When considering skills that are crucial for a successful career in marketing, writing professional emails likely isn’t at the top of your list. However, your ability to effectively communicate with colleagues, leaders, and clients is a key element to any job in marketing.
Email is one of the most prevalent forms of written communication – especially in corporate settings. The sooner you’re accustomed to writing professional emails, the better.
Fortunately, professional emails share the same simple framework – it should have a beginning, middle, and an end. Tailoring these core elements to your recipient will help you to write emails like a pro! Here are some tips to help you write professional emails:
Use an appropriate subject line
Your subject line should be a concise line that clearly summarizes your email’s content. An effective subject line informs your reader of what to expect and allows them to easily locate the email in the future.
Start by greeting the recipient
Before jumping into the meat and potatoes of your email, begin with an appropriate greeting. “Hi” and “Hello” are suitable salutations and should be followed by the recipient’s name (if you know it). “Dear” is also acceptable, albeit less common and can feel impersonal. However, “Hey” should be reserved for casual correspondence with colleagues.
If you’re not familiar with the person you’re writing to, the safest bet is to avoid including an identifier like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Addressing them by their first name or full name can avoid an awkward first impression or accidental misgendering. However, professors and doctors should be addressed by their titles and last names, unless they request otherwise.
Tailor the body of your email
This is where you’ll convey your purpose and message. Your email’s body can be as short as a sentence or multiple paragraphs. The key to writing an effective email is providing your recipient with the necessary information they need to carry out the action you’re asking of them (if any).
It’s helpful to start this portion by explicitly stating your intent. Why are you emailing? Are you thanking the recipient? Asking a question?
After your brief preface, jump into the reason for your message. Focus on relevant information and limit unnecessary details. If applicable, include an actionable statement towards the end of the body to guide the reader.
Concluding your body paragraph(s) with a clear closing sentence can help you reiterate the purpose of your message or simply tie up any loose ends in your email. If you’re not asking the recipient to take action, your closing line can also offer an open invitation for future correspondence.
Keep it concise
Be respectful of the recipient’s time by keeping the email as brief as possible while still conveying the necessary information. Long emails can be overwhelming and may not be read in full.
Depending on the type of information you’re sharing, using bullet points can be helpful for the reader. Breaking longer blocks of text into shorter bullet points can make the information more digestible. However, this format isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Segmented lists are generally appropriate when providing feedback or instructions.
Choose an appropriate sign off and signature
Your closing sign off should be a single line that immediately precedes your signature. The most common closing lines are “Best” and variations of “Thank you.”
Your signature is an opportunity to identify yourself and share professional details, such as your title, company, and contact information. Most email platforms offer the option to set a custom signature to append each of your emails.
Pro tip: if your workplace uses Gmail, you can customize your signature’s format in Google Docs before copying and pasting directly into your account settings.
Remember to proofread!
The way you write can reflect your attention to detail and professionalism. Before hitting send, take a minute to reread your email. Look for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors that you might have missed, while double checking that your overall message is straightforward.
Regardless of your experience level, improving your email-writing skills is widely transferable across industries. By following this framework, you can elevate your professional emails from good to great and effectively communicate with clients, managers, or peers.