6 samples on how to send a formal email
Formal emails play a crucial role in communicating information clearly and without errors in our business, professional and personal lives. So, whether you’re enquiring about an opportunity, inviting someone to an event, or resigning from a job, knowing how to write a formal email is an essential skill you need to know.
In this guide on how to write a formal email, we break down the process into simple steps. Then, we describe the ideal formal email format and provide a selection of formal email examples that you can use as the basis for your correspondence.
What is a business email?
Business email is an essential communication tool with employees and external organizations, including customers, subscribers, and stakeholders. As well as sharing information and updates, business emails can be used to market products, manage complaints, support customers, and engage suppliers. Put simply, a business email is the lifeblood of any modern company. Business emails are typically short, polite, and written with a clear purpose. However, business emails don’t need to be boring. If written correctly, an effective business email can inform, engage, and inspire any reader.
Wiring a great business email involves a little process and a little psychology. First, you’ll need to understand how to format a business email, including a great subject line, appropriate greeting, body copy, and ending. But more than that, you need to go beyond providing information and delivering a little inspiration, too.
Every email is an interruption, say researchers. You’re asking someone to read your email, so it must have value. Your email must have a purpose and state it clearly and quickly. Don’t waste time or words getting to your point, be clear with why you’re messaging and what you want, says Jeff Su in the Harvard Business Review.
We all receive hundreds of emails a day, so you must work hard to avoid what academics describe as “standardized, vague, and impersonal realizations of interpersonal moves”. Our translation: personalize your emails and keep them interesting, or risk losing readers’ attention.
Business email format
We’ve covered the core parts of professional email greetings and endings in other posts, so we’ll be brief here. Instead, we’re going to delve into more detail in the content, including providing 10 examples of business emails that command attention and demand action.
Business email greetings
There’s no magic in how to start a business email; you use a formal email greeting and an appropriate email opening sentence. The core of your message depends on who you’re contacting, what you want, and why, but the basics of how to start a good business email are pretty standard.
Suppose you’re finding it difficult to decide how to address someone in a business email. In that case, we suggest being formal rather than being informal. So while you’re OK to use any opening you choose in a personal email, if you’re wondering if you can use ‘Hi’ in business letters or emails, we would advise against it.
How to start a business email
The opening sentence should explain who you are, where you’re from, and what you want. Of course, it can be a challenge to fit all this in, but here’s an example of how to start a business email.
How to end a business email
As we’ve explained, every business email should have a point and a purpose, so be clear about what you want from the reader. So let’s use the example above to illustrate how this can work in a formal context.
I’d welcome your feedback on our new range of products and would like to arrange a call to discuss the next steps. Please respond to this email if you would like to chat, including some dates and times that are convenient to you.
I’d love to talk you through some of their new features and benefits, as well as the preferential pricing we can offer to our trusted clients. Give me a call or drop me an email if you’re interested in catching up.
How to finish a business email
When deciding how to sign off a business email, think about how well you know the reader and how formal you want to be. If you’ve emailed someone before and have a relationship, feel free to be a little less formal. On the other hand, stick to the tried and tested email sign-offs if this is the first message you’re sending.
Business email writing samples
How to introduce your business in an email
How to say sorry in a business email
Saying sorry in a business email can be challenging, but it’s best done quickly and cleanly, like tearing off a band-aid. So don’t beat around the bush or muddle the message; just say sorry.
How do you say thank you in a business email
When saying thank you in an email, keep things short but be specific. Don’t just say thanks; explain what you’re thanking the person for and the impact that they have had. If you’re saying thanks for something they’ve done,
How to say no politely in a business email
Learning how to say no politely is a core business communication skill that can be a challenge. We’re conditioned not to want to disappoint people, but remember this isn’t about you personally, but about business. A polite but firm no can improve the way you are perceived. It’s tempting to apologize or qualify your response but don’t. Stick to the facts and don’t lose focus.
What to check before sending an email
- Double-check the recipient’s name. They can forgive you a typo somewhere in the email body but definitely not in their name!
- Check the email address. Make sure you’re writing to the right person. If you have multiple email accounts, also check if you’re emailing from the needed address.
- Make sure you have the subject line. It should tell the recipient what to expect from your email.
- Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Reread your email as if it was sent to you. Is it easy to read? Can you understand who’s contacting you, what’s it about, and what do they expect from you? Are there any phrases that sound rude or ambiguous?
- Check grammar and spelling. Don’t let typos and errors ruin the whole impression.
- Don’t forget to attach files. If you’re sending someone a document, make sure the recipient actually receives it.
You’ve learned how to write a formal email, but there is a couple of hacks that will make you feel more comfortable while sending emails, save you time and sometimes even reputation.
1. Undo sending
Have you ever realized a terrible mistake you’ve made after hitting “Send”? You still can prevent disaster. Our email client Spark lets you cancel the email sending within the next 5 seconds. On your Mac, just press Cmd ⌘ + Z. On iOS or Android, tap Undo at the bottom of the screen. The undo feature works with emails from all major providers: Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo, Exchange, and others.
2. Email scheduling
Timing is crucial for business emails, especially when you’re communicating with people from different time zones. Spark lets you schedule emails to be sent later so you can draft a message whenever you want and make sure the recipient gets it when they’re most likely to reply.
3. Follow up reminders
Email doesn’t require an immediate reply, and a recipient usually has a couple of business days to get back to you. Anyway, you don’t want your message to end up in limbo. Set a follow up reminder in Spark, and the app notifies you if you haven’t received a reply after the due date. This way, you don’t have to keep track of all your sent emails. Spark does it for you.
Writing business emails isn’t as tricky as it seems. Just have your goal in mind, value the reader’s time, follow the professional email format, and deliver your message in the most concise way. We hope our tips on how to write a professional email will help you communicate effectively and achieve your business goals.
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