Learn how to write a professional email for any business communication in 10 simple steps, from the subject line and salutation to pressing the send button.
Email is arguably the primary format for today’s business communications. This means having good email etiquette and knowing how to create effective email messages is an incredibly important skill to have.
Here are 10 super-simple steps to follow that will help you create excellent email messages every time.
10 Easy Steps to the Perfect Professional Email
Step 1. Choose an Email Template
If writing emails isn’t your strong suit, you can choose an email template that will guide you through the process of writing a good email from start to finish. There are many different email templates available online, or you can choose to use a template from your email host. Microsoft Outlook, for example, has several email templates that can help you write a great message. As do many of the best email writing apps.
Step 2. Write Your Subject Line
The most effective emails have an engaging subject line. Make sure your subject line not only explains what the email is for but is also interesting and clickable. If you leave the subject line blank or vague, you run the risk of your message going to the recipient’s spam folder or it being overlooked.
Step 3. Choose a Salutation
Decide how you will greet the email recipient. Will you use the name of the person or something generic like “Dear Sir,” “Dear Mr.,” or “To Whom It May Concern?” Usually, the recipient’s name to address them directly makes for a more effective email than a general salutation. If you don’t know the recipient’s name, consider making a phone call to the place of business and asking to whom you should address your email communication to.
Step 4. State the Purpose of Your Email
The introduction of your email should clearly state its purpose. Make sure this information is available upfront and is laid out in a scan-and-skim friendly manner. This ensures the recipient will be able to read and absorb the information more easily. If the email recipient tends to go through emails too quickly to read them all the way through, having your purpose upfront can be helpful.
Step 5. Write the Body of Your Email
One of the most challenging steps of this process is writing the body of your email. Be concise; avoid getting too verbose or going into too much detail about “xyz.” Include bullet points where you can make important information stand out and avoid using italics that may make the text more difficult to read.
Step 6. Say When You’ll Follow Up
Don’t end your email without stating when you plan on following up if you don’t hear back from the recipient. Give them plenty of time to respond, especially if you’re asking for documentation of any kind. That said, it’s important that you make sure the recipient is aware that you will, in fact, be reaching back out and in what general time frame you’ll be doing so.
Step 7. Choose a Sign Off and Email Signature
Next, you need to choose how you’ll sign off and include your email signature. Common professional sign off options include:
- Thank you,
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
Your full name should be printed under your sign-off, but you should also include an email signature if possible. This may be a digital signature created by an app-specific to this purpose, or an image of your actual signature. While not obligatory, adding a personal signature to the end of your email communication can help make it more personable and professional.
Step 8. Include Your Contact Information In Your Signature
Be sure to include your contact information in your email signature so the person you’re emailing can get back in touch with you in more than one way. Include your phone number, your social media or LinkedIn information, your full name, and any other additional information that may be pertinent or applicable.
Step 9. Proofread Your Email for Typos
Don’t forget to double-check your email for any mistakes or typos before sending it to the recipient. You can have a beautifully formatted professional email that instantly puts the reader off if there are simple, fixable mistakes. Grammarly offers a plug-in for email that can help you easily spot and eliminate errors.
Learn how to add Grammarly to email.
Step 10. Press the Send Button
Arguably, the most nerve-wracking part of writing emails is pressing the send button, especially if you’re using Gmail and it gets delayed. Make sure you’ve proofread your email several times before sending. If it’s a critical email, send it to yourself, proofread it again, and send it to the intended recipient.
Example of a Professional Email
Here is an example of a professionally written email from a service provider to a client:
Subject Line: Please Call re: Last Month’s Progress Reports
Your project’s progress reports for last month are ready to be reviewed. I would like to make sure you have the opportunity to review them in detail; they are attached here for your convenience. Please call me to set up a conference to go over your reports where I can point out the most important metrics and answer any questions you might have.
If I haven’t heard back from you by the end of the week, I’ll give you a call at the cell number I have for you, which is 555-239-5512.
Thank you for your time,
Project Manager at Content Marketing 4 U
555 East Broadway St.
Orlando, FL 65987
The subject line immediately lets the reader know that the communication is about the progress reports for last month and that the sender would like to have a call about them. The beginning of the email states the purpose and that the reports are attached for review. A request is made for a conference call, and the sender states when she will follow up with the recipient and how.
This sets the expectations and boundaries for communicating about the progress reports and lets the recipient know that the service provider understands the importance of the matter at hand. At the end of the email, the sender includes all of her formal contact information so the recipient can reach out in any way that is most convenient.
The Final Word On How to write a professional email
Business communication is more digital than it has ever been before, and this is expected to grow exponentially. Learning how to write a professional email that communicates effectively in a concise and straightforward manner is something everyone in today’s workforce should learn how to do.
FAQ About Writing Professional Email Messages
When should I send a formal email?
While you may not need to send your coworker a formal email, some situations require good email etiquette. For example, write a professional email when you are contacting a business associate for the first time, when you need to send a cover letter along with your resume, or for any other high-level business communication.
What should I avoid in a business email?
In a professional email, try and avoid writing mistakes like typos, informal language, emojis, emoticons, slang, abbreviations etc. If possible, send privately hosted emails using your web address instead of a public email address from a server like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
When should I bcc someone?
You can bcc a copy of a professional email to yourself if you’d like to have a front-facing copy of the business communication. You can also include people here who you’d like to have a copy of the email but do not want the primary recipient to have their email addresses.
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