How to Master Your Follow-Up to Boost Sales & Grow Clientele

Jeremy Haug
Jan 8, 2023
20 min read

Building your clientele is one of the first steps to starting your business. The early years of a company are filled with trial and error. It's a clean slate wherein entrepreneurs must try different strategies, tactics, and plans to begin growing their clientele. It's a time-consuming process that requires much effort.

Forbes reports that most businesses make little profit during their first year of operations. It takes around 18 to 24 months before they begin making an actual profit. With that, brands must take every chance to reach out and appeal to customers. This is where the science of the follow-up comes in.

This article will discuss the science of follow-up, how it works, how a business can benefit from it, and how to create a successful follow-up strategy to drive sales. Read on to learn more about effectively utilizing follow-ups for your business.

What Is Follow-up?

Follow-up is a standard marketing tactic businesses use to encourage leads or prospects to take action after receiving an offer or pitch. Follow-ups serve as a reminder of what companies offer for the client and that they are still waiting to hear back from them. As mentioned before, businesses must take every chance to make a profit. This includes reaching out to all possible leads or prospects to encourage them to purchase or at least take an interest in their brand.

Aside from being used to pursue more sales, follow-ups can also be used to keep in touch with customers. They're great for gathering feedback, sorting out issues, or building trust between the brand and its customer base.

A functional communication system is one of the best ways to build and foster a solid customer base. Businesses must habitually check on their customers and contact leads or prospects to secure additional sales for their brand. However, sometimes, leads, opportunities, or clients do not respond. There are many possible reasons why these leads or customers become unresponsive. It could be that they:

  • Are not interested in the product or service
  • They forgot to reply after opening the message
  • They feel overwhelmed by the number of messages and correspondences
  • And many more

Every lead, customer, and prospect is valuable to a business, especially if they are starting. When these clients become unresponsive, the ideal way to continue the interaction is by sending a follow-up.

How Many Follow-ups Are Required?

It is effortless for a customer to skip over an email, which is why many sales representatives find the follow-up process complex and overwhelming. A study by Brevet displays that 44% of sales representatives give up on pursuing a prospect after only a single follow-up call. In comparison, 94% of sales reps choose to give up after the fourth call. However, those who persist often end up with satisfying results. The same study states that 80% of sales require at least five follow-up calls to achieve a final purchase. This emphasizes the importance of being driven and persistent when following up on leads and prospects.

Why Do Businesses Need To Follow Up?

In most cases, ignoring an attempt to reach out often translates to a hard "no." People will often tell you to respect the person's decision. However, it's a different story when it comes to business. Unresponsive prospects or customers don't necessarily mean that they're rejecting your offer. There are several reasons why someone is not able to respond right away. It's a given that many customers or prospects are busy with their schedules. It's also possible that they've read the email and forgot to respond, or they're simply weighing up their options before entertaining your offer. Unless they explicitly state that they're not interested, it's worth seeing if they want to know more about the product or service.

The Benefits of Using a Follow-up Strategy

An effective follow-up strategy can benefit a business in many ways. Here are some of the best benefits businesses can enjoy once they learn how to utilize the science of follow-ups.

Helps You Stay Connected With Customers

One of the best ways to foster a relationship with your customer base is by finding a way to communicate with them. Most businesses contact their clients through social media, phone calls, text messages, emails, or other channels that allow continuous messaging. Follow-ups are great because they keep the conversation going. If it all ends the moment you stop receiving a response, you may lose a valuable sale. As mentioned before, every lead, prospect, and customer is a valuable part of a business. Follow-ups give companies additional opportunities to reach out and encourage their contacts to take action towards their services or products.

Customers Feel Important

Customers feel valued, seen, and heard when businesses consistently reach out to them. Follow-ups are essential because they let clients experience the extent and quality of a business's customer service. This mainly applies to companies that have already closed a deal with a client and want to check in on their experience. However, it could also apply to prospects and leads slowly becoming more interested in the products. Once customers feel they're being adequately served or cared for, they'll likely be encouraged to trust in your services (for prospects and leads) or consider making another purchase in the future (for existing customers).

Resolve Issues and Answer Queries Swiftly

This benefit is related to the previous one. Follow-ups allow customers to see that representatives from the brand are taking the initiative to reach out to them, which makes them feel valued. Some customers may not respond to attempts to contact them because they need clarification about the product or are experiencing issues with prior purchases. In this case, businesses should know right away. Sending a follow-up email or making a follow-up call makes it easier for sales representatives to address any current issues a customer may be experiencing. Suppose the prospects or leads have any questions. In that case, a follow-up email allows them to ask questions and satisfy their curiosity.

Encourages Repeat Customers

We want to emphasize the importance of repeat customers in business. We've already mentioned it in the previous sections of this blog. Still, customer retention makes up 65% of a company's business, so encouraging repeat customers is one of the best benefits a business can enjoy once it develops a successful follow-up strategy. Repeat customers are more likely to recommend your company to others and even purchase other products after the initial transaction because they have seen what the brand is capable of and its services. With that, checking in on previous customers is a great way to build brand loyalty among your clientele.

Be One Step Ahead of Competitors

In a competitive market, one of the best edges you can have over your competitors is your client's preferences and trust. Follow-up emails allow businesses to know more about their client and reach out to them consistently. Getting to know clients and learning their preferences and experiences through follow-ups provides more room for personalization. Compared to other brands that do not know much about their clients, businesses that get to know their clients through follow-up emails have a better chance of crafting strategies and tactics targeting specific leads or prospects to drive sales. With these personalized strategies in mind, prospects or leads will likely consider your brand over other competitors who choose a different approach.

Take Advantage of Sales Opportunities

As mentioned, follow-up correspondences aren't just for new sales; they're effective for encouraging brand loyalty and even introducing new products. When people stop responding to the first few attempts at contacting them, the effects may not be attractive enough for them to take action. In this case, one of the best solutions is introducing them to other options. Aside from checking if a lead is still interested, using follow-ups to divert customers' attention to other products they like can be very helpful. Even if they are not interested in the initial offer, businesses can still benefit from the second offer presented through the follow-up.

Connect With Old Leads

Old leads are just as crucial as prospects or previous customers. These people have shown interest in your brand but have yet to take action, even after receiving follow-ups. These people chose not to take action because the product would not benefit them. However, this may have changed after some time has passed. Suppose a prolonged time has passed since the last email or phone call. In that case, sending a follow-up email effectively reminds the lead about what the brand is and what it has to offer. With the right strategies and timing, businesses could gain sales from contacting and converting old leads.

Hear Your Customer's Feedback

Customer feedback is a vital part of improving their experience. Calling or sending a message to request feedback is a standard method that businesses use for follow-ups. Suppose the client needs to reach out independently or post feedback on social media. In that case, follow-up emails are the next best option. They allow brands to reach out first to ask for feedback or remind customers to leave a review. Once the customer responds, the business will gain helpful information about what they enjoyed, how they can improve the experience, and address any issues they may encounter with the product.

Enhances Brand Recognition and Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a term used for the instance wherein customers begin acknowledging and recognizing your brand, products, or services. By sending follow-up emails or making follow-up calls, prospects will eventually become accustomed to hearing from you. When prospects frequently see a brand's name in their inbox or hear from them through a call, it naturally leaves an impression on them. This may increase the chances of buying the business's products. Data by SproutSocial shows that 80% of customers are most likely to purchase products from companies due to brand awareness.

Challenges You May Encounter Once You Follow Up (And How To Fix Them)

Sending a follow-up doesn't automatically mean that you will achieve the outcome you're looking for. After all, sales representatives choose to follow up because they have yet to hear back from the lead or prospect. With that, businesses will likely encounter a few challenges before receiving their response. Here are some of the most common challenges companies will likely face. We'll also provide methods we usually use to overcome these situations.

Sending a Follow-up and Not Receiving a Response

As mentioned before, studies show that it takes at least five follow-ups before sales representatives begin to see results. However, you should assess where you could have gone wrong when they have not responded to your first follow-up. Try to read through the message that you sent. The prospect or lead may feel unsure how to respond or the message's intent. They may also be interested in taking action but need to know which step to take next. Before sending your messages, always ensure that the message is delivered clearly to avoid confusion.

Solution: Always close each message with a call-to-action or CTA. The CTA serves as a signal that invites them to proceed with the next step in a potential transaction. Make the next step clear by ending your follow-up with a phrase inviting them to respond. Lines like "We would love to hear from you." or "Please let us know if you have any questions." are all practical choices, as they close the message but keep the channel open for future communication. It also emphasizes the next step that the prospect should take. Elements like the opt-in button or instructions could also be good choices, as they are easy to spot and increase clarity.

Sending Dozens of Follow-ups Without Receiving a Response

Once you've established and improved the clarity of the message, then it's time to send the subsequent follow-up. If the intent has been clarified in the previous follow-up, you still need to receive a reply. It's likely due to another issue. Narrowing it down to just one possible cause is a long process that often requires a lot of trial and error. Suppose you need clarification on what is causing your prospects to remain unresponsive. In that case, it is best to reevaluate your approach and try new tactics.

Solution: Begin trying different methods to see if there's a difference. If you're reaching out through email, many email marketing tools are available on the online market that can assist businesses in determining whether your approach is practical. These tools have various features, including one that lets you see if prospects have opened your emails. If they are opening your emails but have yet to respond, it's time to take a different approach. Try to improve the subject lines and content of the follow-ups to make them more exciting or appealing. Continue trying other tactics and take note of everything that was changed during the process or what can be improved for future reference.

Client Seems To Have Lost Interest

If it gets to a point where the prospect stops opening messages altogether, then it may be time to stop sending follow-ups. Follow-ups will only be effective if prospects have at least a slight interest in hearing from you. Suppose they do not show any signs of interest or do not send a response after multiple follow-ups. In that case, closing the channel and moving forward to other prospects is best. It could be that the prospect or lead has found a better option, has no need for your services at the time, or is not interested in pursuing any transaction with your brand. When this happens, maximizing your time by moving on to more promising leads is better.

Solution: Before closing the door on communications, let the prospects know that you will be ending it at that point. Thank them for showing interest and reiterate your offers one more time. However, you must also emphasize that this is their last chance to respond or take advantage of any offers you might have included in your follow-ups. The thought of being unable to take advantage of a service, product, or special offer moving forward may cause a sense of urgency that could encourage the lead to contact you at the last minute.

Common Examples of Follow-ups

Follow-ups are used for more than just gathering new leads. As we've mentioned before, they can also be used to nurture existing customers to keep them loyal to your brand. Follow-up messages or calls can be used in many ways, but their main objective is to stay connected with a lead or customer and make them feel valued. Knowing what kind of approach to go for makes it easy to optimize a message to make it more appealing and helpful to the customer or lead while also showcasing your products and customer service skills.

Here are a few standard methods to utilize follow-ups for your business.

Asking for Feedback

Feedback and testimonials are vital elements in lead generation and sales-boosting strategies. According to a report by Bazaarvoice, the conversion rates for products with reviews are 3.5 times higher than those that do not have any. That is why many businesses use follow-ups to encourage their customers to leave reviews after purchasing a product. After a customer receives their product, wait a few days before sending a follow-up. First, thank them for trusting your brand and for making a purchase. After that, ask how they like the product and clearly state that you want to hear from them. Remember to add a link to your review section inside the message.

Keep sending follow-up messages for reviews with a few days' interval between each message. A common tactic to encourage them to leave reviews is offering a small incentive, such as a discount or loyalty points they can use for their next purchase.

Checking in for Updates

Checking in on your leads and customers through a follow-up can be caused by various instances. In some cases, it's the customers who reach out first. They could have encountered an issue with their product or have some questions. Sometimes, leads or customers may stop replying because they have resolved the problem on their own before receiving a reply from the business. Other times, the brand reaches out to a lead with an offer or a request.

In this type of situation, it's always best to approach the lead or customer with a polite and friendly tone. Never make it seem like you are in a rush for a response. Always start the message with a polite greeting. Ask them how they are and wish them well before leading up to the topic you want to follow up on.

Asking for Additional Questions or Concerns

This type of follow-up is often used to conclude customer issues or concerns. It's similar to checking in on a customer. Still, the main difference is that this type of follow-up often comes after the problem has been resolved. For example, a customer experiences issues with their purchase and sends in a ticket.

Customers and sales representatives usually communicate to solve the issue. Still, many customers have not replied after their concerns have been addressed. This is where the sales or customer service representatives should reach out to ask if they have any additional questions or concerns before concluding the ticket. It ends the communication but also considers the customer's side if they are too busy to respond or check their messages.

Sending a Thank You Note

A thank you note is another great way to show appreciation to a customer after they purchase. Like asking for feedback, always start the message by thanking them for their purchase. The critical difference between asking for feedback and sending a thank you note is that the main focus of a thank you note is expressing your appreciation. Emphasize how much their support means to your business. This will make customers feel valued and important, which is always good.

End the message by telling them that you are looking forward to serving them again in the future. You can also use this to mention related products or services they may be interested in.

What To Consider When Following Up on Leads and Customers

Now that the possible challenges of using follow-ups have been addressed, we will discuss the steps required to create a successful follow-up strategy. This brief guide includes a compilation of tips and things businesses must consider as they begin using follow-ups to generate more leads and boost their sales.

Consider Your Platforms

Every business will use at least two platforms to contact their customers or leads. The most popular options include email, SMS or phone call, and social media. All three can be effective channels for communication between businesses and prospects. However, the overall efficacy may depend on how well it aligns with the business's products or if the chosen platform can fulfill the brand's customer service and communication needs. Here are a few things that must be considered in selecting a platform to conduct follow-ups.


Email is one of the most used methods to contact customers, leads, and prospects. One of the best benefits of contacting prospects through email is that their email address can easily be obtained. In most cases, prospects or leads willingly give their email information as they opt-in to receive free resources, sign up for the brand's community, or other similar situations. The main downside to using email as a channel to follow up on customers and prospects is that it takes more work to get a response. This could be due to many reasons, including the prospect needing to check their email.

Phone Calls and Text Messages

Text messages are similar to email because it may be easier for prospects to respond if the message is exciting or persuasive enough to capture their attention. However, phone calls are much easier to conduct. They provide an immediate way for businesses to talk to their customers in real time. If not, they can also leave a voicemail. Overall, text messages and phone calls are a much more personal way of sending follow-ups. Since they are also more accessible than email, contacting the prospect, addressing any issues, or answering their questions is a swifter process.

Social Media

Social media can be a good channel for engagement between customers, leads, and businesses. They can communicate through public posts or have extensive conversations through private messages. Many social media platforms also have additional features that could add value to the follow-up messages. For example, a sales representative could attach a survey or a poll in a follow-up to ask for a previous customer's feedback. They can also take a more relatable approach to catch their interest, such as sending relevant pictures, links, or even fun GIFs to encourage responses.

Plan a Cohesive Email Sequence

An email sequence is a series of strategically organized emails to drive more conversions or sales. Follow-up messages will only make sense if they are connected. Leads or customers may need to remember what the business is following up on if it isn't directly mentioned in the content of the message.

All messages in an email sequence should be a direct follow-up to the message before them. For example, if you sent an email two days ago, you must mention that in your subsequent follow-up. A similar situation would be if you sent them a limited-time offer. Please mention the offer in the subsequent follow-up and give them an even better offer or remind them of the deadline. Ensuring that the content of the emails is linked maintains the clarity of the sequence and highlights the main topic effectively.

Capture Their Interest With Valuable Content

Follow-ups drive more conversions, so businesses must use creativity to develop exciting ways to capture their audience's attention. Start by creating a meaningful or intriguing subject line, as this is the first thing the leads will see. This is the best time to highlight your products or services so that they bring value to the lead. You could incorporate storytelling elements, such as briefly mentioning how your products helped your previous customers. Another practical approach would be to reach out with a limited-time offer, such as a promo for new customers or a sale. Either way, all follow-ups should highlight your products as a solution to the lead's challenges.

Respond as Soon as Possible

Don't keep your leads waiting. Getting a reply to one of your follow-ups is already a difficult task. Once the lead replies or takes action, send an answer as soon as possible. If you take too long to respond, the lead or customer may feel your customer service could be improved and needs to be improved. This could discourage them from working with you or purchasing your products.

Always Be Respectful and Approachable

Respect the customer or lead's time. While it's true that follow-ups benefit businesses because they encourage more sales and conversions, they should also focus on maintaining the quality of the customer's experience. Ensure that all messages are evenly spaced out, with at least 48 hours between each message, so they do not feel overwhelmed or annoyed. Sales representatives can take on different tones or voices in their follow-ups, depending on the nature of the business. However, all messages should be written respectfully and friendly so that customers and leads feel as if they are being adequately entertained.

Avoid Rambling

Follow-ups should be as long as needed and as short as possible. Focus on delivering the main message and avoid rambling about unrelated topics. The ideal length for a follow-up message would be around one paragraph, so it's easy to read, even on a tight schedule. In addition, keep the language simple and direct. This makes the message more understandable and comprehensive.

The Best Platforms for Follow-ups and CRM

Follow-ups can be manually done by sales representatives from your team. However, suppose you want to expand your business or generate more leads. In that case, automating and managing follow-ups through an application or software is a more convenient and efficient option. Here are our top picks for follow-up and CRM platforms.


Hubspot is one of today's most trusted and popular email marketing and CRM tools. One of the best aspects of the platform is its user-friendly and seamless use. It's easier to craft follow-up messages as a subscription to the platform already comes with different templates that you can use. Aside from templates, Hubspot also provides many options for personalization so that the success of a campaign or sequence can be measured with just a few clicks on the site.


ActiveCampaign is another popular option among growing businesses. One of the best features of ActiveCampaign is its split testing feature that allows you to test out the efficacy of different campaigns and sequences. It will enable you to test whether the subject lines and messages of the follow-ups are exciting and efficient. This way, you can guarantee that all follow-ups and messages you send to leads and customers are high-quality and have a higher chance of delivering your desired results.


Freshworks is a great CRM and email marketing software if you wish to focus on personalization. The platform allows businesses to obtain an extensive view of the individual leads on their contact list, automatically encoding their data to save time and effort. Freshworks is also great for integrating attractive and personalized campaigns to drive more conversions, as the platform's features assist in managing contacts, optimizing the settings for customized email campaigns, and much more.


Moosend has some of the most advanced and convenient features for email personalization. Sales representatives can easily personalize the emails through the platform, as Moosend can adjust the content of the message to align with the customer or lead's name, location, or other types of information encoded in the platform. Moosend can also provide metrics about contacts to determine which leads are more active and worth targeting.

Campaign Monitor

Follow-up emails should be equally appealing and cohesive. Campaign Monitor focuses on the aesthetic aspect of follow-ups, making the messages look inviting and pleasing to the eye. The platform offers a user-friendly drag-and-drop feature where users can customize their email templates. This allows businesses to tweak and personalize their emails to align with their brand colors or ideals. Aside from its creative designs, Campaign Monitor offers various email templates and access to consultants who can guide you in creating effective strategies.

Mailer Lite

Suppose you're just starting and want to test the waters before investing. In that case, Mailer Lite is one of the most affordable options on the market today. Mailer Lite is the best option for businesses that only have 1,000 subscribers. It contains all the basics of an email marketing platform, such as a user-friendly email builder, many user management tools, and even a split-testing tool to measure the success of your campaigns. Overall, it's one of the best options for small businesses as it offers all the necessary features for an affordable price.


Autopilot is focused on streamlining the follow-up and lead-generation process while optimizing the email sequence for the best possible results. It's one of the best tools for collaboration, as the entire team can add their comments, suggestions, and even emoji reactions to the automation sequence during the planning process. Autopilot offers split testing, customer journey mapping, lead scoring, and more. The only setback to this would be that it needs CRM software like other platforms. Other than that, it is a solid option for email marketing.

Utilize Follow-ups in Your Next Sequence

Follow-ups are essential to every cohesive lead generation and conversion strategy. As the market becomes more saturated, businesses must optimize their processes in every way they can to ensure that they have a steady flow of sales, conversions, and leads coming in. Knowing which methods to practice, which factors to consider, and which tools to utilize can help businesses in maximizing the potential of their follow-up messages and overall email sequences. Drive more conversions by practicing the methods from this blog in your next strategy.

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Jeremy Haug
CEO & Founder

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