The subject line of your follow-up email is one of the most important but, unfortunately, often neglected parts of your email. No matter how articulate and compelling the body of your email is, if the subject line fails to attract the reader, there is a good chance it won’t get read at all!
A well-crafted, personal, and specific subject line conveys a sense of urgency, creates curiosity in the reader’s mind, and has a significantly higher chance of enticing them to open your follow-up email.
Whether you are following up with your clients after an inquiry or communicating with potential leads, a great subject line can help humanize your email campaigns and make them sound less spammy.
In this article, we will discuss why subject lines are essential and what factors you should consider while drafting. We will also look at real-world examples of follow-up email subject lines that will compel the recipients to open your email.
5 Critical factors in crafting a follow-up email subject line that actually gets a response
The subject line of your follow-up email is as important, if not more, than the content of the email itself. An ideal subject line should pique the recipient’s interest and incentivize them to open it by assuring that it is a personalized communique rather than a generic mass email.
Drafting such a subject line requires paying attention to several factors, from the words you choose to the word count. Here are the top five key factors you should pay close attention to while drafting a new subject line for your follow-up email.
Write highly personalized subject lines
Personalizing your follow-up email subject line can profoundly impact how the recipient perceives your email. Including subtle indicators like the recipient’s name can convey that the email is written explicitly for them. It makes the recipient feel more connected with your brand and increases the chance of them opening the email.
There is ample data that backs this notion, too. For instance, a study by Adestra found that a personalized follow-up email that addressed the recipient by their name had a 22.2% higher chance of being read.
You can even use a shared connection in the subject line to give it a more personalized touch. It is also a great idea to reference the exact date you had a conversation or correspondence with the reader in the subject line.
A highly personalized subject line conveys that you are attentive to detail and willing to go the extra mile for the client.
Make it short
Another factor you should consider while drafting a subject line for a follow-up email is the word count. According to a study by HubSpot, good subject lines with about 30 characters or less had a significantly higher opening rate (41%) than those with 90 or more characters (16%).
You might be wondering why the length of your follow-up email subject line should matter at all. Well, it does because not everyone will read your email on a computer.
With most people reading their mail on their smartphones, you have limited screen real estate at your disposal. Ideally, you should draft your follow-up email subject line with six to ten words.
That way, you can be sure your recipient can read the entire subject line before deciding whether to open the email.
Keep your recipient interested to read through the email
Many people make the mistake of writing subject lines that give away too much of the content. You want to draft the subject line to create a sense of intrigue so that the recipient wants to learn more about the email’s contents.
You don’t want to write a subject line so short on information that it appears spammy or salesy, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be overly detailed that they have no motivation to go on.
Writing concise and intriguing subject lines might require creative thinking and practice, but doing so will surely help you reach more eyeballs.
Another way to keep your recipient interested is by using words in the subject line that convey a sense of urgency or excitement. For example, an email with a subject line containing terms like “limited offer,” ‘breaking news,” or “last chance” have a higher chance of being opened.
Overusing these words or a misleading subject line is a one-way ticket to losing credibility. So, make sure to use these words sparingly, and don’t let your subject line sound overtly pushy or salesy.
Be conversational and natural
A subject line that sounds formulaic or pushy will drive your follow-up email straight to the spam folder. A friendly, casual tone in your subject line conveys that you are genuine and targeting the email to the specific recipient.
Maintaining a casual conversational tone in 5-10 words can be challenging but achievable. So, try a few lines and see whether you can hit the tonality before finalizing a subject line.
If your follow-up email is casual, you can even try incorporating appropriate emojis in the subject line.
According to a study by Campaign Monitor, emails with emojis had a 12% higher chance of being read than those that didn’t. If you can incorporate a bit of casual humor in your subject line, try using emojis. They might just brighten up your recipient’s day!
Don’t veer off-topic
A good subject line for a follow-up email stays on point and does not veer far from the topic being discussed in the email body. Yes, your subject line must be catchy, but it should also complement the content of the message.
For instance, if you draft a subject line for a follow-up email after a meeting, reference the meeting directly in it rather than skirting around the topic.
Being direct makes you look more organized, and the recipient immediately establishes a connection with your email, increasing the chances of them opening it.
30 Follow-up email subject line examples
So you know what factors to consider before you draft your next follow-up email subject line, but won’t it be nice to see a few specific, real-world examples? Well, that’s precisely what we plan to provide you in this section.
Let’s see some of the most compelling subject lines with a proven track record, shall we?
Interview follow-up email subject line
Imagine that you had an interview for a position, and you think you did pretty well, but a couple of days go by, and there is radio silence from the other side.
Naturally, you want to reach out to gauge the situation and think of drafting an email. While the body of the email is vital, it is the subject line that often dictates the fate of your email.
So, what subject line would you choose?
Well, before we see a few real-world examples, let’s clarify one thing. If you are replying to someone who has already emailed you, keep the exact same subject line of the original email, prefixed with “RE:. ”
It is the best way to grab the recipient’s attention and increases the chance of the email being read. So, if replying to an email, you don’t need to think of inventing a new subject line after all!
Here are a few subject lines with a higher impact depending on a specific scenario.
Subject line for follow-up email after no response
Suppose you haven’t heard back from the HR manager for 3-4 days after the interview, and the anticipation is killing you. You want to reach out and see if you can entice a response from them. Here are a few subject lines for follow-up emails after no response that might work:
- “Checking up on my job application for [job title] position.”
- “Following up on our conversation about [a specific project or an issue discussed during your interview]
- “Any update regarding the [job title] position?
The one crucial thing these subject lines do the best is grab your reader’s attention to the question you want answered immediately. As these lines are concise and direct, you entice the reader to open your email and read through your query.
That said, you can tweak the subject lines to suit your personality and tone.
Effective subject line for follow-up email after meeting
Here is another scenario. You met with someone regarding your interest in a specific position in their organization and want to express gratitude for the meeting.
At the same time, you also want to drive the conversation forward. What subject for a follow-up email after a meeting should you choose?
Here are a few ideas that might inspire you:
- “Pleasure meeting/chatting with you, [Name of the reader]”
- “Thank you for your time.”
- “[Name of the reader], forgot to mention this in our meeting…
All these examples do two things perfectly- they remind the reader about your meeting and carry the conversation forward.
If your meeting went well, reading these subject lines might entice the recipient to open the email and read what you have to say, and if you have written a good email, should get a response!
These subject lines convey a sense of familiarity, establishing a personal touch, which is always a win for any communication.
Now, if you decide to use any of these subject lines, or their variations, to follow up with someone after a meeting, keep a few things in mind. First of all, if you say that you forgot to mention something in your meeting, address that “thing” in the opening paragraph of your email.
Don’t lead the reader to believe you have some vital information to deliver and then neglect to mention it in the email.
Also, when you use these subject lines, be sure you have something of substance to discuss in the follow-up email.
Career fair follow-up email subject line
If you attend a career fair and meet with many people regarding positions in their organizations, some of which were so interesting, you decide to write a follow-up email. What subject line would you use?
Here are some great career fair follow-up email subject line examples:
- “[Title] position inquiry after meeting at [Career Fair Name]”
- “Following up after [Career Fair Name]”
Both these subject lines do a great job of cutting right to the point without skirting around the main subject. When you have these subject lines in your follow-up email, the reader knows what you are referring to, and you have an increased chance of them opening and reading through your email.
Webinar follow-up email Subject line
If you are following up after a webinar, here are a few lines that might be great for your subject line:
- “Following up on Job Opportunity Discussed in [Webinar Name]”
The line embodies all the features of a classic subject line. It is short, concise, to the point, and direct. When you get right to the point, there is a greater chance that you will get a response.
Remember, there might be several hundred attendees responding after the webinar, and you want your email to stand out. Being direct and taking a no-nonsense approach is perhaps the best way to do it.
Second follow-up email after interview subject line
So, you had your first follow-up after the interview, where you expressed your gratitude and exchanged some pleasantries. A few days go by and you want to follow up again to see how the hiring process has progressed.
In this case, you can write a second follow-up email, but you should be careful while choosing the subject line.
The last thing you want is to sound pushy and desperate. While you obviously care about the outcome of the interview process, you must find a way of communicating it subtly in your follow-up email.
Here are a few examples of great subject lines you can try:
- “Checking in on the application status for [Title] position.”
This classic subject meets all the requirements we established earlier in this post. It is concise, short, to the point, and direct.
When a reader sees this as a subject, they immediately have enough information about your query to open the email. If they have some information they would like to share, you might also get an immediate response.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and add some personality to your subject line, here is a good one you can try:
- “Excited to learn more about the next steps.”
While this particular subject does not mention the interview details, it has a very positive vibe. Assuming you have already followed up once, there is little need to add more context to the subject line, and you might get away without referencing your interview or the subject of your last conversation.
Let’s look at a few more scenarios that target professionals in different industries depending on specific situations.
Casual follow-up email subject line examples
Imagine this scenario: you had a great conversation with a potential client or someone you wish to stay in touch with.
A few days pass, and you want to reach out to them; what can be the best subject to compel them to open your email?
Here is a great casual subject that you can try if you want to keep the conversation informal and casual:
- “Hey [Reader’s Name], remember me?”
- “Hey [Reader’s name], wanted to see how you’re doing!”
Both these subject lines do a great job of adding a personal touch and keeping the message straightforward. You also create intrigue with these subject lines and make your reader jog their memory.
Both are great traits of a compelling subject line that help you improve the chance of your email being read by the concerned recipient.
While we are all for keeping things casual, don’t overdo it. Refrain from using the subject mentioned above if you are communicating in a formal setting.
Friendly reminder follow-up subject line
Let’s say you want to remind someone about a specific event or a great offer you are running on your product or services, and you want to draw attention to the information through your email. To do it, you need a strong subject that will make your readers open the email and read through the contents.
Here are a few examples that work great in reminding your reader about specific tasks, events, or offers:
- “Quick reminder about [specific event]”
- “A gentle nudge about [specific task]”
All these email subject lines work because they create an element of curiosity in the reader’s mind. Let’s take a real-world example from the healthcare industry.
Imagine a dentist’s office wanting to remind clients to schedule their follow-up dental appointment after a procedure, and they decide to reach out using email.
A slight variation of the email subject mentioned above is “Remember to schedule your RCT post-op appointment by [Date].”
This subject line works as it tells the patient what they need to do and by what date. When you have the “what” and “when” right in the subject, there is an increased likelihood that your email will be opened and read.
Subject lines that mention a mutual acquaintance
If you have a common acquaintance with the recipient of your email, mentioning them in the subject is a brilliant idea. It immediately creates a sense of familiarity in the reader’s mind, making them much more likely to open your email.
Some of the best ways you can bring this up in your follow-up email subject line are:
- “[Name of the mutual connection] suggested I should reach out!”
- “Just had a conversation with [Name of the mutual connection], thought I’d reach out!”
These short email subject line examples help establish an instant connection with the reader. When you read the name of a person you already know in the email subject line, you are more likely to see what the multiple follow-ups are about.
Adding the name of your mutual contact also makes the email sound more personalized and gives your email a chance of getting priority over other emails in the recipient’s inbox.
Don’t worry about name-dropping in the subject line of your follow-up email if you are doing it just for the clout. Using their names in your follow-up emails is fine if you have a mutual acquaintance.
Just remember not to mislead the recipient by making up a story; stick to the facts about the conversation in the email, and you will most certainly get a response.
Name-dropping in the email subject lines can work in many scenarios, from sales to customer care.
Call-to-action invoking follow-up subject lines
One of the best ways to keep a conversation you had with someone going is drafting an email with an email subject indicating a subtle call to action in the follow-ups.
Nudging the recipient to take the following steps after the initial conversation is a great way to keep the conversation going and is especially great for converting potential leads to customers.
Some of the great call-to-action subject lines that we have seen our clients have tremendous success with include the following:
- “Can we schedule a meeting to discuss [the topic] further?”
- “Let’s move forward with [specific action].”
In the email subject examples above, the subject lines clearly define the next steps the recipient should take. Using the word “can” in the first example above introduces a sense of urgency in the reader’s mind about scheduling a meeting, and reading this line, they may go ahead and do it right away.
You can also use words like “Don’t miss out on” in such scenarios to create a sense of FOMO in your reader’s mind. If your readers feel that if they don’t take immediate action, they will miss out on a fantastic opportunity, and they are much more likely to read through your email.
Many small e-commerce businesses use this strategy in their follow-ups to promote discounts and seasonal sales to subscribers.
Subject lines for follow-up emails providing important information
When you want to convey important information to your clients or customers, you want to entice them to open your email immediately, and a good follow-up subject line can help you achieve just that.
Let’s take a real-world example of this scenario. Suppose an insurance agent wants to ensure their clients understand the service updates on their policies and decides to send out an email.
The information might be crucial for the client, and they must take note of the email and read it. But how do you make your clients open the email follow-ups right away? With great email subject lines, of course!
Here are a few subject lines that will compel your recipient to open an email that has some vital information:
- “Important Information Regarding [Topic or service]”
- “Reminder: [important deadline or meeting].”
- “Update on [topic, service or project]”
All three examples above get right to the point and let the reader know that the email has something significant that they must read. Including variations of words like “urgent” and “important” can increase the chance of the email being read.
That said, avoid overusing these words as clickbait in the follow-ups at any cost. If your email does not have important updates or crucial information, it is better to avoid these words as they will create trust issues with your subsequent communications with the same recipient.
Get the younger generation to open your follow-up emails
Did you know that as many as 75% of millennials don’t like to take phone calls and prefer a written form of communication? You can leverage this statistic to your advantage when drafting a follow-up email subject that targets millennials.
Take a look at these follow-up subject lines, for instance:
- “Hey [name of the reader], just left you a voicemail.”
- “Hey [name of the reader], can you check your voicemail?”
When a millennial is given a choice of learning a piece of information from an email or a phone call, which one do you think they will choose? Right you are! They will most likely decide to open the email and read it.
When your follow-ups imply that the alternative to reading this email is talking to someone on the phone, most millennials will be far more likely to open the email and get the information from there.
While this approach might be a bit sneaky and underhanded, ensuring that you really have important information in your email can make up for it.
Another way to get millennials and the younger generation to open your follow-up emails is by using specific phrases that invoke the recipient’s curiosity or the fear of missing out. For instance, check the following subject lines that specifically target the younger generation and note how they invoke the sense of FOMO.
- “Unlock the Secret to [Desirable Outcome]”
- “Get Exclusive Access to [Content or Resource]”
- “Don’t Miss Out on [Opportunity]”
- “The [Product/Service] You’ve Been Waiting For!”
Compliments in the follow-up subject line of a follow-up emails
Everyone loves compliments, don’t they? If you compliment your recipient in the subject, you have already increased your chances of your follow-up email being opened.
Take a look at some of the follow-up subject lines that are highly complimentary of the reader:
- “Thank You for Being a [Great Client/Partner/Colleague]!”
- “You’re a [Valued/Integral/Indispensable] Part of Our Team”
These subject lines make the reader feel valuable and increase their likelihood of opening and reading the email.
However, remember there is a fine line between a compliment and flattery, and you don’t want to cross it in your follow-ups. Stay true to what the recipient means to you or your organization or business, and choose your words accordingly.
Use the subject line to your advantage
Getting your follow-up email read is a huge challenge when inboxes are bombarded with hundreds of emails daily. The subject is the only saving grace for your email in such a situation. If a follow-up subject line grabs your recipient’s attention, they will consider reading your follow-ups. Otherwise, the spam folder is just a click away!
You can leverage the subject to entice your reader to open the follow-ups. But to do it, you need it to be casual, concise, personal, and short. A long and generic follow-up subject is often perceived by the readers as spammy, reducing the chance of the email being ever read.
Read more about follow-up emails
How to Write Follow-Up Emails (w/Templates for Common Scenarios)
30 Follow-up Email Templates That Work and 30 Bad Examples
20 Sales Follow-up Email Templates to Unlock Higher Response Rates (2023)
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