Knowing how to write a friendly reminder email is one of the best tools for being efficient with your time. It's perfect for nudging people about upcoming meetings, missed payments, job applications, important events, and more.
But to come across as friendly and helpful, instead of impatient and pushy, you have to land on the right tone and timing.
If you get both right, an email reminder can actually be a relief to recipients when the week gets jam-packed. No one likes to miss deadlines or reschedule meetings. But since 31% of people say the best workday would be a day without responding to emails, messages are bound to get lost or forgotten.
In every reminder, the recipient should know exactly what the email is for, what they need to do, and by when. A well-written reminder will cut down on the number of missed appointments and deadlines. It will also make you look proactive and professional, without being pushy. Here's how to go about it.
Writing a Friendly Reminder Email
Friendly reminder emails are best to send when something important is coming up or when a deadline has been missed. Reminder emails are ideal for:
- Noting upcoming meetings or events.
- Following up on invoices or payment.
- Reminding people about missed deadlines.
- Getting back in touch about a project.
- Staying top of mind when applying and interviewing for a job.
No matter the purpose, the main things to keep in mind are the tone and timing of your email.
The tone of every friendly reminder email should be polite and professional but urgent and to the point. Nudging someone about a missed deadline requires a different tone than reminding a colleague when to meet for coffee. If the situation requires immediate action, like a missed deadline, you can use language that's to the point, yet kind and understanding.
Adding "Action Required", "Request", or "Reminder" to your subject line draws attention immediately and can jumpstart the recipient into action. While active language is considered good form, capitalizing your entire subject line is typically not. All caps can come across as aggressive and out of place, especially if the rest of your message is friendly and conversational.
For more casual reminders, choose words that are active but less urgent. Subject lines that include phrases like "Following Up", "Checking In", or "Next Steps" are effective in these situations.
The tone is just one element of a friendly email reminder. You also need to get the timing just right. There isn't a single best time for each situation, but these are the most common time frames for each reminder email.
- Upcoming meeting: One to two days ahead of time. Give people involved in the meeting a few days of lead time, as they may have items to prep beforehand.
- Upcoming event: Three to 14 days before the event. You may want to send multiple reminders leading up to the event to build enthusiasm and make sure everyone is clear about the timing and scheduling.
- Upcoming deadline: Varies by project. Give people more time for a complex project and a shorter time frame for a simple task.
- Past due payment or deadline: One day after the due date. You want to remind people when it's top of mind and show that you're waiting for them to take action.
- Job application: The Muse recommends waiting five to 10 business days before following up. If someone recommended you for the position, check in with them for insight before reaching out to the HR team or hiring manager. This may seem like a long time but Indeed found that 44% hear from employers within a couple of weeks of applying and only 37% hear back within one week.
- Job interview: If an interview happens to be scheduled a few weeks out, it's best to check in the day before to make sure the time still works for everyone involved. If someone was supposed to contact you after a job interview, hiring managers suggest waiting until after the agreed-upon timeline to send a reminder email. Still no word? Wait five to seven days before hitting "send."
Now that you know the perfect time to send each reminder email, it's time to figure out what to include so you sound friendly and get a quick reply back.
How to Send a Friendly Reminder Email
All friendly reminder emails should be clear, kind, and to the point. You want to be polite enough to encourage people to take action but not so passive that people ignore your message. The best email reminders have five core elements.
1. Subject Line
Succinct subject lines will get you far when sending reminder emails. The recipient should know why you're sending a reminder and feel compelled to act. Salespeople know this better than anyone, so why not take a tip or two from these catchy sales email subject lines? The main idea is to keep your subject line brief and add urgency so the recipient knows it's time-sensitive.
A greeting sets the tone for the body of your email, so don't skip over it.
- Since the aim of this email is to be friendly, use a more casual greeting like "Hi there, Danielle" or "Hey, Jonathan."
- If your company tends to use more formal language, start off with "Hello, Kate."
- Beginning with "Dear" is generally too formal for a friendly email reminder, but stick with it if that's your company's default greeting.
The body of your email is where you let the recipient know why you're emailing them. Here's where you provide context about the project, deadline, payment, meeting, or whatever situation needs a nudge. Include specific names and dates if it helps clarify your message, and mention a recent tidbit about the person or company. Here are a few examples of what this section can look like:
- With the end of the month (and the quarter) fast approaching, we'd like to get all invoices in as soon as possible.
- I'm still working on the article, Top Entrepreneurship Tips for New Founders, and would love to include your thoughts in the piece. With ABC company's recent funding round and growth, you've navigated the past year so well.
- I'm checking in to remind you about the upcoming Q4 Content Planning meeting scheduled for this Wednesday, August 1 at 2 p.m. EST. Looking forward to starting it off with your analytics report.
- As you prepare for the presentation, please remember to send the slides you'd like to include by the end of the day on Monday, July 30. Does this still work for you?
Once you've set the stage by providing context, it's time to slide in your reminder or request. Don't get too long-winded here or you may lose the recipient's attention. If you want an immediate response, it's helpful to wrap your request with a question to encourage people to take action right away.
- Please send your invoice for all work from our most recent contract to firstname.lastname@example.org and CC me. If you have any questions, you can reach me at (222) 222-2222.
- If you'd like to send in a quote for the article, please share your answer to the following question and explain your reasoning behind it. What tip would you give new entrepreneurs to help them successfully run their business this year?
You've made your main point and request, so it's time to sign off with a friendly closing.
- Thank you for taking the time to work through this.
- Thank you for prioritizing this project.
- I appreciate your effort as we finish this proposal.
- I look forward to hearing from you.
Remember to include a closing sign-off that follows the same tone as the rest of your email.
- All the best
- Thanks again
Wrap up the email with your first name for a friendly tone, or your full name for a more formal tone. If you need to provide additional context, include your job title, company name, or contact information after your name.
Friendly Reminder Email Template
Drafting your first few reminders can be daunting. Luckily, this reminder email template makes it simple to fill in the blanks and send off a well-worded message. You can also easily customize this template to suit your needs.
To use the template, simply copy and paste the text, and fill in the blanks with your copy. Remember to read through the final version before sending it to ensure proper grammar and flow.
Hi [Recipient Name],
Thanks for [Reference a Specific Nicety].
The [Relevant Team] is prepping for the [Meeting Name] this coming [Day], [Date] at [Time]. We're excited to hear your ideas for [Recipient Connection to Meeting]. To make everything run smoothly, I'm asking everyone to [Your Request] by [Date] at [Time].
I appreciate [Relevant Sentiment].
All the best,
Friendly Reminder Email Example
Here's what the above template looks like when filled in. Remember to include specific requests, timelines, or dates to ensure there's no confusion on what you need the person to do and by when.
I hope your week is going well.
The Editorial team is prepping for the Q4 Content Planning meeting this coming Thursday, August 26th at 11 am ET. We're excited to hear your ideas for combining our Marketing and Editorial efforts for the annual holiday campaign.
To make everything run smoothly, I'm asking everyone involved to submit their presentation slides by Monday, August 23rd at 5 pm ET. If you have any questions, please send them my way.
I appreciate your time here and look forward to hearing your ideas.
All the best,
Once you send your email off, all that's left is to wait for a response. The tricky part is knowing whether to send an additional follow-up email.
While it's frustrating to have to send a second or third reminder email, remember that people have a lot going on. Hang tight for a few days before sending another message. If it's urgent, you can follow up sooner—just make sure to keep a friendly, patient tone. People will be more receptive to your request and appreciative of the note, which is exactly what reminder emails are all about.
Originally published Jul 20, 2021 6:00:00 AM, updated July 20 2021