How to Write Effective Business Emails (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 16 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Emails are often a vital part of work-related interactions. These interactions are virtual, remote or physical amongst employees in different organisational departments. Knowing how to write good emails helps you communicate clearly, since they may substitute your physical presence. In this article, we define what a business email is, describe its components, explain its purpose, highlight steps for writing an effective email and provide different samples.
What are business emails?
Business emails are electronic mail that you can send via the internet to facilitate communication within the workplace and with external parties. Typically, these emails have an address that contains the company's domain name, distinguishing it from a personal email address. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org is the hypothetical business address of Mei, a Hong Kong Miller's employee, while her individual address might be email@example.com with Quick Mail being the email service provider.
Typically, there are six sections in professional emails. These components help create order and flow to the content you share with the recipient. These sections are:
Subject line: The subject line is the first thing an email recipient sees when they get an email notification. The subject line summarizes the email's contents.
Salutation: The opening line addresses the email recipient directly, usually by name. Addressing the recipient by their surname denotes professional etiquette.
Body: The email is where you introduce the purpose of your email. It can have one or more paragraphs, depending on the information you want to share.
Closure: In the last line of your email, express gratitude and state your contact details.
Signature: In the email signature, you can identify yourself by name, title or other information relevant to your communications with the email recipient.
Attachments: These are documents relevant to the email that you attach when necessary. Different file types attached in emails include PDF, Excel or JPEG.
How to write an effective professional email
Writing an effective professional email requires professionalism and an understanding of the email structure. When written well, you may receive a swift response from your colleagues, customers and potential business partners. Follow these steps to write an effective professional email:
1. Keep the subject line concise
Your subject line can contain six to eight keywords. Ensure these keywords briefly summarise the key details in your email. For example, if you're writing to your colleague to share information about your project with them, your subject line might be New Information on The Bergamot Fragrance Project.
2. Start with an appropriate salutation
Salutations on emails are like greetings for in-person interactions. Greetings, such as Hello or Good morning, are effective general greetings you can use, followed by the person's surname. For example, Hello Mr Liu.
Surnames are more appropriate and formal than first names but, sometimes, where people have a strong working relationship, you can use their first name. In some situations, you can use the title of the email recipient. For example, Good morning Professor.
3. Create a positive impression
When writing an email, strive to create a positive impression on the recipient. You can do this by introducing yourself to the email recipient. If they reply to an email you had sent earlier, you can express gratitude.
During first-time interactions, you can begin by introducing yourself with your full name and an explanation of what you do. For example, I am Wang Xiu, the Supply Chain Supervisor for Yang Distribution. For follow-up emails, you can open with a response such as Thank you for your response to my email.
4. Be clear
After the introduction, state the purpose of your correspondence concisely. If you're not straightforward with your emails, the recipient can ignore and schedule to read them later. If you require a swift email response, ensure that your email is clear and brief. For example, I am writing regarding the billboard advertisement in Town Square.
5. Make it visually appealing
Organise your email for enhanced readability. For example, you can double-space your paragraphs. It's crucial to note that email paragraphs are shorter than document paragraphs. Use bullets where appropriate, such as when listing items or seeking clarification.
6. Be polite and formal
Be kind when interacting with people and remember that people have other responsibilities. When you require assistance, request it rather than demand it. For example, you can request help by saying, I would like your assistance with organising the event next week if your schedule is flexible.
7. Handle corrections kindly
If you're tackling a project with your team and you note any errors, you can handle and resolve them without expressing negative emotions like anger. For example, when contacting a team member, highlight their errors and include suggestions on how to rectify them to maintain positive professional relationships. Be teachable, too, when corrected and consider the advice offered by the email sender.
8. Thank the person for their time
After you have conveyed your intended message, thank the person for their time. Offer any further assistance to the email recipient if necessary. You can write this section in a separate paragraph too.
For example, if you're writing a business proposal, you might use a statement of gratitude, like, Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. If you're writing to your chief operations officer who sought information regarding your department's internal report, you can say, Thank you for your time. Kindly reach out for further assistance with the report.
9. Close your email
Your email closing depends on the formality between you and the recipient. Some company newsletters that are sent to customers end with the word Sincerely to foster a sense of closeness and loyalty. When you close your email with colleagues or potential business partners, consider a formal salutation such as Regards.
10. Label your attachments appropriately
If your email contains attachments, label them appropriately for the recipient to sort through and classify easily. Attachments are relevant documents that are found at the bottom of an email. For example, if your attachment is about a product launch checklist, you can label it as Max Product Launch Checklist.
11. Proofread your email before submitting it
Keenly go through your email while looking for grammatical errors and mistakes, such as using the wrong salutation and attaching the wrong documents. When proofreading, try to read the message from a reader's perspective. It can help you evaluate the readability of your email.
Importance of professional emails
Professional emails serve the main purpose of conveying information from senders to recipients. The information can serve different groups of recipients. A professional email is vital because:
Conveys information among employees in the company: A company can send information to its employees, such as company news, reports or project updates, when it can't hold physical meetings.
Conveys information to customers and stakeholders: Customers and stakeholders receive information and updates through email newsletters. Send this information with the intention of maintaining transparency by highlighting your company's activities.
Advertises products to customers: Companies can market products and services through email marketing tools. For example, you can email customers about your latest offerings and attach links in the email to direct customers to the company website.
Professional email examples
The following examples can guide you on how to write an effective professional email:
Email to a team member
Here's a sample email you can send to a team member:
Subject: Suppliers for the Bergamot Fragrance Launch
Good morning Ms Cheng,
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to you regarding the suppliers for Bergamot Fragrance's launch. We contacted all the suppliers suggested in Monday afternoon's meeting. A total of 13 suppliers confirmed capacity to supply the launch next month.
Kindly find attached the list of confirmed suppliers. Thank you for your time.
Product Marketing Lead
Email to a customer
Below is a sample email you can send to a customer to handle a complaint:
Subject: Faulty karaoke machine
Hello Mr Wu,
We sincerely apologise for the faulty karaoke machine you purchased from our store. We will send our delivery team to replace the faulty one with another of your choice at no charge.
One of our customer support representatives will call you in a few minutes. Kindly liaise with them on your preferred time to replace the Karaoke machine.
Please accept our apology for this inconvenience.
Customer Support Supervisor
Nasu Home Entertainment
Email to a new contact
Here's a sample email to a new contact:
Subject: Light Installation Project
Hello Ms Li,
I am Nuan Chen, the Funding Manager at Willow Installations. I am writing to you regarding your application for funding or your light installation project.
I am happy to inform you that your application for funding worth $30,000 has been approved. We at Willow Installations would like to extend our assistance to your noble cause should you need it.
All the best and congratulations.
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