At the office, email is usually the primary tool for communicating. It keeps record of conversations between employees and provides a reference for important information. But there’s a right and a wrong way to send an office email.
Follow this simple guide to write a proper office email from beginning to end.
Your subject line should either be short and direct, or focus on the email’s value to the recipient. An Office email to a coworker or supervisor should have a brief but clear subject line that lets them know what the email is all about. However, an email to a customer or prospect should usually read as “upbeat” and informative to encourage them to open your message. Limit your subject line to five or seven words, so people know exactly why you’re contacting them.
Many people make the mistake of beginning an office email with the phrase “Dear Sir,” or “Dear Mr./Ms. [recipient’s last name]”. This might have been appropriate once, but now it can feel old-fashioned and off-putting. Instead of these outdated greetings, you can simply say, “Hello [Recipient’s first name],” and begin the body of your email.
If you’re writing a “cold email,” (one to someone who doesn’t know you), you might feel inclined to take a paragraph to introduce yourself — but don’t. The sooner you get to the point of the email, the better. Your name and a short sentence about who you are should be enough.
Ideally, the body of your office email should be three to five sentences, unless you are sending an important email regarding a company issue or announcement. Day-to-day emails don’t need to be longer than five sentences. They should consist of very short paragraphs, rather than one long paragraph, because it’s easier to read.
You should provide some context to explain why you’re contacting the person, unless you’re just sending a request. But don’t give too many details — emails should take less than a minute to read. Your first sentence should provide the context, the second informs the recipient what you need or what questions you have. The third lets the recipient know when and how they can best contact you. If you need an answer by a specific time, the last sentence is also a good place to put the deadline. Just make sure to do it tactfully, so that the other person doesn’t feel put off by the demand.
You should have an email signature template that you can easily paste or insert into every email you send. It provides all the information someone needs to contact you, and can include a call-to-action at the end. Many companies design their own signatures, but here’s a generic template you can use:
If you’re not sure how to email customers, or you’re unsure whether to email or call, ask your supervisor for help. But with this guide, you should be able to send professional emails that get the desired results.