The Breakup Email: What it Is, and How to Write It [With Examples]

by | Mar 3, 2020 | Email Marketing, Sales Enablement

The breakup email. The sales team’s Hail Mary. It’s the very last-resort tool in your toolbox, used to draw absent prospects back into your sales cycle, if possible. The breakup email is becoming more and more popular. But as more sales teams use it, it’s harder to craft a breakup email that seems fresh and genuine, and that succeeds in bringing those prospects back into your sales cycle. 

We’re going to teach you what a breakup email is, how to write it, and we’ll even give you a few examples of what a successful breakup email might sound like. Let’s jump in: 

What is a Breakup Email?

A breakup email is the very last email you send to a prospect who’s gone cold. It’s usually a last-ditch effort to get that prospect back on board before they fall out of your funnel forever. When done properly, breakup emails are effective. That said, they’re called breakup emails for a reason. Most of the time, if you’ve made it to the breakup email stage with a prospect, they probably aren’t going to convert. So why send them? Two reasons:

  • A breakup email can, and has been known to give prospects that little push they need to jump back into the sales funnel. 

  •  At the very least, it leaves a positive lasting impression with that prospect, in the event that they do need your services in the future.

What a Breakup Email Isn’t

A breakup email is not to be taken lightly. The reason that we have to be so careful when writing them now is that too many sales teams have overused the breakup email, and people are getting tired of it. 

It’s important to know that you shouldn’t send breakup emails to people you’ve never talked to. 

We get a multitude of unsolicited sales pitches, some from companies that are relevant to us, and mostly those that aren’t. My number one pet peeve is the third or fourth email I get (after not soliciting these emails nor replying to any of them) that says, “I’ve emailed you a few times, but you haven’t responded.” 

Um, yeah. I know I didn’t respond to your email. There’s a reason for it: I don’t know you, and I didn’t sign up to get your emails. 

I can’t stress this enough — the breakup email is a sales tool you use with prospects you’ve actually built a relationship with. 

If you haven’t talked to the prospect in person — i.e. on the phone, in person, or through a long chain of emails — they don’t get a breakup email. 

Now that we’ve got that all cleared up, let’s look at some breakup email best practices. 

Breakup Email Do’s and Don’ts:

Not sure where to start with your breakup email? Check out these do’s and don’ts so you know you’re crafting a thoughtful breakup email that’ll catch their eye. 

Don’t guilt trip

No one cares how many emails you’ve sent them. Don’t lead with “I’ve emailed you many times but…”

That’s a surefire way to never hear from them again. People are busy. If they haven’t responded to your email, there’s a reason. Leading with a guilt trip isn’t going to help. You want positive relationships, so lead with positive sentiments. 

Do spend time on the subject line

If you haven’t heard from this prospect in a while, it might be tough to catch their eye. Spend time working on your subject line so you know they’ll be compelled to open it. Using their name is a good way to go. It’s also good to make it clear that this is a breakup email, right from the subject line.  

Don’t be overbearing

If you haven’t heard from the prospect in a while, don’t ask them 15 questions in your breakup email. This is a breakup email. 

Instead, consider leaving them with some helpful information that’s relevant to their company or specific pain point. Let them know that if they ever want help, you’re always available to chat. 

Do make yourself available

If you’ve got a “Schedule Time on My Calendar” feature, use it. Again, don’t be overbearing about it, but let the prospect know that’s an option that’s available to them if they wish. 

Do remind them what you do

You don’t need to launch into all of the services your company provides, but this is a good time to recall maybe one of the pain points or goals you’ve discussed with this prospect in the past. Give them a quick sentence about why you’re reaching out one last time, and leave it at that. 

Do provide helpful info

If you’ve got a strong sense that your breakup has to do with timing, and not that the prospect just isn’t interested, then it might make sense to leave them with a bit of light reading as you go. Include one or two resources that are highly relevant to that specific prospect — they might just realize they need your help after all. 

Don’t write too much

This is a breakup email. If you’ve had quality communication with this prospect in the past, they know who you are and what’s up. You don’t have to explain your entire history to them or outline all of the great things your company does. Keep it short and sweet. 

Do sign off, all the way

Let the prospect know this is the last time you’ll be contacting them. If you’ve gotten to the breakup email point, this shouldn’t be so hard on you. End your email letting them know this is the last time you’ll reach out or bug them. 

Writing Breakup Emails:

A General Rule of Thumb

Your breakup emails will be significantly more effective if you take 5 minutes to think about why that prospect has gone cold and draft an email that speaks to their unique pain points and goals.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few examples of what a breakup email might look like. 

Breakup Email Examples:

I Promise I’ll Leave You Alone

This is a good overall go-to. If you’ve been emailing, but haven’t gotten anything back in a while, this is the email to go with. This one adds a little extra bonus in offering further resources to help that prospect solve their problems on their own. 

If that sign off feels a little heavy-handed, you can always take it off or change it. In my opinion, it really seals the “goodbye forever” deal, which can be exactly the push some prospects need. 

This email does a good job of saying goodbye, while also reminding that prospect why they were talking to you in the first place. You’re helpful, you have their best interests at heart, and you don’t want to bug them if they’re not interested. 

Permission to Close Your File

I love the “permission to close your file” email. It’s such a smart way to do a breakup email, because it doesn’t assign guilt to anyone. It’s a simple, honest statement, and it’s a good way to solicit a response in a way that’s not stressful for your prospect. All they need to do is answer yes or no.

This one from Breakthrough Email is a great example, but I’ve also drafted one that’s a bit more personal for those companies who take a closer approach to customer relationships. 

This email does a few things really well. 

  • It puts pressure on, without guilt-tripping. You’re going to close their account unless they let you know they’re still interested. 

  • It’s casual but specific, showing them that you were really working on their behalf.

  • It gives them an easy way to connect or an easy out. You might get a response either way, which can be really helpful in figuring out why they did go cold.

Write the Email That’s Best for Your Prospect

These are just examples, and shouldn’t be copy-pasted right into your email. Again, the best breakup email is the one that’s personal and relevant. These examples outline the four key items you can use:

#1 Value proposition – Offering additional resources to remind that client why they started talking to you.

#2 Goodbye forever – Letting the prospect know this is the last time you’ll hear from them. 

#3 Schedule time – Reminding them that they can schedule time with you at their convenience if it’s right. 

#4 Close their fileSimilar to the goodbye forever, but less, “I won’t bug you again,” and more, “I just want to make sure we’re on the same page.”

    You can combine any of these four tactics, or use just one in your breakup email — whatever makes the most sense to you. Just personalize them and make them your own, based on what your prospect does or doesn’t want. 

    Maybe you know the timing just isn’t right for your prospect. Then a soft breakup email that says, “Hey, sounds like the timing isn’t right. I’ll reach back out in six months.” might work really well. 

    You know your prospects. That's why you've got to write breakup emails on your own. Click To Tweet But I get that they’re not easy. I hope this blog helped give you a bit of direction. Now go out and conquer that breakup!

    Breakups are hard. We get it. If your sales team hates drafting emails like this, but knows they’re effective, reach out to the Evenbound team.

    As a full-service digital marketing and growth agency, our services touch everything from building your ad campaigns to yes, writing breakup emails for your sales team. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help. 

    New call-to-action
    New call-to-action