Whether you’re an up-and-coming young professional or a seasoned manager, email writing is a vital aspect of business communication. And thanks to what’s often seen as the mysteries of English grammar and the subtleties of the written word, it can be a daily struggle. That’s especially true if you have to motivate busy people to respond or address a potentially touchy subject. To write a great email, you need to know two things: common mistakes to avoid, and next-level strategies to get ahead.
But first things first—you have to know what a great email looks like if you’re going to write one.Here’s a tip: Whether you’re writing an email, creating a presentation, or just sending a quick tweet, Grammarly can help! Try Grammarly’s app to make your writing cleaner and more impressive.Write perfect emails.Grammarly can help.GET GRAMMARLY
Anatomy of a good email
Every email you write has the same basic structure: Subject line, greeting, email body, and closing. But as with every written form of professional communication, there’s a right way to do it and standards that should be followed. Here’s how to write a proper email:
1 Subject line
The subject line could be the most important part of the email, though it’s often overlooked in favor of the email body. But if you’re cold-emailing someone, or just establishing a professional relationship, your subject line can entice people to open the message as well as set expectations about what’s enclosed. On the other hand, a poorly crafted or generic subject line (like “Hi” or “You don’t wAnt to miss thos”) can deter the reader and result in your email landing in the spam folder.
“Spend double the amount of time crafting the right subject line as you do on the [body] because if they don’t open the email, it doesn’t matter,” says Cole Schafer, founder and copy chief of Honey Copy.
In most email writing situations, you’ll want to include a quick greeting to acknowledge the reader before diving into your main message or request.
The exception: When you’re on an email chain with close colleagues, it often becomes more natural to drop the opener (as well as the closing). Though it may initially feel like a faux pas, it signals a better professional rapport.
The body of an email is the meat of your message, and it must have a clear and specific purpose, such as getting feedback on a presentation or arranging a meeting with a new client. It should also be concise. That way, people will be more inclined to read it, rather than skimming it and risking missing critical information. If you can, boil it down to a few choice sentences.
And for emails that require more length and detail, keep it as focused as you can. “Nobody wants to receive a novel. You want to keep it between three, four, or five lines of text,” says Schafer.
Just as you want to start things off on the right foot with your greeting, you also want to part well. That means writing a friendly sign-off. And there are plenty of options to choose from.
For example, here are 12 common, and professional, closings that Grammarly users chose on a given day:
You’ll want to choose a closing that feels genuine to your personality and tailor it to the relationship to ensure an appropriate level of professionalism. On the other hand, common closings like “love,” “sent from iphone,” or “thx,” may be best left unused in professional emails.