Emails are important. They can notify us about the things and the deals we don’t want to miss.
They allow us to communicate without staying glued to our screens all the time.
We are free to reply whenever we want.
There’s only one problem: Most people receive too many of them.
Sure, you can unsubscribe from most of your mailings, but there’s still a chance you’ll get more emails than you can handle.
This is why writing email professionally is so important. If your goal is not to craft an OK email that recipients will send to the Trash folder immediately, you’ll find it harder to to work hard.
Most of us write emails because we want to achieve something - get a job, offer a deal, make an impression, network or solve business problems.
In order to achieve this, make sure that your email follows proper email format, is well-written and polished.
How do you do such a thing? By following this simple guide I want to offer you.
So if you want to know how to write a professional email, here’s what you should do.
1. Write Email to The Point, Do not Deviate
Even if you’re writing a follow-up email, you have a goal in mind - to thank the recipient for something, to remind them of something, and so on.
Just like I’ve said above, your email always has a purpose, though you might not have a clear definition of this purpose at the moment.
What do I expect from the recipient?
If you don’t know the answer, this could mean you probably shouldn’t be sending an email.
After all, not all emails actually need to be written.
But if you do know the answer, think about it a bit.
The purpose of an email generally affects its structure.
For example, if you’re cold emailing an influencer about the possibility of a collaboration, you might want to go straight to the point.
But if you’re trying to convince a prospect of the superiority of your product over the competition, you might need to provide some additional data first.
2. Start With a Greeting
An email obviously should start with a greeting, but how should this greeting look like?
That’s one of the trickiest things in business email writing.
You always need to be polite even if sometimes you also need to be less or more formal.
So let’s see how informal and formal email greetings could differ.
Informal ones usually start with «Hi» or «Hello», followed by the recipient’s name.
They are appropriate in cases when you meet the recipient regularly and call them by their first name.
Formal greetings look similar, but there’s one significant difference: You have to use last names and titles.
If you don’t know the recipient well and you don’t call them by their first name in real life, it’s always safer and wiser to start with a formal greeting.
If you don’t know their name, you can refer to them as «Sir/Madam» or use the name of their department (like «Dear Design Department»). «To Whom It May Concern» also works.
Remember that every word in the greeting should start with a capital letter.
A greeting also has to be followed by a comma.
It’s pretty much similar when it comes to addressing groups of people.
Your relationship with them dictates the style a lot: If you know the group well enough, even «Hi Everyone» or «Hi Team» will do. If the group is small (five people or less), you should address them by their first names in that case («Dear Anna, Brad, and Mark»).
If you don’t know the group well enough, an informal greeting should look like «Dear Colleagues», «Dear Design Department», and so on.
3. Tell the Recipient About Yourself
In some cases, the recipient knows who you are and remembers you well.
An example is when you’re writing to a colleague.
In such a case, you can skip this part.
However, if the recipient doesn’t know you at all or there’s even just a slim chance that they might not remember who you are, you should tell them about yourself.
Sometimes, you need to introduce yourself even with the people who know you.
Examples are if you changed your email address or aren’t sure the recipient would recognize it.
When telling recipients about yourself, state your name and provide additional data that would help the recipient to either recognize you or understand who you are.
The company you’re working for, your position, the place where you’ve met, the person who initiated the contact between the two of you - all these can be used as supporting data.
The important thing here is to keep it simple.
No need to write too much - a sentence or two will do.
4. Explain the Purpose of Your Email
In most cases, the recipient doesn’t have much time to read your email.
This may sound harsh, but that’s true.
That’s why after you tell them about yourself (or skip this part when emailing people who know you well), move right to the point of your writing, letting them know the purpose of your letter.
Maybe you’re writing to ask for a favor, thank them, or apologize for something.
Maybe your goal is to ask for clarifying information or to provide some.
No matter what it is, explain the letter’s purpose as clearly and briefly as you can - using only a sentence or two, if possible.
Remember that a business email should always be as precise as possible.
By writing a short, very specific email, you show the recipient that you value their time, which is very important in business.
5. Be empathetic
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
It might seem unnecessary or at least not important enough in the business world, yet it is important if you want to make an impact through your emails.
Moreover, empathy can instantly make your emails better.
To achieve this result, analyze your writing from the recipient’s point of view.
Ask yourself how another person would interpret your overall message, or even just a certain sentence.
If you receive a similar email, how would it make you feel?
Of course, you cannot predict the exact reaction.
But keeping the recipient in mind when crafting your emails will help you improve your writing.
Moreover, being empathetic isn’t exactly hard.
Just try to remember that most businesspeople are very busy (which means no long emails unless absolutely necessary), appreciate compliments (so include some in your email, just don’t overdo it), and like to be thanked for their work and efforts (that’s why writing a follow-up is often a good idea).
6. Always Include Your Email Signature
Sometimes, you’re not sure whether to include an introduction or not.
Sometimes, you know that you should include one but worry that it would take too much of the email’s space, distracting the recipient from the main point.
In this case, it’s better to work on your signature, adding all the necessary data to it.
This way, the email signature keeps the main body of an email as short as possible.
It will also help you avoid misunderstandings (in case you’re writing to someone who remembers you very well).
A professional email signature should contain your name, your job title, and a link to your website (link to your social profile is also recomended).
You can also add links to your social media and a short line about your job.
Here are some email signature examples:
Pro Tip: If you are using NinjaOutreach then adding custom email signature is very easy.
7. Ensure That Your Email Is Polished
The details matter as much as the content of an email.
Before you hit «Send», ensure that everything is okay: that a signature is included, your email has a subject line, and so on.
Ideally, you should proofread your email manually.
But if you’re pressed for time, at least consider running it through one of the many online spellcheckers.
Remember that if you want your email to look professional, check it for mistakes and typos.
It’s also a good idea to send a copy of an email to yourself if your email client doesn’t do that by default.
This way, you’ll always have a record of when you sent the email, who the recipient is, and so on.
While it does seem dreary and challenging, email writing is easy to handle. Sure, you need to pay a lot of attention to the details and stick to the business writing rules and etiquette.
However, the more often you do so, the easier it will become.
That’s why I hope that these tips make the process easier for you and help you craft stunning emails.
Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist who helps people and students succeed at self-education, writing, motivation, professional development and more by sharing with them her knowledge. Nowadays writing blog posts at essaywritersite.comand she is also an active guest writer on many websites. In her spare time, she prefers to read novels and crime thriller stories. Feel free to follow her on Twitter.