Strong communication skills are an important asset in today's workplace. With modern technology, more work is being performed on computers and email has become a primary method of communication for professionals. Knowing how to write a business email can help you improve your communication skills and stand out to colleagues and customers.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know to write a great business email, including tips and examples.
What is a business email?
A business email is a form of written communication that is sent to the recipient electronically over the Internet. The purpose of a business email is often to convey information or to ask the recipient to take action. While email is often less formal than other forms of communication, a business email often follows a professional tone, style and format that is designed to elicit the expected response from the recipient.
Related: 20 Ways to Start an Email
How to write a business email
Follow these steps to write a great professional email:
- Choose a clear subject line.
- Begin with a greeting.
- State your purpose.
- Close with a professional signature.
1. Choose a clear subject line
The subject line is a brief summary of what your email is about. The subject line lets the recipient know what they should expect to find more information on when they open your email. It is important for the subject line to be clear and professional to ensure the recipient understands the purpose of the email and opens your email to read it. It is best to be direct and clear in the subject line to prevent your email from mistakenly being overlooked or deleted.
2. Begin with a greeting
Every business email should begin with a professional greeting. Your greeting should be concise and should aim to address the recipient by name. However, if you do not know the recipient's name, you can use their professional title instead. A few examples of greetings commonly used in business emails include "Dear", "Good morning/afternoon/evening", "Hello" and "Greetings".
3. State your purpose
Every business email should have a purpose, and preferably there should be only one purpose per email. Try to ensure your email conveys a clear message related to a specific subject, task or request. Doing this will help ensure important details are not missed and will help prevent confusion. Starting your email with a sentence that clearly states the purpose can help ensure the recipient understands why you are writing the email.
4. Close with a professional signature
In a business email, your email's signature line acts as a business card. Many businesses have pre-formatted signatures for their employees. A professional signature typically includes a formal closing salutation, your name, professional title, the name of your company and your contact information. Your professional signature may also include your company's logo or a picture of yourself.
After you have finished writing your email, you should proofread the email for spelling and grammar errors. You should also make sure your email's message is clear. When proofreading a business email, try to think of yourself as the recipient reading the email to ensure you have used the appropriate tone, style and format. Finally, if there are supposed to be attachments double check that you have attached the documents before sending the email.
Business email examples
Here is an example of two different types of business emails written by the same person. One is written to a colleague and the other is written to a customer:
Business email to colleague example
To: Johnathon Roman
Re: Sales Project Timeline Revision: Please Review
Attachments: Sales Contest Project Timeline
I am writing this email to let you know the project deadline for the sales contest project we have been working on has been moved up one week. The new deadline is December 20 instead of December 27. Because of this change, we will need to make adjustments to the timeline to ensure each task of the project is completed by the deadline. I have attached an updated project timeline proposal. Please review and let me know if you will be able to complete your assigned tasks by the new deadlines. Let me know if there are any questions or concerns.
Life Touch Insurance Group
Phone: (888) 888-8888
Business email to customer example
To: Kendall Jennings
Re: Welcome to Life Touch Insurance Group - Important Documents Enclosed
Attachments: Jennings Policy Documents
Thank you for trusting Life Touch Insurance Group with your family's life insurance needs. We know that securing your family's financial future is an important step for you and your family. We appreciate that you have chosen us to protect your family's future security. I have attached your policy documents to this email. These documents cover everything we discussed during our meeting about your coverage. Should you have any questions or concerns about your coverage after reviewing your policy documents, please don't hesitate to reach out to let me know. I will remain your personal life insurance agent through the life of your policy. Thank you again for your business.
Life Touch Insurance Group
Phone: (888) 888-8888
Business email writing tips
Here are a few general tips to remember when writing a business email:
- Know your audience: It is important to know who your audience is before you begin writing a business email. Most business emails need a formal tone, style and format to keep them professional. The tone of your email should aim to remain clear and positive. However, you may be able to use a less formal style and format if you know the recipient well.
- Use empathy when writing: The tone and intended meaning of written communication can sometimes be challenging for a reader to determine. Using empathy while writing your email will help you ensure your tone remains positive and prevent misunderstandings from arising.
- Make sure your email is necessary: Most people receive a lot of emails every day. Making sure your email is needed before sending a business email can help improve the likelihood of the recipient actually opening, reading and responding to your email.
- Make sure using email is appropriate: While email is a great communication tool for professionals, some types of communication are better when delivered via another format such as in-person or over the phone. It is important to make sure using email is appropriate for what you need to communicate before sending a business email.
- Keep your email brief: Keeping your email short and to the point can help you ensure your email's message is clear and will elicit the response you expect from the recipient. Being clear and precise in your email communication will save the reader time and help them clearly understand the purpose of your email.