Keep it short
According to a study by Marketo, a 7-word subject line (or roughly 41 characters) generates the highest overall engagement.
Keeping your follow up email subject line short will force you to be creative and concise, which is what resonates the most with people.
Plus, since 42% of emails are opened on mobile, the shorter the subject line, the less likely it’ll be truncated.
Optimize the preview text
The email preview text (AKA the email opening line) is almost as important as the subject line itself because it will appear in the recipient's inbox.
Don't waste that precious real estate.
Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Keep it between 35-40 characters
- Use keywords at the beginning of the text
- Make sure it relates to the subject line without repeating it
- Outline the purpose of your email
Use a conversational tone
Using a natural and conversational tone conveys sincerity and easygoingness (is that a word?).
If your subject line is too formal or cold, it might turn people off.
Think of it like sending an email to a distant friend (NOT the bffs in your WhatsApp group). The tone you would use with that friend should be similar to the one you use in your follow up email subject line.
Make it personal
When sending a follow-up email, do your best to personalize the subject line.
This doesn't mean using the recipient's name and calling it a day (which is an outdated tactic, so please don't).
To truly personalize it, try mentioning a relevant piece of content they’ve published, or a shared experience, or relevant news about their industry.
A little personal touch goes a long way.
Relate to the body of the email
Whatever you do, do not write a subject line that has nothing to do with the contents of your email. Your follow up subject line should communicate exactly what your email is about.
The last thing you want to do is to get your recipient to open the email and discover that they’ve been tricked or misled. Context is everything.
Be creative and evoke curiosity
Being creative and evoking curiosity do NOT = clickbait.
You can build a sense of curiosity by offering a teaser in your subject line. A valuable piece of information, for example, but not one that gives away all the good stuff (cause then what would be the point of opening your email?)
Don't sound desperate
No one wants to do business with someone who sounds desperate. When you’re following up with a prospect, it’s probably because they haven’t replied to your previous email(s), and/or you want to pick up momentum after the last interaction.
A follow up subject line like “Please reply” or “Sorry for bothering you again” or “If it’s not too much trouble” probably won’t work, though, so best to avoid those. (You’ll see what does work later).
Don't write "follow up" in the subject line
You know your email is a follow up.
They know your email is a follow up.
Writing “Quick follow up” in your subject line is unnecessary (and kind of annoying).