Most anyone who works gets bombarded daily by endless emails. Many of these emails are quickly scanned and deleted, if they even get opened at all. When you send a business email to a colleague, an employee or a client, you don’t want it to end up in the discard pile. Familiarizing yourself with the business email format can make the difference between having your email read and having it dumped in the virtual trash can.
The business email format is good practice for sending any type of correspondence on behalf of your company. It provides a formal structure that helps you convey your message and get a response.
The elements of a business email include:
- Detailed subject line. Use a subject line that encourages the reader to open your email. The more specific you are, the better. Include a few words about what the email is about – Meeting Next Week to Discuss the Proposal – rather than a vague word, like Hello. Being specific helps to prevent your email from getting caught in a spam filter, never making it to the recipient in the first place.
- Professional greeting. How you greet the person depends on your pre-existing relationship, if you have one. If you are reaching out to someone new or who is in a more senior position, it’s appropriate to use a more formal greeting like Dear Mr. Jones. If you have worked with this person before and have a more casual relationship, it’s okay to use the person’s first name, like Hi, Kim. Make sure the person’s name is spelled right, and the email address is correct.
- Concise message. The body of the business email should be direct and to the point. The person reading it doesn’t always have a lot of time, so don’t make it too lengthy and detailed. Use short sentences and paragraphs, and include only pertinent information. For example, a sentence or two about why you’d like to meet and the proposed times. This also makes it easier for people to read the message on their phones, which is where they are likely to open emails. Be sure to use basic email formatting, even if you’re tempted to use a lot of colors or emojis.
- Signature. When sending a business email, it’s always a good idea to close with an email signature. Include your name, job title, company and contact information. It can also include links to your social media or website, making it convenient for the recipient to have access to those. Just don’t include so much information that it looks cluttered. Your signature can be pre-programmed into your email settings so it is automatically included on any emails you send.
A business email is essentially like any other business letter, but sent electronically. And, like any business letter, make sure to use the correct format so you come across as professional as possible. You don’t want to send an email that is too casual or impersonal, especially for an important business concern.
The business email format provides an easy structure that can be adapted to any business email. It is designed to tell recipients exactly what the message is about and encourage them to open the email and read it. The business email format also allows you to be formal or casual, depending on the recipient. Always remain professional and friendly in your email. Write in a way that encourages the recipient to read your message and respond to your request.
You represent your business with every email you send. Learning the business email format can help you to make a good impression both on those you work with and those you’d like to work with.
The exact way in which you format your business email depends on your personality, what the email is about and to whom you are sending it. Follow this basic business email format:
Subject: Review Summer Marketing Plan
Attached is the summer marketing plan I put together. I’d appreciate it if you could review it and let me know if you have any suggestions.
Will you have time to go over this with me next Tuesday or Wednesday?
[title, company name and contact information]
As always, be sure to review spelling and grammar before you hit send.