Guide on How To Write an Email

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Owing to its speed and efficiency, email is one of the most popular forms of communication, both within and outside the workplace. You can compose and send out emails for a variety of purposes. Whatever the objective is, a well-written email indicates your professionalism and integrity to the recipient through a clear, concise and actionable message. In this article, we outline how to write an email that is proper and professional, as well as how to choose the most appropriate greeting and closing to suit your audience.

How to write an email

Every email you write contains the same fundamental elements: a subject line, a salutation, the email body, closing and finally, a signature. As with any written form of professional correspondence, there's a proper method to do it and standards to observe. Here's some guidance on how to write an email properly:

1. Subject line

This is a brief statement that outlines the purpose of your message or the aim of your communication. Whether you're cold-emailing or developing a business relation with someone, your subject line can both persuade individuals to open the message, create expectations for what's within and allow your audience to quickly locate the message if necessary. A poorly phrased or overly generic subject line may dissuade the reader to do so and send your email to the spam bin.

Example: Follow Up: Site Layout

2. Salutation

The salutation is the first thing your reader sees when they open your email, and it states who you're writing to. This is the opening line of your email and serves as your greeting. You'll want to include a brief welcome to recognise the reader before going into your primary message or request. The greeting you select can set the tone for the rest of the email.

Example: Hi Ms. Lim,

3. Body

Just like the body of a letter, the body of an email is the substance of your correspondence and needs to have a clear and defined goal. Simultaneously, it also has to be concise and brief to allow the recipients to better comprehend the content and avoid missing any important information. In instances where the emails demand greater length and information, try to keep them as condensed and targeted as possible.

Example: Thank you for sharing the revised site layout this morning. I've attached our preliminary comments for you and your team to consider. Kindly let me know if you need further information or suggestions.

4. Closing

You want to end your email by leaving a good impression, just as you want to start your email well. The closing is the final line of your email before your signature, and it has to conclude your message. You may also repeat any requests you made in the body of your email here and reiterate the call to action.

Example: I look forward to meeting you on Friday. Thanks again!

5. Signature

Lastly, select a courteous and suitable complimentary closing and sign your name at the bottom of the letter. There are a lot of alternatives to select from, such as “Sincerely”, “Respectfully” or “Best Regards”. Consequently, inscribe your signature below the sign-off. In the email signature, you can include your name, position and other information pertinent to your correspondence. Most email applications enable you to configure a fixed signature that can be appended to the end of every email you send.

Amy Cheng
Senior Software Developer
Malio Corporation

How do you start an email?

View every email as a chance to build mutual respect and rapport with your recipients. You're more likely to make a good first impression if you start your email with a strong opening sentence. Such an impression can further persuade your recipients to read the entire message of your email and take any necessary call to action. Be mindful of these practices when writing the start of your email:

Ensure the right spelling of the names you mention

If you misspell your recipient's name, they may have the wrong impression and feel disrespected. That said, if you have not verified the spelling of their name, they may believe that you may be less attentive to key information as well. Ensure you spell your recipients' names correctly to guarantee your entire email is read carefully and to establish connections with them.

Maintain a professional tone

It may be tempting to include a humorous greeting, smiling emoji or exclamation marks in an email greeting to appear amicable or passionate. Be mindful that your intention may not always come across perfectly to the recipient. It's always preferable to steer clear of slang and demonstrate professionalism through minimalism.

Understand your target audience

Customise your opening greeting to your recipients. If you know the recipient well, a more casual greeting may be acceptable and preferred. Your greeting may also differ depending on whether you're addressing a single individual, a small group or a large group. Remember to ensure that your welcome is appropriate for the individuals to whom you're writing.

Read more: 6 Ways To Start Your Email Right

What are some email opening examples?

Listed below are some examples of greeting to start your email. We have tailored some examples to address the different scenarios you may encounter. As discussed in the above-mentioned guide, be mindful to choose a greeting that suits your recipient and intention for writing:

For an email to one to two recipients:

  • Dear [Name],

  • Dear [Name] and [Name],

  • Hello [Name],

  • Hi [Name],

  • [Name],

For an email to three or more recipients:

  • Hello everyone,

  • [Group name],

  • Hi team,

  • Hi all,

  • Good morning,

  • Good afternoon,

  • Good evening,

When you're unsure of the recipient's name:

  • Dear Sir,

  • Dear Madam,

  • Dear Sir or Madam,

  • Hi,

  • Hello,

  • Greetings,

How do you write a professional email?

To understand more about how to begin writing a professional email, you can refer to our guide below:

1. Identify your objective

Before you compose an email, consider what you'd like the receiver to do after reading it. Once you've identified the goal of your email, make sure that everything in it supports that activity. For instance, if you'd like the recipient to evaluate a report you've attached, tell them what the report entails, why do you need them to go over it, what kind of input you're looking for and when you require it.

2. Know your recipient

When writing an email, ensure that your tone is appropriate for the recipient. For instance, if you're contacting a corporate leader you've never officially met, keep the email professional and steer clear of any informalities or jokes. In contrast, if you're contacting a coworker with whom you have an excellent working relationship, you may take a less official, friendlier approach.

3. Keep it succinct

Keep in mind that your recipient may not have much time to open and read your email. That's why it's good to keep the email as succinct as possible, while still including all the essential information. Avoid addressing too many topics at once, since this can make your message excessively long, difficult to read and challenging to act on. Remove material that is unrelated to the issue you're addressing while revising your email. Remove filler phrases and irrelevant information, and use brief sentences to get your point across. By doing so, your letter can be concise and easier to read.

4. Proofread and review your email

An error-free email displays attention to detail and professionalism. Take some time before sending the email to double-check for spelling, grammatical and syntax problems. Moreover, double-check that you include any attachments you mentioned in your reply. If it's an essential email to key stakeholders, you can have a reliable coworker or immediate supervisor review it prior to you sending it.

5. Demonstrate proper etiquette

To come across as pleasant and polite, provide a courteous and proper salutation and closing. Moreover, be mindful of the recipient as well as their time. For instance, unless there's an emergency, avoid emailing them asking for something while they're on leave or after-hours.

Related: 15 Out of Office Messages for Professionals

6. Remember to follow up

Because most individuals receive many emails every day, they may overlook and forget to reply to your message. If the receiver hasn't responded within two business days, try sending a pleasant and polite follow-up email. This way, you can ensure that you catch your recipient's attention and possibly provide them with value through your emails.

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