The Basics of Professional Business Email – 5 Writing Tips

Communication via email has become one of the most widespread means of business correspondence. Your current or potential business partner will receive, read and answer your professional business email faster than any other message.

This is even more obvious when it comes to your international partners.

However, it’s important to know some basic rules related to composing email messages. Whether or not you’ll succeed in reaching your goals will depend on your skillfulness in terms of creating proper emails. The following guide brings five crucial steps for reaching businesspeople in the right way with a craftily written email.

1. Email impact at first sight

The first three elements that the recipient of your professional business email will see are the subject line, the greeting and the opening sentence. So here’s what you should pay attention to in each of them.

  • The subject – Most modern email systems have a multi-tier security system that avidly sends suspicious emails into the trash folder. To avoid such a misfortunate end for a well-tailored email, make sure that the subject line of a business email is always filled with a proper subject. As for the subject line, it should be concise enough, so as not to waste the recipient’s time. Also, don’t sound generic, but create a witty line, to convince the recipient to open it.
  • The greeting – If you know the recipient’s name, address him or her as “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Dear Ms. Smith”. Be extremely cautious when referring to a female businessperson and avoid Miss or Misses, since they aren’t considered politically correct terms. The simple term Ms. doesn’t carry any marital connotation, so go for it. On the other hand, if you don’t know whether or not the recipient is a man or a woman, the good old “Dear Sir or Madame” will do.
  • The opening sentence – Open the body of the mail with a sentence that will show your admiration to the recipient and their business. For instance, if you were writing to Virgin Company to establish a business collaboration, you should state your admiration for their business efforts, such as Virgin Care. Only when you’ve heaped praise on them should you say what you can do for them. Also, make sure that the praise is genuine and not a flattery.

Nota bene: all these introductory features in a professional business email are essential to get in touch with your target audience. Therefore, every bit of information you emit that way should be true and rely on facts. Such an approach will ensure building trust from the beginning of your communication.

2. The matter of formality

Now that we’ve passed through the beginnings, let’s talk about the formality of professional business email.

A rule of thumb is that the level of formality depends on the relationship you have with the recipient. That way, a business email sent to a friend or an acquaintance of your age can be written in a semi-formal style. However, it’s not recommended to use colloquial phrases, like “Hey” or “How R U”, even though you’re writing to a friend. When discussing business, get out of the box of friendship. Still, feel free to use short forms.

As opposed to that, when you’re sending a business email to a person of higher ranking inside or outside the company, apply formal email etiquette. You could even abandon contractions but use a formal writing style. Some of those authorities might ask you to switch to a semi-formal style. Nevertheless, an initial formal approach is the safest way to address them without any risk of sounding impolite.

3. Writing to business individuals

Sometimes your professional business email will end up in spam gutter due to sloppy addressing. It would be a shame not to score a profitable client just because of such a mistake. So, if you want your email to be delivered to the right person, it’s imperative to do some research beforehand.

First of all, search the contact section on the website of the business you’re about to write to. Also, check if their separate departments have different email addresses. If so, go through the department names to see which one you should send your business email to. That way, you’ll narrow down the potential recipients of that email and find the one you need.

Apart from that, visit the social media profiles of your individual recipients, especially their LinkedIn or profile. It might tell you a bit more about their position inside that company.

In addition, always enrich this email for an individual with some positive feedback about their work. It will grasp their attention and make your email more personalized.

Finally, always double check how the name of an individual email recipient is spelled. Today you can have business collaborators from different countries and their names can vary a lot (especially be careful with Welsh spelling J).

4. A professional business email for groups

A group message is a very common type of email. On the one hand, you can send internal emails that instruct in-house employees on work innovations. On the other, those can also be external newsletters and catalogs for business partners and customers.

So, when it comes to group emails, it’s crucial to place the new piece of information close to the beginning. For instance, if you’ve prepared a 20% discount for your loyal customers, put that sentence right after the opening line. Furthermore, that opening line should be a call to action that will guide the recipients from your target group to get to your particular offer. It should look like this:

  • The opening line: “We’ve prepared a special Christmas offer for our loyal customers.”
  • Call to action: “Save 20% on our XY products/services before and buy the XY product before 24th

Still, bear in mind that such a direct approach should be used only in a professional business email sent to your old customers. Contrary to that, winning over new clients will demand a more subtle email tone.

5. Proper ending and call to action

According to the traditional writing guidelines, the letter or email opened with “Dear XY”, i.e. with a name should end with “Yours sincerely”. On the other hand, the ending “Yours sincerely” is used when you don’t know the recipient’s name.

Nevertheless, the present-day business environment dictates a more laid-back ending of a professional business email. So, you can still finish an email to a CEO or an older business partner in a formal way. However, an email to business partners of your age can end with simple “Best regard/wishes”, “All best” or just “Best”. Again, avoid too vernacular greetings here, since won’t resonate nicely in a business email.

Also, the final part of your business email should contain your email signature and a link to your website and/or a professional online portfolio. Moreover, you can add your photo, since it’s a great way to make a positive first impression in a professional email.

Finally, invite the recipient to contact you, to discuss your potential joint business future.


Your goal is to compose a visually appealing email with informative but concise content. Following our guide will alleviate the entire process of creating a professional business email. In return, you’ll improve your chances to score a higher number of business collaborations and improve the productivity of your business.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
Let's be inbox friends!

Let's be inbox friends!

Drop us your email to receive a weekly digest of our latest blog posts right in your inbox.

To confirm your subscription, please check your email.