Business letters are an effective way to communicate with employees, partners, prospects, customers and media contacts. Whether you’re writing a quick email to an employee or a long, detailed report to a shareholder, be sure to understand the goals of your business letter. Strong and effective communication helps businesses to share information and clear up misunderstandings in many different situations.
Understanding the Need of Business Letters
Before you begin writing your business letter, clarify your main goals. Are you trying to persuade someone to take a specific action, or are you sharing information to deepen understanding? To whom is your letter addressed, and how much knowledge does he already have about the topic of the letter? Having a clear idea of your audience and goals will help you to craft an effective business letter.
The need, goals and audience of your business letter will determine what kind of letter format to use. Business letters can be sent via email or by hard copy through postal mail or courier. You can also communicate the elements of a business letter through instant messaging or project management software if the content is short and directly related to the task at hand.
Choose the right format for your letter. If you’re communicating with business partners or employees, email may be the best choice. If you’re sharing information that requires a hard copy, such as a personally signed contract, sending your letter through postal mail could be the best option.
Providing or Requesting Information
One of the major reasons to write a business letter is to provide information to the reader or request information from the reader. The information can be internal company data or external market information. Regardless, sharing and receiving business information through business letters is an effective way to communicate.
For example, if you’re preparing your year-end sales reports, and you need to know how many sales each representative closed, you can email the sales manager for an updated count of how each sales rep fared. The sales manager can easily share the information through an email as well.
Persuading to Make a Sale
Another popular reason to write a business letter is to persuade a prospect, customer or partner to make a purchase. Business letters are a great way to communicate special sales offers or key benefits of your products and services.
Persuasive business letters can be sent via email or by postal mail depending on the type of campaign. Many companies send coupons or special offers by postal mail so that customers can physically bring them into the store to redeem them. Other businesses persuade prospects to make a purchase by sending email campaigns with highly targeted content to segmented contacts.
Strengthening a Business Relationship
Business letters are a great way to build and solidify a business relationship. They can be used to convey the benefits of a partnership with a supplier or can offer helpful content to prospects and customers. People want to do business with those whom they trust. Business letters are an effective way to establish credibility, share expertise and build camaraderie.
If your business sells the supplies for DIY signs, for example, sending a business letter to a new materials supplier to introduce your company can pave the way to a profitable partnership. Similarly, a business letter sent to customers to thank them for their recent DIY sign kit purchase builds loyalty that can lead to repeat purchases.
Directing Business Action
One of the main reasons to write a business letter is to provide direction or instructions that lead to an action. Businesses can convey step-by-step details to complete a specific task or simply provide the next step that the reader needs to take.
For example, a business letter can be used to tell employees how to mark off the days they are unavailable to work in the employee calendar. You can also use a business letter to send an invoice to a customer and request her to make a payment.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.