Business Email: Format & Structure And How to Write One

Sumita Johnson, Annette Lara
  • Author
    Sumita Johnson

    Sumita Johnson has worked as an instructional design manager and a learning and development professional for more than 15 years. She has also taught English to Primary and high-school students. She has a Masters degree in English Literature. She also has numerous professional certificates, such as 150-hour TESOL Certificate, Gamification, TAA40104 in Training and Assessment, Online Course Facilitation and Diplomas in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) and Information Technology.

  • Instructor
    Annette Lara

    Annette is an accomplished business professional with expertise in Healthcare Operations and has a masters degree in Business Administration.

Discover the business email format. Explore the email structure, learn how to format a professional email, and view an example of a standard email format. Updated: 12/23/2021

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Business Email Format

A business email is written to an unknown person or someone in authority to communicate and/or do business with. The tone of a business email is formal, friendly, and yet professional.

It's imperative that the business email format be used for professional communication. The objective of writing a business email is to be taken seriously. It is not a casual email, and it shouldn't be taken as one. Using a business email format helps get the work done at the earliest possible. This is a win-win situation for both the receiver and the sender of the business email.

Parts of a Business Email

A business email structure has various parts, such as:

  • The subject line
  • The salutation or the greeting
  • The purpose of the email
  • The details
  • Call to action
  • The signature

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  • 0:03 The Business Email
  • 0:50 Structure
  • 1:53 CC & BCC
  • 2:51 Reply & Reply All
  • 3:38 Length & Tone
  • 5:51 Lesson Summary
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How To Format a Business Email

It is important to structure and format the business email properly. The different parts of a business email must be incorporated into the email and be maintained in that order. Every part of the business email is structured in order to provide clarity and meaning to the email. It should be maintained before sending out the email so as to get its maximum benefit.

The length of the business email should be kept short. The lengthier it gets, the more it loses its purpose. In today's day and age, no one has the time to read a copious amount of text, leave aside a business email that only means business. The tone must be kept friendly yet professional.

Email Address Format

Here are some essential parts of the email address format.

  • To - This section contains the email addresses of people to whom the email is addressed. Any number of email addresses or a group of email addresses can be inserted in this field. Each email address must be separated by a comma or a semicolon. Everyone on this list can see each other's email id. Generally, people addressed in this field are the primary people with whom the transaction is being made or done.
  • CC - CC stands for Carbon Copy and comes from the olden days when business letters were written on paper and by hand. Each time, a copy of the letter had to be served to another person in charge; another carbon copy was made by keeping a carbon sheet underneath the main letter. This would help create as many copies as needed. The jargon still continues to this day, and so does the purpose. Everyone mentioned on the CC list knows who all it's being marked and sent to. They can also see their email addresses.
  • BCC - BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy. This field contains the email addresses of people who don't have an active role to play in the business transaction but still need to be informed. While people addressed in this category can see the addresses mentioned in To and CC, the reverse is not possible.
  • Reply - Once an email is received, the receiver can choose to reply only to the sender or to everyone marked on the email. When 'Reply' is chosen to send the email, the reply is sent only to the sender.
  • Reply All - If the receiver chooses to send a reply to all the people marked on the email by hitting the 'Reply All' button, then everyone marked on the email receives a reply.

While sending the email to more than one person, it is important to take into account the people marked in the CC and the BCC fields.

While sending the email to more than one person, it is important to take into account the people marked in the CC and the BCC fields.

Subject Line

The subject line of a business email should be short, concise, and meaningful. It should be able to convey the gist of the email. The sender must write the subject line in such a manner that the receiver understands the matter in one read. A well-written subject line can determine whether it is trustworthy and if it will be opened by the receiver or not. A general rule of thumb is to write a subject line between six to ten words. Also, a relevant subject line helps to find it from within thousands of emails later.

Greeting

The tone of the greeting or the salutation must be friendly yet professional. It should neither be too casual nor too direct, curt, or devoid of friendliness. Keeping it in the right balance is the trick to a great salutation. In a business email, the greeting directly addresses the recipient.

Purpose

The purpose of the email must gently let the reader or the receiver know the reason for writing the email. It should be clear, succinct, and precise.

Details

This is where the details of why the email is being written go. There is a reason for which a business email is being written. It is for business or work and means business. Hence, it is imperative that the tone be kept professional and to the point. There is no need for beating around the bush. The receiver is also probably someone who receives and sends several emails during a typical workday and would like to receive emails with clear instructions and a call to action. This helps expedite the work and deliver results on time.

One of the biggest mistakes to make while writing a business email is to not check it for spelling or grammar-related errors. Reading an email ridden with errors leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a professional email format?

A professional email format is where all the parts of a professional email are maintained well. For example, using the CC or the BCC appropriately, or using the 'Reply' or the 'Reply All' function. If the company asks, it is important to sign off the email with a Disclaimer.

What is the structure of an email?

It's important to maintain the complete and proper structure of the business email. This includes ordering and completing the various parts, such as:

• The subject line

• The salutation or the greeting

• The purpose of the email

• The details

• Call to action

• The signature:

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