A business letter is a form of correspondence that includes details on organizational activities. They can be written to a number of different groups of people, including employees, customers, prospects, partners, suppliers, investors and the media. Business letters are most commonly sent via email, though postal mail is still used in many industries. There are many objectives of business correspondence, and it’s important to clearly outline your goals within the document so it's easy for readers to understand.
One of the most common objectives of a business letter is to make a direct sale. Letters that are sent to prospects and customers may include details such as special promotions or incentives for making a purchase. Businesses often send a series of letters as part of a campaign through both email and postal mail to entice people to purchase their offerings.
Business letters can also be used to make indirect sales. For example, letters sent to partners may include benefits of business offerings with the goal to invite the partner to sell your business’s products to their customers. Corresponding with the media may involve persuasive elements that show the company in a positive light.
Understanding information and getting clarity are two important objectives of business correspondence. By having the complete picture, businesses can reduce miscommunication and misinformation. This helps them to limit mistakes and boost their productivity. This purpose of business correspondence is most often used internally among employees or with suppliers and vendors.
For example, if you want to clarify some details in your contract with a materials supplier, you can send them a business letter via email to ask them to explain the terms and conditions. By having the correct information, you reduce risk for your company because you have a full understanding of your business relationship with the supplier.
Persuading the reader to take action is a critical purpose of writing a business letter. There are many different kinds of actions you may want the recipient to take:
- Making a purchase
- Visiting your business
- Signing a contract
- Acknowledging the information
Business letters are useful ways of inviting colleagues and other stakeholders to complete tasks or take the next step in the business process. Business letters can act as reminders for action items or encouragement for progressing through the sales cycle.
Networking is a part of running a successful business. The community is where many small business owners find support, guidance and motivation. As a result, business letters can be used to build relationships with peers and competitors and to strengthen partnerships and alliances.
For example, if a small business owner sells homemade baked goods for pets, writing a business letter to local pet stores can be a way to build a partnership. The pet stores and the small business owner share the same target audience, so collaborating on campaigns and market research is a way to grow both businesses.
A critical purpose of writing a business letter is to keep a record of conversations and discussions that have taken place. Since many business decisions get made in meetings, having a written record of those decisions is important to have for reference. For example, after a staff meeting with employees about the new health policy, sending a business letter to your team to remind them of the discussion is a useful practice.
Similarly, after a meeting with important stakeholders such as investors, sending a business letter to recap the conversation serves as a reminder for action items that were discussed or promises that were made. Having a written record reduces the risk of misunderstandings and confusion.