Handling a Client Follow-Up Email After No Response (With Samples)

February 21, 2024

Nothing feels worse than having to send a follow-up email after no response from your client. It can quickly derail a project and, quite frankly, is difficult to navigate depending on your relationship.

Think you’ve mastered it? Tell us if you’ve been here before. 

You have the kickoff meeting, get all your ducks in a row, send over the first draft, and…nothing.

After what feels like a month-long game of “Where’s Waldo?”, your client finally gets back to you with approval. But by now the timeline is in shambles. Due dates have long passed, and your creative team has other work on their plate.

Now, it’s your wonderful task (dare I say, privilege?) to have an uncomfortable conversation with the client about shifting to a new deadline.

Lucky you.

Sound familiar? We thought so. Luckily, there’s a better way.

Learning how to deal with unresponsive clients will always be part of the job—there’s no getting around that. However, there are things you can do now (and in the moment) to handle unresponsive clients to better keep projects on schedule and avoid burning bridges.

Below, we’ll walk you through how to write a follow-up email after no response from your client. Plus, we’ll offer a few tried-and-true techniques, tools, and sample emails to unresponsive clients you can use to better manage your clients and speed up the project collaboration process.

How to Manage Unresponsive Clients: 6 Ways to Get Creative Feedback Quickly

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to managing unresponsive clients. You have to do a handful of things the right way, at the right time, with the right people for it to go silky smooth. Learning how to get timely feedback takes some trial and error to master, but it’s well worth the investment.

1. Set Expectations From the Get-Go

Kick things off on the right foot with a top-notch client onboarding process. Nailing this first step will improve communications, establish roles, and reduce client churn — which means more time for you to focus on the fun, creative work.

Client onboarding processes should include seamless contract negotiations, a welcome email series, software introductions, questionnaires, and meeting scheduling. Not sure where to start? We even offer a free copy/paste checklist you can use.

2. Understand Why Your Client May Be Unresponsive

Busy, Busy, Busy

We hate to admit it, but sometimes it’s not that clients don’t want to respond, it’s just that they’re just like us: busy.

Yet, it can feel one-sided. While your team may be spending 25% to 40% of your time on a dedicated client project, they may only be spending a fifth of that time on the same process according to Consulting Success.

So, before hastily sending that aggressive follow-up email after no response, remember how much you don’t want to respond to the emails you get on a daily basis.

They Don’t Know What They Want

Indecisiveness is a plague to the collaboration process and creative work in general. If you don’t start, you can’t make something perfect.

Unfortunately, clients routinely get cold feet.

They have a lot on the line in a project. If your project ends up being great, they’re responsible. But, if it goes poorly, they’re also responsible.

Because of that fear, some clients choose to put their heads in the sand and not make a decision.

Something you can do: reassure. Remind them that your team is full of experts who have done this before and have gotten results. Don’t be too overbearing. Rather, be supportive and understanding (with a little push toward progress).

Red Tape

Sometimes even, it’s not the client's choice about whether they want to respond or not. Often, it’s purely bureaucratic.

Red tape can cause efficiency issues for your client, slowing down their response time and even stifling their own creativity.

If red tape and approvals are what's keeping your client from responding, that may just require patience. They can’t control the approval process in their own business, so pushing them to get it would be like trying to move a mountain.

Instead, just be sure to check-in. Or, give them advice on how to get an unresponsive client to respond. They may be able to use it with their team members!

3. Eliminate Needless Back-And-Forth

Non-stop email threads and Slack messages kill projects. They become a time suck for you and your clients, and they’re often the roadblocks that cause clients to go silent. Cut them out wherever possible.

For example, instead of forwarding mockup website links and collaborating in Google Docs and email conversations, merge the entire collaboration process into a single tool. 

You can use tools like Punchlist to collaborate with your client in real-time. Instead of emailing the page back and forth with your client, you can use our features to:

  • Tag your client in Punchlist with an @mention
  • Set due dates
  • Schedule automatic follow-up nudges
  • Provide status updates (In Progress, Ready for Review, Waiting for Feedback, Done)

Pretty nifty, right?

4. Follow-up at the Right Time

Sending a request for collaboration or approval at 5 pm on Friday is a recipe for disaster. 

You’re not going to get a response then, and you probably won’t get an answer on Monday either. By then, your message will have been buried under the next pile of ill-timed emails. Think critically about the timing, and put yourself in their shoes. 

Requesting collaboration or feedback on Tuesday morning (after the Monday craziness is over) might be a good time. There’s no single best time to request creative feedback, but there are tons of bad times to do it.

Be sensitive to your client. Respect their needs and time zones. Get to know them and establish expectations during the onboarding phase of the project. 

You might find that your point of contact tends to work evenings instead of typical daytime hours, and maybe they would prefer to receive messages later in the day. If that’s the case, schedule your messages accordingly.

5. Make it Easy for Your Client

Make collaboration quick and painless for your clients. You don’t want them to have to schedule a whole afternoon to review your work. Keep it simple with things like:

  • Concise Emails: If you have to send an email, keep it short and sweet.
  • Simple Feedback: Don’t ask your clients for a boatload of comments at once with no guidance. Break it up into chunks, and organize the pages accordingly. Even better, pre-frame what kind of feedback you’re looking for, to keep them focused on giving you productive critiques that help move the project forward.
  • Seamless tools: Use tools to streamline the collaboration process. Don’t make your clients jump through hoops to download (and learn to use) cumbersome software.

6. Tell Your Client What to Do (And Why)

Be precise. Tell your client exactly what you need from them. 

Instead of saying, “Can I get your thoughts on this page?” try asking more specific questions, like “How do you feel about the hero image,” or “Do you want to stick with this color scheme?”

You can also remind your clients (tactfully) about deadlines and the consequences of missing them. For example, you might nudge them and say, “We need to get your feedback on this landing page content by Friday if we want to get it into design and stick to our launch timeline.”

7. Be Persistent—but Not Too Persistent

Persistence is key, but you need to learn when to put the pressure on and when to back off. 

Friendly reminders are fine and dandy, but you’ll always walk a fine line between being attentive and naggy—and nobody likes a nag.

Message your clients too much, and they’ll get fed up working with you. Don’t message them enough, and you might always be chasing deadlines. 

Your goal is to find the Goldilocks-approved level of persistence somewhere in the middle—and that’s going to be different for every client. Read the room. You know when you’ve gone too far and annoyed a client, and you also know when you’ve given too much space and gotten forgotten.

When in doubt, ask them again how they’d prefer to work and communicate. This will set up your project for future success once you understand the rules of engagement at the onset.

Sample Emails to Unresponsive Clients

Want to learn how to get an unresponsive client to respond? We’ve got just the thing. Use the following email templates for your follow-up messages for yourself:

The Gentle Nudge

Hey [Client’s Name],

We tagged you in a few comments via Punchlist last week. Did you have time to take a look at the mockup and provide feedback? The questions are relatively minor and should only take a few minutes to review. Here’s the link to the page for quick access.

Thanks for your time, and let me know if you have any questions.


[Your Name]

The Persistent Reminder

Hey [Client’s Name],

Looks like we still haven’t gotten your feedback on the mockup. Need us to put things on hold for a bit, or is this something you could take a look at today/tomorrow? Here’s a link to the page to make it easier.

Thanks for your time, and let me know if you have any questions.

Many thanks,

[Your Name]

The Important Alert

Hey [Client’s Name],

We’re still waiting to get your feedback on the content before we proceed with the next step in the design phase. If we can’t get that feedback before the end of the week, we’ll need to readjust the timeline and push back the completion date.

Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help keep the project on track.

Again here’s the link to the project: [insert Punchlist share link]


[Your Name]

The Last Notice

Hey [Client’s Name],

Since we didn’t get the feedback on time, we’ll need to adjust the timeline and find a new completion date. I’ll wait for your response before drafting a new timeline for your review.

Thanks for your time, and let me know if you have any questions.


[Your Name]

Download Our Sample Emails to an Unresponsive Client

Click here to download our editable follow-up email after no response sample emails. 

Client Not Responding? Not Anymore

Managing clients isn’t always fun, especially when communication is lopsided. Fortunately, you can take steps to improve the likelihood your client will consistently provide timely collaboration by joining Punchlist.

Start your 30-day free trial with Punchlist to collaborate with teammates and clients with newfound proficiency. Whether creating a website, PDF, pitch deck, or landing page, Punchlist makes it easy to collaborate internally and externally—eliminating all the back-and-forth and launching projects in record time.