Who doesn’t email? Statista estimates that by 2025, the number of global email users will grow to 4.6 billion. And it makes sense, because emailing has become an integral part of business communication today. A well-written business email shows trustworthiness, professionalism, and respect for the reader’s time. But business emails are also easy to get wrong, especially if you have little experience writing them. Not to worry, though—we got you! Here are the best practices you can follow when creating your business email format.
Nail the Subject Line of Your Email
The subject line is like a preview of what the email contains. It should be short and engaging enough that you can entice people with just one or two words before opening it up for themselves!
What Makes a Good Subject Line?
A subject line helps the recipient sort your email. It lets them know whether your message needs immediate attention, or if they can address it when their schedule clears up. Here are tips you can use when writing a subject line in your business email.
1) Make it clear and specific
The subject line should give a brief overview of what the email is about. Avoid phrases that serve no purpose other than to add fluff to the text. It should inform the recipient what the email is about, in one glance. "Request for 3Q SEO report" is a good example. It leaves no doubt as to the emailer's purpose in writing.
2) Use keywords
Pique the reader's interest by Including words that are relevant to the content of your email. Summarize the purpose of the email in 5 words or fewer, and then put this phrase at the start of the subject line. (give example)
3) Keep it short and sweet
Lengthy subject lines can be overwhelming and may not even show up fully on some devices. Try to keep it under 50 characters if possible!
4) Personalize when appropriate
Using the recipient's name or company in the subject line can make them feel more inclined to open your email instead of just seeing another generic message in their inbox.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your emails have a higher chance of being opened by the recipient and, ultimately, create a more memorable subject line.
Include a Greeting in your Business Email Format
You want to make a good first impression with your email, so you must use a greeting appropriate to your familiarity with the reader. Keep it short as well – you don't want to take up an entire line for your salutation. Basically, it should be professional and welcoming without being too formal or stuffy – just right!
5) These greetings are go-to's:
- Hi, (name): informal; best for people with whom you already have a professional relationship
- Hello: best for when you don't know the recipient's name; can replace "hi" in the first example
- Dear: formal; used when sending the first email or addressing someone in a position of power
6) Use these greetings sparingly, if at all:
- Dear sir or madam
- To whom it may concern:
Both of these phrases are formal, and they are only really appropriate when applying for a job. But even then, a lot of people consider this lazy writing because there are dozens of research tools available for free – you can just look up the name of the person you are addressing.
The Body of Your Business Email Format: What to Know
What you say in the body of your email is just as important as making sure that it gets delivered. The tone should be professional and courteous so recipients don't feel like they are being barked at or scolded for not reading everything before opening!
7) Get to the point quickly
Don't beat around the bush or add too much fluff in your email. Why are you reaching out? Get to the main point as quickly as possible, and make sure that it is clear what action you are requesting from the recipient.
8) Keep the ask simple
Make your request clear – don't give unnecessary details like the context of the ask or what happens if your request is not granted. Unless the recipient sends an email asking for clarification, keep your text to a minimum.
9) Use a friendly but professional tone
Avoid using slang or emojis in a business setting – they can come across as unprofessional and may not be easily understood by all recipients. Stick to language that is universally accepted and easy to comprehend.
10) Include necessary details
Make sure to include essential information such as dates, times, numbers, names, locations, etc., so that there is no confusion on what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed by.
11) Proofread before sending
Before hitting send, do a quick spellcheck and read through your email to make sure everything flows well and there are no grammatical errors. It only takes a few extra minutes, but it can make all the difference in how your message is received.
Business Email Format: The Closing
You want to leave the recipient with a good impression, so make sure to end on a positive note.
12) Thank them for their time
Expressing gratitude shows that you understand and appreciate the fact that they took time out of their busy schedule to read your email.
13) Include necessary contact information
In case they need to follow up with you or have any questions, include your phone number and/or email address in the closing of your message.
14) Use a polite sign-off
Choose something like "Best regards," "Sincerely," or "Thank you" – steer clear of more casual farewells like "Later" or "Ciao." And don't forget to sign your name!
Other Things to Keep in Mind About Your Business Email Format
When writing professional emails, the message proper isn't the only important thing. All the surrounding information should also convey your professionalism and attention to detail.
15) Leverage CC and BCC
Properly using CC (Carbon Copy) and BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) will help you get your message to the right people. It will also prevent others from becoming annoyed with email updates and threads you start. Here are things to remember about CC-ing or BCC-ing others in your emails:
- CC will create a visible recipient list, while BCC will do the opposite – it will create a recipient list that only you can see.
- Use CC if you need to be transparent about who is receiving the mail, want to start an email thread with select recipients, or are adding a person to the loop without needing their action.
- Use BCC if you are messaging someone who doesn't need to see all the recipients of an email (e.g. if you're emailing multiple customers at once, or if you'd like to CC your manager to an email you're sending a client).
- You can also use BCC if you have an announcement but don't want the email thread clogging up people's inboxes – moving people to BCC will prevent them from receiving replies.
16) Double-check that you have the correct recipient
Before hitting send, double-check that you are sending the email to the right person – there's nothing worse than accidentally sending a message meant for your boss to a co-worker!
17) Keep attachments organized
Include any necessary documents as attachments, but make sure they are labeled clearly so that the recipient knows what they are and can easily access them.
18) Use a professional email address
Avoid using unprofessional or informal email addresses (such as [email protected]) in a business setting – they can make you appear unprofessional and hinder your credibility. If necessary, create a separate, professional email account for work-related communications.
19) Use a professional email signature
Include your name, title, company, phone number, and/or email address in your signature to make it easy for the recipient to contact or identify you. You can also include links to your website or social media accounts if appropriate. Avoid adding any graphics or excessive formatting – keep it straightforward.
20) Use precautions when sending emails
Take basic security measures when sending emails, especially to people outside your organization. Make sure any attachments and links you send are being delivered to the right people. If necessary, consider encrypting important messages to protect sensitive information. And always be mindful of the language and content you include in your emails – they can easily be forwarded or shared without your knowledge.
Wing VAs Help With Your Business Email Format and More
Following these tips will not only make you appear more polished and professional but also make sure that your message is properly conveyed and received by its intended audience. Happy emailing!
Wing Assistant is your best partner in streamlining your business processes! Book a call today to learn more.