How to Write a Business Email: Business Email Etiquette

The importance of email as a business tool can’t be underestimated. With 3.9 billion active email users, failing to take advantage of such a communication system is out of the question.

When it comes to writing business-related messages, you need to follow certain business email etiquette rules. Even though it’s possible to get your idea through without them, poorly written emails are likely to end up in the trash, or worse, in the spam folder.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to write a formal business email and discuss the etiquette.

1. Set Up a Professional Email Address

Before learning how to write a business email, you need to create the right address. A professional address should either contain the name of your company or your name and last name.

Proper examples are and Never use personal emails that sound like “coolbabe” or “mrsandman”. When people receive an email from such a sender, they may not take it seriously.

2. Use a Clear Subject Line

The recipients should understand what you are planning to talk about simply by reading the subject line. This can help them figure out the urgency of the message and plan their time accordingly.

Based on the subject line, people decide whether to open the email now, later or not at all. So if you have something urgent to share, the subject line must reflect it.

3. Check Your Mailing List

Choosing your recipients carefully is part of the business email etiquette. If you haven’t emailed a person in a while, make sure the address is still active. For long email lists, you can take advantage of email validators. They can help you identify inactive contacts.

4. Think Before Clicking “Reply to All

When you get an email sent to you and 20 other people, think twice before replying to it with the “reply to all” button. If the email asks you to confirm your attendance at the meeting or conference, the rest of the recipients don’t need to know about it. Reply to the sender and allow others to do the same. No one wants to get 20 “Confirmed’ emails in their inbox.

5. Sign the Email Properly

One of the best email etiquette tips is signing the letter properly. Forget about “best regards, John”. Who is John anyway? You have to share sufficient information to help the recipient identify you.

Best regards,

John Smith

Marketing Manager at Flower Entertainment


That’s what a proper signature should look like.

6. Use the Right Closings for Business Emails

Don’t end your email with “bye”, “thanks”, or worse, nothing but a signature. Formal business emails should have proper closings, such as regards, sincerely or best wishes. For casual emails, you can use “cheers” and “thanks in advance”.

7. Maintain Single Format

Stick to the same font size and color throughout your email. The abundance of colors and fonts could make your message hard to read and impossible to skim through. Some recipients may decide against reading such emails.

Email etiquette for business also involves reducing the number of exclamation marks. Use them sparingly. Otherwise, the formal message may turn into an exciting and nervous narration.

8. Use Professional Salutations for Business Emails

Salutations for business emails shouldn’t sound like “hiya, all” or “Hey, guys”. Such phrases immediately reduce the credibility of your message. If your business email is casual, you can write “Hi”. In the majority of cases, you should stick to “hello” and “dear all”.

When you address someone personally, use the full name. Forget about “Hey, Dan!”. Your salutation should sound like “Hello Daniel” unless you are absolutely sure the person prefers to be called “Dan”.

9. Eliminate Humor

More often than not, it’s hard to be humorous on paper. Jokes usually require facial expressions and gesticulations to be understood. In a business email, you have neither. That’s why what may sound like a good joke to you could appear strange and unprofessional to others.

Try to eliminate humor from your business emails not to bewilder your recipients. Of course, some humor may be suitable for casual business emails. But you have to be sure it sounds appropriate.

10.  Reply to All Business Emails

While you are learning how to write a proper business email, you should remember some etiquette rules for recipients as well. Try to answer all business emails that you receive. Even if it’s just a couple of words, you have to show that you’ve received and read the message.

In case you get an email that isn’t intended for you, reply anyway. Let the person know about the mistake, otherwise important information may not reach the right recipient.

11.   Proofread Messages

Silly mistakes and typos take the credibility out of your email. Meanwhile, they could be viewed as a sign of disrespect. You may want to take advantage of such programs as Grammarly to catch your grammar mistakes. Check the message twice to avoid misunderstandings.

If the business email is highly important, you may want to ask someone else to proofread it before sending it.

12.  Enter the Address Last

You don’t want to send a half-baked email to your recipient. That’s why you should always enter the email address after the message is written and proofread. Hitting the “send” button accidentally is easy. Explaining your error to the recipient is embarrassing.

13.   Be Careful About Sensitive Information

No matter how serious you are about security, the recipient may not be. So avoid sending sensitive information over email unless you are 100% sure about security. Ideally, you should use other methods to exchange such data.  

14.   Avoid “High Priority” Tag When Possible

Many email providers give you the option of using the “high priority” tag to make your email appear highly important in the recipient’s inbox. Try not to use this option unless what you are sending is a truly high priority. Otherwise, people will consider it a crying wolf and ignore truly important messages from you in the future.

Final Thoughts

Following business email etiquette is vital to establish good communication with your clients, partners, and coworkers. Take advantage of the above tips to make sure your next email follows the rules.

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