“Almighty King of the Andals and the First Men, protector of the realm and ruler of Westeros.
I humbly beg thee to shine upon us your infinite wisdom and reply to the email I sent Tuesday. Yes, that was almost a w-e-e-k ago…”
Emails come in all sorts and forms. You might write to your boss, the pope, queen Elizabeth or a childhood friend you met at a party while drunk, and stupidly suggested to “grab a beer soon”. Each type of email calls for a different tone and atmosphere. Setting the tone is as important as the actual words. You might offer a great business proposal, but if you come across as inappropriate you just buried the deal.
This post will give you some pointers on how to write a professional email.
What is a professional email:
First, it is key to distinct between a formal email to a professional email. While a formal email is usually sent to an official recipient, an old timer who’d appreciate it, or when dealing with legal matters, most interactions would require a professional email rather than a formal one.
As a rule, if you are discussing business, whether you are sending a cold email, a proposal, negotiating a deal or closing one, you should make sure to write a professional email. People appreciate a PRO and might be less inclined to work with someone who “doesn’t get the situation” and is too familiar.
Of course, it all depends on the specific person you email. For example, while you’d think the Queen would prefer a formal email, we usually text using Whatsapp. She hearts emojis. ,
How to construct a professional email:
- Emails open with… with an opening.
Start with “Dear”. It’s respectful, formal and pretty common. But Dear who? Dear John, or Dear Miriam, are great options. If you want to take it a step further, add Mr or Mrs. as in “Dear Mr. Brown” or “Dear Mrs. Hopkins”.
- Continue with a quick explanation about yourself
Briefly state who you are and the reason you are writing this email. It can be a nice touch to add a compliment or thank the recipient for taking the time to read this. For example, “It’s John White, we’ve briefly met at the conference last Tuesday. I was very impressed with what you said regarding the state of Social Media and thought I’d share with you an idea that I have”.
- And explain what it is all about
That’s the main part of the email. Here you should describe what you want to offer or ask. Make sure to use relevant wordings and phrases relating to the profession (to make it clear that you know what you are talking about) but don’t exaggerate and don’t use too many buzzwords. Since nobody likes to read long emails, keep it short. If they are interested give more details in the follow up. It’s also smart to use an example rather than talk in general (e.g. “just imagine yourself in a car dealership, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable buying from a salesperson who’s a golden retriever?”)
- But don’t forget what’s in it for them.
You are nice and all, but no one will take much of an effort if there’s nothing in it for them. Here’s where you should explain how they will benefit from your idea financially, socially or by growing their brand. “You will of course, get a considerable commission for any of the new traffic resulting from this venture”
- End the email with a concise and clear call to action
Do not ask for more than one thing. It’s confusing. “It’d be great if you can check out our website. And also, please share it with your friends. Oh, and will appreciate your feedback”.
Do not ask for anything vague. “Would be great to hear from you about this”
Be exact and leave no room for doubt “Please let me know if we can meet this Thu at 2pm” or “Can you share the proposal with your partner and see if we can all do a conference call to settle the details?”
- A polite closing
It’s not a bad idea to close with “Best regards” or “Thanks for taking the time to read this”, but it’s much better to finish with something like “Looking forward to hearing from you” or even with the call to action described in the last bulletpoint “Should I call you Monday?”
- And a professional email signature
A professional email signature can make a good email great. It can convey your professionalism, showcase your portfolio, show your latest content and of course, put your face to the email so they know who they just interacted with. There are quite a few email signature solution but only one WiseStamp. You can setup an outstanding professional email signature in less than a minute and add to it Email Apps to make it more effective (“schedule a meeting”, “RSS feed”, “my latest tweet” “let’s connect on LinkedIn” and many more).
To sum up, trust your instincts, be respectful but not too stuck up and formal. Start off with a short introduction of what is your interest to writing that email, continue with the main point of the email as well as what’s in it for the recipient. Finish up with a call to action and a clear sign off.