. Remembering what a good job you did previously should whet their appetite for more of the same.

Expressing your own eagerness to get started is always a good touch. However, the real star of the show here is the bullet point list of questions/requests. Listing out what you need from the client (instead of writing it all out in paragraph form) makes your requirements crystal-clear. It also increases the chances of getting a response to each specific inquiry.

Wrap it all up with a nudge forward and a request for any questions the client might have, and you have a simple but effective follow up email on your hands.

4. Touching base after a while of inactivity

The previous follow up email was about staying in touch with your client and trying to land consecutive projects one after the other. This email template is about reconnecting with a client after a longer period of time.

At this stage, we shouldn’t assume that the client remembers exactly who we are or what sort of projects we completed together in the past. While some familiarity is there, you first need to rekindle it, so to speak.

This email template can help with that:

Hi [Client name],

I made a note in my calendar to contact you right about now. Just to remind you, the last project we did together was [PROJECT]. 

I wanted to touch base and check if there are some opportunities to work together again. Has anything changed regarding your [BUSINESS GOAL]?

Considering what we did together in the past, I think we can follow in similar footsteps by working on [IDEA1, IDEA2, IDEA3]. 

If you'd like some more details of how this might work exactly, just let me know and I'll send a more in-depth proposal and break things down step by step.

This follow up email script achieves a couple of things:

  • It’s friendly in nature and reconnects with the person in a natural way – it doesn’t seem forced.
  • It reminds the client what you worked on in the past and also suggests that you did more than one project together (if that’s the case).
  • It suggests a couple of ready-made ideas for projects you could work on next.

That last point is particularly important. People are busy. If you can come to your clients and suggest exact ideas you could execute for them, it increases your chances of landing the deal. The fact that you already have an established relationship helps with that, since you no longer have to prove that you’re capable of delivering.

5. Request for an overdue payment

This one is a little tricky. Talking about money can be stressful, especially if you’re a creative who’d rather have nothing to do with the financial element of the business. This is even more pertinent when it comes to following up with a difficult client who’s overdue on their payment.

First and foremost, you’ll want to go into this communication as polite as possible. Don’t insinuate that the client is negligent, or start making threats. Instead, proceed with the assumption that the client has simply forgotten to pay. Even if there’s another reason for their delinquency, this approach can essentially guilt them into pulling out their wallet:

Hi [Client name],

I wanted to touch base, and remind you about the payment due on Thu, 18 Apr 2024 11:28:06 +0000. As of yet, we've not received your payment. Could you let us know when we can expect to receive it please?

It’s best to keep this type of follow up email short and sweet. You don’t want the key message to get overlooked. Plus, there’s no reason to throw in a bunch of qualifiers. Simply reminding them that payment is due – politely – often does the trick. However, you do want to give them all of the pertinent information, such as an invoice number, and the email it was sent to originally. The idea is to make payment as easy as possible.

You can essentially repeat this email as many times as you feel necessary. However, if you still don’t receive a response, you may eventually need to get more forceful. Here’s a follow up email you might send if they fail to respond to a few messages like the one above:

Hi [Client name],

We have still not received your payment for [project name/description]. We'll be expecting the full invoice amount – [amount of payment] – by [new due date], or we'll potentially have to refer this matter to a collection agency.

This is a firm and straightforward message, which is appropriate for a client who is both failing to pay and to respond. Giving them a reminder of the payment amount and a new due date may finally spur them into action.

If not, you might have to cut your losses with this particular client and consider this a learning experience. Of course, you can actually hire a collection agency to follow up for you – but the hassle and fees involved make this a less desirable option unless the bill owed is very large.

6. The final email

The previous follow up emails are designed to get a response whenever possible. However, sometimes a client simply goes quiet despite your best efforts.

If you’ve sent several messages to a client and they just aren’t responding (and they don’t owe you any money), it’s time to send one last follow up email. It might look something like this:

Hi [Client name],

It's been some time since we've heard from you. At this point, we have to assume your priorities have changed, or you're taking your business in a different direction.

Please feel free to reach out in the future if we can be of any further assistance!

This message accomplishes a few things. It’s polite and understanding for one, showing that you bear the client no ill will for their lack of response. Even if you don’t hear from them now, you’ll want to keep the relationship on as positive a note as possible.

What’s more, making it clear you’re moving on this way plays on the client’s fear of missing out (FOMO). They should recognize that if they want to continue benefiting from your services, they’ll need to act quickly.

Finally, you’ve made it clear you’re open to any future communications. It’s not uncommon to suddenly hear back from an old client months or years down the line, when priorities and personnel have changed. Wrapping your email up this way gives you the best possible shot of getting a response.

Follow up email FAQ 🙋

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how to craft the perfect follow up email to entice unresponsive clients to engage with you. However, we understand that you might still have some lingering questions or maybe you just skimmed through the article and wound up down here. Whatever the case might be, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) that address some common concerns people have about follow up emails:

How do you politely write a follow up email?

“When writing a polite follow-up email, it’s crucial to maintain a respectful and courteous tone. Start by addressing the recipient with a polite salutation, such as Dear [Recipient's Name], or Hello [Recipient's Name], followed by a brief expression of appreciation for their time.

Clearly state the purpose of your email, referencing your previous communication and any relevant details. Keep the email concise and focused, avoiding unnecessary information or excessive requests. Use polite language throughout, incorporating phrases such as I hope this email finds you well or Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Lastly, conclude the email with a friendly closing, such as Best regards or Thank you again for your assistance. Politeness and professionalism go hand in hand when writing a follow-up email, ensuring that your message is received positively.”

What to write in a follow up email?

When composing a follow up email, it’s important to strike a balance between professionalism and personalization. Start by referencing your previous communication and expressing appreciation for their time and consideration. Reiterate the purpose of your initial email and briefly summarize any key points. Consider offering additional value or information that might pique their interest.

Keep the email concise and easy to read, using clear language and a friendly tone.
Finally, include a call to action, such as suggesting a meeting, providing further details, or requesting a specific response. Remember, a well-crafted follow-up email demonstrates your continued interest and professionalism, increasing the likelihood of a response.

How do you say follow up in an email professionally?

When expressing the idea of “follow-up” in a professional email, it’s important to use language that is polite and clear. You can use phrases like Just checking in, Following up on our previous conversation, or Touching base regarding. These phrases convey your intention to continue the conversation or inquire about the status without coming across as overly pushy. Remember to maintain a respectful and professional tone throughout the email, ensuring that your message is perceived as courteous and considerate.

How long to wait before sending a follow up email?

The appropriate timing for sending a follow up email may vary depending on the context and urgency of the situation. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Give it some time: Allow a reasonable amount of time for the recipient to respond before sending a follow up email. This can vary depending on the nature of the email and the expected response time. Typically, waiting three to seven business days is a good starting point.

Consider urgency and importance: If the matter is time-sensitive or critical, you may want to follow up sooner. For urgent matters, waiting one to two business days might be appropriate. However, ensure that you’re not being overly persistent or disrupting the recipient’s workflow.

Follow any agreed-upon timelines: If you had previously agreed on a specific timeframe or deadline for a response, it’s appropriate to follow up shortly after that agreed-upon date has passed.

Use your judgment: Consider the context, the recipient’s usual response time, and any relevant factors specific to your situation. If the matter is not urgent, waiting a bit longer may be appropriate.

Be respectful and professional: Regardless of the timing, always maintain a respectful and professional tone in your follow up email. Avoid sounding pushy or demanding, and focus on expressing your continued interest and willingness to assist.

Remember that these guidelines are general suggestions. It’s essential to adapt them to your specific circumstances and the relationship you have with the recipient. Use your judgment and consider the importance and urgency of the matter when determining the appropriate timing for your follow up email.

Final thoughts on creating the perfect follow up email 💭

Unfortunately, there’s no way (yet!) to reach through your computer screen and make your client respond to a crucial message. However, sending a carefully-crafted follow up email can produce the results you’re looking for, while keeping your relationship on a positive note.

In this article, we’ve introduced you to six email scripts you can use to chase up unresponsive clients:

  1. Follow-up after a proposal submission.
  2. Reminder that you’re waiting on a response.
  3. Solicitation for new work.
  4. Touching base after a longer period of time.
  5. Request for an overdue payment.
  6. The final email.

You can also check our guide on how to choose the best email marketing automation tools.

Have you ever had success getting an unresponsive client to talk? Tell us what you did in the comments section below!

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BONUS VIDEO: How to create an email campaign on WordPress using MailPoet
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