Parts of a Business Email

By Beth Bartlett

Email has become an essential form of business communication. Although personal email is informal, emailing for business requires professionalism and courtesy. The basic parts of a paper business letter apply to Internet correspondence as well.

Subject

Make the subject line brief and accurate. Avoid using designations that could trigger the recipient's spam filter, such as "Re," a traditional office memo abbreviation for "Regarding," or "Fwd," which means a forwarded email message. Always fill in the subject line; leaving it blank also could kick your message into the spam folder.

Salutation

Use a professional salutation for business email messages. "Dear Mr. Foster" creates a much better impression than "Hey, Bob" and reflects your image as a business person. Leave a blank line after the salutation, then begin the body of the email. This pattern makes the entire message easier for the recipient to read.

Body

Follow standard business letter guidelines for your email's body. Use polite language to make a request or explain a point. If you're not sure the recipient will remember you or if you're making contact for the first time, introduce yourself in the first line. "Thank you for speaking with me last Thursday regarding the Johnson contract" will jog the recipient's memory before you get into the details of the business at hand.

Signature

Add a blank line after the body of the email, again to make the message easier on the eyes, then end the message with a polite sign-off, such as "Yours truly," "Sincerely" or even "Thanks." After your name, add your email address, phone number. your title with the company and even the office's address if desired. This offers the recipient all your contact information in one place.

Read Twice, Send Once

Before hitting "Send," reread the email to search for problems: Is the recipient's email address correct in the "To" field, is there an appropriate line in the "Subject" field and is the message free from spelling, context or grammatical errors. Double-check your signature and contact information as well.

Stay Professional

Use only black text on a white background. Pick a businesslike font, such as Times New Roman or Courier. Do not use colored, curvy fonts, graphics-heavy backgrounds, emoticons or Internet slang, such as "LOL" (Laughing Out Loud). Avoid typing a message in all capital letters, which is considered yelling in text form. If you're sending a business email to a large number of recipients, use the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) option. That way, each reader's email address is protected and less likely to end up on someone's spam list.