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How to Format a Business Email: 7 Easy Tips

Written by, Ljubica Gjorgievska

Updated April, 18, 2022

Though it may seem simple enough to type out a message and hit send, there are a few things you should know to write an email that looks professional and polished.

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of how to format a business email, as well as share some tips for making your messages stand out.

But first

Why is it important to format a business email?

Sending or receiving emails is the most prevalent internet activity in the UK and the leading method of communication for both personal and professional use.

In fact, as many as 85% of UK adults send or receive emails every year, which means you really need to make your message stand out to get noticed.

This is where crafting a proper business email format comes in.

A well-formatted message shows you took the time to put thought into it and that you’re serious about your work, which is bound to make a good impression on the recipient.

On the other hand, a badly written business email format may make it difficult for the reader to understand. This can lead to mistakes and misunderstandings, which, in turn, can hurt your business.

Let’s take a look at the email business letter format you need to follow to send out a professional message.

 How to Format a Business Email

Here are the best tips to help you in your ​​business email writing. 

1. Think about your intention

When crafting a business letter email format, the first thing you need to consider is your intention.

What do you want the email to achieve? Who are you targeting?

Having a clear goal in mind will not only make it easier to create an effective outline for your email but also help you set the tone for the entire message.

2. Spend some time on the subject line

The subject line of an email is one of the most important parts because it is what the reader will see first.

This is your opportunity to make a good first impression and entice the recipient to open the message. After all, 34% of email recipients look at the subject line when deciding whether or not to open the email.

So, how to write the perfect subject line?

  • Make sure it is specific and relevant to the email content. The subject line is the preview of the email, and it should give the recipient a clear idea of what the message is about. Avoid generic subject lines like ‘Review!’ and go with something more specific, such as ‘Client Report Revisions: Please Review by 4 PM’
  • Keep it brief and to the point. If your target audience is using computers, make sure it is under 65 characters. For emails read on mobiles, keep the subject line under 30 characters, thus ensuring that the recipient will be able to see it all.
  • Use keywords that will pique the reader’s interest and even create a sense of urgency. However, avoid words like ‘Urgent’ or ‘Reply needed’ as these are typically used by spammers and marketers, making them lose their value. Try something like ‘Please submit X form by [time or date]’.

Some good examples of business email heading:

  • [Mutual contact] recommended I get in touch
  • Informational Interview Request
  • Product XYZ Case Study Proposal

Bad examples of subject lines:

  • Urgent!!!
  • Please review
  • I have an issue

Pro tip: Take a page from some of the best email marketing services and use A/B testing and statistics to boost your open rates. 

3. Make sure the greeting is appropriate 

The salutation in a business email can be tricky because you need to be formal but also sound friendly and personable.  You don’t want to come across as too stiff or too casual, so finding the right balance can be difficult.

Here are a few tips for getting it right:

  • When in doubt, go with ‘Dear Mr./Ms.’.  ‘Hey’ might be too casual, while ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ might be too formal. ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ might be more suitable when composing a format for a business email to a colleague.
  • If you are not sure which is your contact’s first or last name, go with their full name to avoid confusion.
  • If you don’t know the person’s name, you can use their title or even their company name. That said, you should always make an effort to find out the name of the person you are writing to so as to make the email more personal and less generic.
  • If you’re on a first-name basis with the recipient, feel free to use it in the greeting, but make sure that it’s actually used throughout the email body as well.

Some good examples of business email salutations:

  • Dear [name] or [title],
  • Hi [name],
  • Hello [name],

Bad examples of business email salutations:

  • Hi there,
  • Hey,
  • Yo,

Pro tip: Steer clear or ‘Mrs’ and ‘Miss’ and go with ‘Ms’ instead. Also, try to avoid openings like ‘To Whom It May Concern’ as this is too formal and slightly outdated.

4. Format the body of the message

When writing the body of a professional email, it’s important to keep it short and to the point. You want to get your message across quickly and without rambling on.

The body of the email should consist of three main parts:

  • First paragraph: Introducing yourself. 

This is important as it helps build a connection with the reader.

  • Second and third paragraph: State the reason for writing. 

Make sure to state your main message clearly, so that the recipient knows what you want from them. This part of the email should, above all, be concise and to the point.

  • Fourth paragraph: Wrap up the email.

Thank the reader for their time, and let them know when you will be available for further communication. 

Depending on the business email format, you could wrap up with a call to action. This could be anything from asking for a meeting to encouraging a purchase and is a great way to get the reader to take the next step.

Make sure that your call to action is clear and easy to follow and that you provide enough information for the reader to be able to complete it.

Here are some more tips to consider:

  • Make the body of the email easy to read and skim through. The reader should get the gist of the email just by scanning the text.
  • Keep the introduction brief, positive and personal. Avoid meaningless sentences that have no value and go with something specific.
  • Most business emails should have one point or question. If your email has more, try to group these together and use bullet points to make the text more reader-friendly. 
  • Don’t give too much information. Stick to the basics and if you need to elaborate, remember that’s what follow up emails are for.  
  • Avoid fancy fonts and images and go with fonts like Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri, a 10 to 12 size font and black text. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.

Pro tip: Keep it professional and avoid exclamation points, emojis and smileys.

5. Close it with an appropriate signature

In addition to closing remarks, like ‘sincerely’ or ‘regards’, you should also include a professional signature, which should list your full name, job title, company and contact info. 

Using a professional signature or an automatic email signature not only adds credibility to your business email format but also helps the reader quickly identify who you are and how they can get in touch with you if they have any follow up questions.

A good example of professional signature:

Anna Smith
Head of Marketing
Company Ltd.
546 Main St.
London
NW2A 2AE
Phone no.: 020 1234 5678
Fax: 020 1234 5678
E-mail: asmith@company.co.uk
www.company.co.uk
linkedin.com/in/annasmith

Pro tip: You could also add a link to your Linkedin profile or other professional social media accounts you might have.

6. Go through attachments and links

Ensure that all attachments mentioned in the body are actually included in the email before sending it. 

Also, make sure that any hyperlinks you include are integrated into the text; otherwise they can look lengthy and distracting. Always check that the link leads to the right site.

A good example of integrated hyperlinks:

For more information, click here

A bad example of hyperlink use:

If you need more information, check out my website by clicking here https://dontdisappoint.me.uk/  

Pro tip: Make sure attachments and links are properly formatted as mistakes can happen when copy/pasting text.

7. Proofread the final version

Proofreading is important for a number of reasons, but mainly because it can help to avoid mistakes and ensure that your message is communicated effectively. Typos, incorrect grammar and incorrect information can all lead to misunderstandings, lost time and make the email look unprofessional.

This is what proofreading involves in the business email writing format:

  • Check for grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Make sure that the recipient’s email address and name are correct
  • Go through steps 2-6 again and see if everything is up to the mark

Pro tip: Investing in a tool like Grammarly or ProWritingAid can come in very handy, particularly if you are writing professional emails regularly.

Business Email Templates

Subject line: Why you are writing 

Greeting: Dear Mr/Ms Name/ Job Position

Intro: Introduce yourself and say why you are writing the email

Main body: Elaborate on the purpose of the email

Final paragraph: Thank the recipient and include a call to action

[closing]

[[email signature]]

[Name]

[business]

[business address]

[ phone]

[Linkedin URL/optional]

Example number one:

Subject: Administrative Assistant Job – Ken Adams
Dear Mr Thomspon, I am writing in regards to the administrative assistant job opening I saw on your website.
I am extremely interested in the opportunity and believe that my skills and background would make me the perfect candidate for the job.
I have attached my resume for your review and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. I am available for an interview at your convenience.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Sincerely,
Ken Adams
01632 960975
linkedin.com/in/kenadams

Example number two:

Subject: Invitation to ‘The ABCs of Effective Communication’ workshop on April 9th
Dear Dr Kumar,
I hope you are doing well! I am writing to invite you to our upcoming workshop on ‘The ABCs of Effective Communication’.
Here are the details regarding the event:
– Saturday, April 9th
– 10 am to 12 pm
– Large conference room (second floor of our building)
I believe that this workshop will be beneficial for you and your staff. I would be happy to discuss this further with you or answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to see you at the event.
Best,
Susan Boyle
Head of HR
Noname Ltd.
123 High St.
London
SW2A 2AE
Phone no.: 020 7038 4321
Fax: 020 7038 4321
E-mail: sboyle@noname.co.uk
www.noname.co.uk

Example number three

Subject: Your feedback means a lot!
Hi Jane,
Thank you for choosing Ann Adams Studio for your interior design needs. Did everything go as planned?
If you could take a few minutes to fill out our client survey, we would really appreciate it. Your feedback means a lot to us and will help us continue to provide the best possible experience for our clients.
We look forward to your comments!
Best Regards,
Ann Adams Studio
01682 69973
aastudio@mail.com

Wrapping Up

The next time you are thinking about how to format a business email, remember these tips. They will help you create a message that is clear and easy to understand while ensuring that your email looks and sounds professional.

Start writing today and see your inbox filling up with replies.

As a writer for Don’t Disappoint Me, my job is to collect relevant key information and interpret it into a wide range of content. I also have an MSc in Marketing, so I am always trying to expand my knowledge and discover new and exciting areas of digital marketing, SEO and web traffic building. I am a nature enthusiast, so when I’m not researching and analyzing, I love to go hiking with my dogs, camping, or snowboarding. I am a bookaholic as well and have an ongoing obsession with crime TV shows and movies.