Whether you are performing PR outreach, doing email marketing for your business, making formal job inquiries, or engaging in basic email communication, the professionalism required for writing a high-quality email is universal. That said, the level of formality required will change depending on your relationship with the recipient. Let’s talk about how to write a professional email.
Professional Email Format
The essential steps for writing a professional email include:
- Greet the recipient
- Open with the purpose of the message
- Write the body of the message
- Begin closing with actions or remarks
- Close the email
- Write a brief email subject line
- Enter the recipient’s email address
- Send the email
How to Start an Email
Always begin an email message with a greeting to fit the level of formality of the email. For formal emails, begin with greetings such as “Dear John” or “To whom it may concern.” For informal emails, a simple “Hi Sophia!” will suffice. Be sure to know your audience and address them accordingly.
The Purpose of Your Message
The opening sentences of any email set the stage for the details that will be included within the body. Keep the opening statements clear and concise. Most people will read the beginning lines of your email and skim through the rest. So be sure to take advantage of those opening lines!
How to Write an Email
Address the task at hand. What is your reasoning for writing? What are you trying to convey? A well-written message body is the backbone of your message’s purpose. It leads you into the closing action items or takeaways.
How to End a Professional Email
Include the takeaways that the recipient should understand from your email in order to either reply to them or put them into action. It sounds too simple, but it’s common that the recipient will will not take action if they are not given something to do. Also, remember that often people are too busy to decipher what you want out of an email. Don’t make them work. Be precise and tell them exactly what you need.
How to Sign Off an Email
The closing of your email should match the level of formality in the initial greeting. For formal emails, close with a sign off such as “Sincerely, Josh.” For informal emails, a simple “Thanks, Ashley” will suffice. A fitting email sign off accompanied by a high-quality email signature will provide the reader with a memory of you and a way to get back in touch with you.
Email Subject Lines
Once the email message is written, it is important to focus on the email’s subject line. After seeing your name or email address as the sender, the very next thing the recipient will see is the subject of your email. Regular emails and spam fill email inboxes every day. That's why it is critical to be concise when writing your subject line. Keep it very brief, while stating the complete purpose of your email in 5-10 words. This will give your email the best chance of being opened, read, and responded to.
Addressing Your Email
The final task to complete before pressing send is to enter the recipients. Be sure to include all parties that need to either respond to or read the message. Place the emails addresses of those whom you expect to respond in the “To” section.
What is CC in an Email?
Those that need to be aware of the contents of the email, but most likely won’t be responding, should be included in the “CC” section. “CC” is short for “Carbon Copy.” If someone is included in a “CC” of an email, you could say that they are “CC’d.” These recipients will receive a copy of the email. Typically, those who are “CC’d” on an email are not addressed by name within the greeting, but they appear in the list of email recipients visible to all others involved.
What is BCC in an Email?
For those that need to be aware of the contents of an email but certainly won’t be responding, include them in the “BCC” section. “BCC” stands for “Blind Carbon Copy.” These recipients will receive a copy of the email without anyone else on the email thread being aware. You do not have to address them within the message, and they will not appear in the email recipients list.
How To Send an Email
With the above tips, you know enough about email etiquette to produce a high-quality professional email that is ready to send. Be sure to double and triple check for any grammar or spelling mistakes. These helpful tips will enable you to avoid the most common email mistakes while creating a concise email that will be opened, read, and responded to in no time.
Professional Email Template
My name is [sender], and I am reaching out in regards to [brief explanation of topic].
[Provide specific examples, research, information, and/or inquiries]
[Provide a clear invitation, call to action, or list what is expected as a result of this email]
Let me know if you have any questions.
Follow Up Email Template
It was great to meet with you at [event you met the recipient].
I am interested in [learning, discussing, chatting, etc.] more about [topic discussed] and would like to [next form of communication; call, meeting, lunch, etc.] soon.
I am available on [dates that work for you].
Let me know which of those days would work best for you.
I look forward to keeping in touch!