Writing emails that are friendly, concise and cause the reader to take action can be a skill that takes time to hone. This article will help get you there by covering the following areas to show you how to write a professional business email:

  • How to write a business email, step by step
  • Tips for professional email writing

How to write a business email, step by step

You’re likely writing business emails because you want to achieve something, such as making a sale, building a network or solving problems that come with running a company. To get what you want from your emails, you need to be able to write in a professional and assertive way. 

Let’s break down the sections of your email to achieve a well-written piece.

Subject

The subject line is your chance to ensure your email is opened and read. In a professional setting, it’s best to make the subject a summary of the content, unlike when creating a business newsletter where you should make the subject eye-catching and engaging. 

Avoid capitalising words, along with terms such as ‘important’ or ‘urgent’. Something that is truly urgent might warrant a phone call and your request may fall to the bottom of their to-do list if you demand something that isn’t actually urgent.

Greeting

Your greeting should be short and friendly. Address the recipient with their first name, but if that’s not possible then use their title and surname. 

If you are addressing a group, it’s acceptable to say ‘Good afternoon everyone,’ or ‘Hello Marketing Team,’. If emailing less than five people, use their names instead of a group term, for example: ‘Hi Kirsty, James and Jess,’. Always use a comma after the greeting to continue your message.

If you’re emailing someone for the first time, write a short opening line to indicate how you know them and why you are emailing them now. For example:

‘It was great to meet you at the event last night, I appreciate you taking the time to discuss this project in more detail with me.’

Including this small exchange of pleasantries gives the recipient context and sets up the rest of the email.

Body of email

Stick to one topic per email, if possible. Discussing several different topics/issues can be a more difficult read and the recipient may lose the information or requests in the midst of the long email. 

So, write with the goal of accomplishing one task. This could be to find out more about their business, book a phone call or meeting, or to get some figures or data. Be clear on what you are asking for and why, and include any relevant background information.

Near the end of the email, include a ‘call to action’ (CTA). This is a phrase that indicates you need them to do something. Make sure the CTA is clear and includes a timescale so there is no misinterpretation. This might be something like, ‘Please send me your report by the end of the month’ or ‘It would be great to speak to you in more detail, please let me know when you are free this week.’ 

Closing

Use a polite and professional phrase to finish. Something such as ‘Many thanks,’ or ‘Kind regards,’ is standard, but bear in mind your tone. Many consider ‘Regards’ on its own a little standoffish, while depending on the person and your relationship, it might be appropriate to use something friendlier.

Signature

After signing your name, you might also use an electronic signature. Find ‘Signature’ in your email settings and you can use it almost like a business card, by featuring your information at the end of every message.

Avoid using quotes or images that are not your business logo. Keep it short and simple to scan, such as:

John MacIntyre

Owner of MacIntyre’s Machinery

Phone: __________

Email: __________

Then include your logo at the bottom. Always send yourself a test email with the signature so you can check the size of the logo on mobile and computer.

Tips for professional email writing

Now you have the structure of your email, here are some tips to bear in mind when writing:

Be clear about the goal

Covering one thing per email will give clarity around the reason you have emailed.

Remember your audience 

Always consider who this person is and your relationship to them. This will remind you of the level of ‘friendly’ you can use. Always be personable but save any jokes and casual chat for someone you know well. 

Don’t forget your language. It’s ok to use acronyms and jargon with a colleague or someone who you work with often. But using these with someone who is unfamiliar with your work might confuse them.

Be concise

Try not to ramble and maybe save any background information for a phone call or meeting where you can expand. 

Proofread your business emails

Don’t send an email without reading it for spelling errors. Obvious mistakes give off an unprofessional impression. 

Follow up if needed

If you haven’t heard back from your recipient, then wait a few days and follow up with them. Be polite when giving them a nudge about your previous message, you don’t want to appear pushy.

Use the tools available to you

If you find yourself typing the same email over again, you can use the ‘Canned Responses’ tool in Gmail. It allows you to save a template that you can send, saving you time. If you don’t use Gmail, you can always save a pre-prepared response into a word document that you can come back to.

Try not to send emails at unsociable hours or on weekends/holidays. Many email providers allow you to schedule your email send, so that the person will receive it when they are in the office. 

Save time to focus on running your business with Countingup

Using Countingup to help you manage other areas of your business can free up a lot of time for you to focus on crafting effective emails. With less time wasted on admin, you can give your customers or clients the time and attention they deserve.

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It is saving thousands of UK business owners hours of time-consuming admin and helping them keep on top of their finances. Find out more here.

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