Sales follow-up emails: After a customer order exercise

With so many places to buy things on the web today, just because somebody has bought something from you in the past, won't necessarily mean that they'll buy from you again in the future.

In order to make sure that they remember your business/company and hopefully buy things from you again, you need to keep in contact with them. Although there are many ways to do this (e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc...), the most effective one is by using email.

Creating a relationship

But just sending your customers information by email about your products and trying to get a sale isn't keeping in contact, it's basically spam and very unlikely to lead to a sale. Effective follow-up emails to customers is about building a kind of relationship with them. A relationship which is mutually beneficial for both you and them.

This is done by both doing and providing things in the follow-up emails you send which are of use to them. By doing this, you not only build up their trust they have in you and the company you work for, but they'll be more likely to open and read any email you send them. Making them more likely to buy from your company in the future.

The best time to start this process of relationship building is soon after they have bought something from you. The reason why is that you have a valid reason why you are sending them an email and they'll be very likely to both open it and read it.

In this online exercise you'll learn (through seeing an example and doing a quiz) what makes a good sales follow-up email sent to a customer after they have bought something and why. In addition, you'll find useful English phrases that you can use in your own follow-up email.

Knowing and understanding all of this is essential for you to be able to write a good one for yourself.

To learn how to write (with examples) a good sales follow-up before somebody has bought something from you, do our online exercise on 'sales follow-up email examples'.

Example & Exercise:

Read the following email sent by a company to a customer a few days after they bought a mountain bike from them. Look at both the vocabulary and structure used in the email and think about why the email has been written like this and why it includes what it does.

Then do the quiz at the end of exercise to make sure you understand why this follow-up email has been both written and structured.



subject: Order Number 674321

Hi Sally Jenkins,

You recently purchased a Trek Rock Mountain Bike from ourselves. I would just like to make sure that you received the mountain bike in good condition and that you are happy with it.

If for any reason you are not happy with your purchase, please get in contact with me at or 0125 435 616.

To help you service your bike yourself, please find attached below a 'service guide' which we have created for our customers.

To receive more tips (e.g. on repairs, local routes etc...) and information (e.g. our cycling days out etc...), please join our monthly email newsletter. To join, click on the link below:

We really appreciate that you chose us for your purchase.


Gordon Banks
Customer Services
Bikes Direct plc
(0125) 435 616

How to write a sales follow-up email to potential customers How to write any good sales follow-up email article


Below are 8 questions about the above sales follow-up email. Choose the correct answer from each question's selection box. Click on the "Check answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, this icon will appear next to the answer. Click on it to find extra information about the answer.


Why does the the subject of the email have 'Order Number 674321' in it?


To make them open and read the email:
The subject of an email is an important factor in deciding whether a person will open the email or not. It has to relevant, not only to the information which is contained in the email, but also to the person receiving it.

The reason why I would recommend that you write the order number in the subject of this first follow-up email you send after a customer has bought something from you, is that it will encourage them to open it. They will automatically know that it is connected to the thing they have just bought (so it's relevant to them) and be inquisitive to find out what it's about.

Once they have opened the email, you need to make sure that'll continue reading it.



Why is the email sent from an individual's email account in the company?


It's better for building a relationship:
The purpose of the initial follow-up emails you send to customers is to build up trust between your company and them. This is the foundation of any type of relationship. This is easier to do if the emails they receive don't just come from a department (e.g. customer services) or the company's (e.g. Samsung) email account, but from an actual person.

People respond better when they communicate or deal directly with another person. So any follow-up emails which are sent should always come from a person's email account at the company. Once you start emailing a customer, it is preferable that all email communication to them comes from the same person's email account.

In addition, provide a way that they can directly contact the person by phone. This further increases the trust they have.



What is the main reason why the email is asking the customer if their bike is ok?


It's a valid reason for sending them an email:
Most follow-up emails that you send to a customer should have a valid reason for why you are sending it. When I say 'valid reason', I mean a reason which is valid in the eyes of the person receiving it.

An excellent valid reason for sending the first follow-up email after a customer has bought something from you, is to ask them if they are happy or have any issues with the product they just bought.

By doing this, it gives the impression that you care about your customers. This is something that most of them will appreciate. And this is an important factor in achieving what you want the email to do, to build up trust and create a relationship.



Why are they giving them a free guide in the email?


It will make them more likely to open their emails in the future:
At heart, most people are quite selfish. They will only do things if there is some benefit to them of doing them. And that is the reason why most customers will open and read any emails that you send them, they expect to receive something which benefits them. So make sure that you have things that you can send to your customers after they have bought the product from you.

In follow-up emails you need to give your customers something which is useful to them. This can be anything (a guide, an invitation to something, a free gift etc...). By doing this, it will not only make them more likely to sign up to an email newsletter you send (where you promote your products more), but make them trust you more. Both of which will lead to more sales from your company in the future.



Why does the company want the person to join an email newsletter from them?


To both promote their products and give useful information:
Email newsletters are both one of the easiest ways to keep in contact with existing and potential customers and most effective ways of generating sales you can use.

A successful email newsletter combines both giving people who have signed up useful information and promoting a company's products.

Although getting the customer to join/sign up to email newsletter isn't the main purpose of this first follow-up email you send, I would include it anyway. But don't try to push people to join it.

In subsequent emails you send to them, it becomes one of the main purposes of why you are sending the emails to them (so you focus the email more on getting them to sign up).



What style of vocabulary should you use in a follow-up email?


Between the two:
The choice of writing style and vocabulary you use in follow-up emails is quite important. You are using these emails to build up a relationship with the customers, so you shouldn't use a very formal style of writing (it sounds too cold and distant). But neither are you writing to a friend, so you shouldn't use an informal writing style (if you do, it often sounds insincere).

You are trying to create a relationship which is mutually beneficial to both parties. So, use a writing style which is between formal and informal. Use a writing style that you would if writing to somebody you know, but don't know very well. Something similar to what you would when writing an email to a work colleague/co-worker.



Does the email try to get the customer to contact the person who has sent it?


Unless there is a problem with the product, this type of email doesn't try to get the person to contact the person who has sent it.

The main purpose of getting somebody to directly contact you in a follow-up email is to promote your own products and/or get a sale. And this is not what you want to do in the first follow-up email you send after a customer has bought something. The purpose of this first follow-up email is to start to build up a relationship. You do this by showing you care and giving them something useful for free.



What is the main purpose of the email?


To start building a relationship with the customer:
The main purpose of sending a follow-up email after somebody has bought something from you is to start to build up a relationship with them. A relationship where both parties benefit something from it. You will eventually sell more of your products to them or people they know in the future and they will get or learn useful things for free.

But like with any personal relationship, it takes time to build up trust and confidence. That's the reason why you should never try to directly promote your products in the first follow-up email that you send to a customer after they have bought something from you.

To build up this trust and confidence, show both that you care (e.g. by asking them if they have any issues with the product) and give them something for free which is useful for them (e.g. a free gift, a guide etc...).

Once your customers start to trust you, they will be more willing to buy from you. And this is when you can start to promote and recommend your own products to them.



Now that you understand the purpose, structure and vocabulary, practise them by writing your own sales follow-up email in English.