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Mastering Email Format: Essential Guide for Small Business Owners

Sending business emails in the right format is essential for making a good impression about your business and showing professionalism. The typical customer receives over 120 emails daily. So, whether you are a business owner or a freelancer sending a cold email to a potential client, a proper email format is crucial to getting the recipient’s attention.

In this article, we will discuss how to format your emails to achieve high email conversions. We also cover the following:

  • Best practices to properly format your emails
  • Professional email format examples
  • Advanced tips for proper email formatting

At the end of this, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of writing professional emails in the right format.

 

What Does a Proper Email Format Include?

The basic components of a professional email format include the subject line, the greeting, the email body, the closing, and the email signature. Let’s discuss each component briefly.

The subject line

The subject line is the first element of a professional email format. It is the very first point of contact an email recipient will have with your email. The subject line is like the cover of a book; it serves as a preview of what the email contains and sets the tone for the reader’s experience reading through the email.

A subject line of 33 characters or less is ideal if you want the full subject line visible on Android and Apple devices. 

Email format component: subject line
Screenshot from author’s inbox

Greeting

The next element of a professional email format is the greeting. According to a report by Business Insider, the best greeting for professional emails is “Hi [Name],” while “Hi, Everyone” is the most acceptable greeting for a mixed audience. “Dear [Name]” is a closely used alternative. 

Email greetings to avoid include “Hey” and “Hey there.” Paying attention to your email greeting is important because it helps establish rapport and a positive relationship between you and the recipient.

Email Format component: greeting
Screenshot from author’s inbox

Introduction

A brief introduction is crucial, especially in a cold email format. If you are sending a cold email, you’ll want to introduce yourself before going into why you are sending the email. It’s essential to write an introduction that grabs your recipient’s attention. Here are some quick examples:

  • I was inspired by your TED talk on [Topic].
  • Congratulations on [achievements].
  • I regularly read your blog posts and love [what you like].

The email introduction should set the pace for the body and introduce the main email content. It is important to Keep the introduction crisp and concise.

Body

The email body is arguably the most important element of a proper email format. A good body must contain the reason for sending the email and a clear CTA, whether promotional, transactional, or other types of emails. Because the body is the core of the email, it must be direct, clear, and engaging.

Email body example
Screenshot from author’s inbox

Closing 

This appears just after the email body and before the signature, signaling the email’s close. The email closing sets expectations for the response. Examples of common email closing for a professional email include:

  • Talk soon
  • Best wishes
  • Sincerely
  • Regards
  • Best 
  • Warm wishes

It’s best to tailor your email closing to fit the context of the email sent or the response you want to receive from the recipient. For instance, if your email requires a response, a more appropriate closing will be “Looking forward to your response.” 

Signature

When writing emails, it’s essential to include a professional email sign-off. The email signature comes last and typically includes contact details such as:

  • Sender’s name
  • Title
  • Company name
  • Contact information
  • and sometimes additional details like a logo, a headshot, or a link to the sender’s website or social media links.

Here’s an example of a great email signature:

Email signature example
Screenshot from author’s inbox

Types of Email Formats 

As a small business owner, you may need to send out different kinds of emails in different formats. These formats are typically combinations of the basic components of an email to suit the specific purpose of sending them, including the following.

Formal email format

A formal email begins with a formal greeting (e.g., “Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]”), followed by a concise and clear message body, and ends with a formal closing (e.g., “Sincerely,” “Best regards,”) and the sender’s name. This email format is typically used for professional emails with colleagues, clients, or business partners where a professional tone is required.

Informal email format

An informal email often starts with a casual greeting (e.g., “Hi [First Name],”), followed by a conversational message body with less formal language and structure. It ends with a friendly closing (e.g., “Cheers,” “Take care”) and the sender’s name. Informal emails are commonly used for effective communication with friends, family, or colleagues with whom you have a more informal relationship.

Other email formats

  • Marketing emails: This format has a compelling subject line, persuasive copy, and a clear call to action. They may also use visual elements such as images or videos to engage recipients and promote products or services.
  • Customer service emails: Focus on providing helpful and timely responses to customer inquiries or issues. They should be concise and polite and include all necessary information to address the customer’s concerns.
  • Internal communication emails: Used for communication within an organization. They may include updates, announcements, meeting agendas, or requests for information.

Read also: How to End an Email Appropriately: Tips & Examples

Does Tone and Style Play a Role in Email Communication?

The tone of your email helps convey your message to the recipient just as you intended. When properly used, your email tone helps elicit the correct emotions from your target audience and leads to a higher chance of conversion. 

Additionally, your email tone helps in your branding. Every brand must have a specific tone for communicating with its target audience, which must stay consistent across all marketing channels. Your email tone depends on the purpose of your sending the email and your email format.

A formal email, for example, must be direct, polite, and professional. On the other hand, informal emails allow more room for humor and similar literary devices.

Read more: Business Email Format Secrets — Write Emails That Command Attention

Best Practices For Writing An Effective Email

In this section, we will consider different components of an email and tips for writing them to improve conversion rates. 

Tips for writing a great subject line

Below are some things you should do to improve your subject lines for improved engagement and email open rates.

Segment your audience and personalize the emails

Your customers are different. They all have different personalities and needs when using your products and services. The extent to which you can cater to the needs of the different groups within your customer base is key to the success of all your marketing endeavors. 

In email marketing, it is important to identify customer preferences based on their interaction with marketing material and group customers based on specific preferences. This is called customer segmentation

Once you have segmented your audience, the next step is to cater to their unique preferences. This process of serving different options of your product and services to different groups based on their unique personalities and preferences is called personalization. 

Personalization makes the email subject line appear more relevant to the recipient, thus improving the chances of clicking the email. Personalizing your email subject lines triples the chances of your email being opened.  

Be clear and concise

When writing email subject lines, it is essential to be clear about the content of the email. Avoid vague or ambiguous language that may confuse the recipient. In addition to being clear, keep it short and scannable. 

Create urgency

Generally, humans prefer to take advantage of a good deal, especially for a needed product or service. Offering a good discount on your product and services, especially discounts with a time limit, will lead to quicker purchasing decisions. Including urgency in your email subject line has increased the open rate by more than 20%.

Tips for Writing a Great Email Body

Here are five tips for writing emails with a great email body.

Keep it simple 

When writing an email body, ensure that it is direct and does not include any complex or vague language. Remember that your email recipient has a lot of emails to go through, and it will help you keep it simple so that they can focus on the email action point.

Use short paragraphs and sentences

Today, the average Internet user’s attention span is just 8 seconds. To keep your recipient reading, it is important to deliver useful information in short sentences and paragraphs. 

I have found that sentences of at most 12-14 words and paragraphs of four to five sentences are best. Break complex sentences into shorter sentences and discuss each new idea or offer in a paragraph. 

Use bullet points

Bullet points help organize your email, highlight key points, and make it more scannable for busy readers. When writing an email with lots of information, use bullet points to list important details, action items, or benefits clearly and concisely. 

Personalize email body

Personalization is also important when writing your email content. It makes the message more relevant to the recipient and increases their chance of clicking the call to action. Include offers specific to the customer and their actions on your website. For example, customers who just purchased shoes are more likely to engage with an email about a discount on matching clothing items. 

You could also personalize email bodies based on topics your recipients have engaged with; these are topics they find useful and are more likely to engage with. This method of personalization is beneficial for publishing companies and B2B companies. 

Use a call-to-action

Including a CTA button makes it easier for your email recipients to make a purchasing decision after reading your email. They allow your email recipients to channel the emotions they elicit into a logical step. 

Call-to-action is also important for companies to guide prospective buyers through the sales process and ensure they move to the next phase. Without a call to action, many of your email recipients will read your email and find no logical step, so they will not purchase. This will lead to a falloff in your sales funnel and a lot of money wasted. 

Pro tip: Sending emails from a professional email address can make all the difference for formal emails. It helps build brand trust and promotes your brand name.

Effective Email Format Templates

This section provides email templates for a sales pitch, a customer support service email, and an internal update email to team members. Feel free to use them or draw inspiration to create your own.

Email template for a sales pitch to a potential client

Subject Line: Spring your marketing forward on your budget
I hope this email finds you well. My name is Peter, and I am the head of marketing] at Precision. I recently came across [Business Name] and was impressed by your innovative approach to using user-generated content.

At [Your Business Name], we specialize in helping businesses with varying budgets optimize their marketing strategies to drive tangible results. With our proven track record of success and over 1,500+ satisfied customer testimonials, we are confident in our ability to [Client Business Name] visibility to new heights. 

Here are three ways  we can support [Client Business Name]:

[Point one]

[Point two]

[Point three]

Would you be available for a 15-minute call to discuss your marketing needs further and how we can help?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

[Name]

[Company Position]

[Company Social Media Links]

Customer service response email template

Subject: Re: Query regarding billing issue
Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the billing issue. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Our team has thoroughly investigated your query. Rest assured, we are committed to resolving this issue promptly and ensuring your satisfaction.

Here are the steps we are taking to address your concerns:

[Step 1]

[Step 2]

[Step 3]

We value your feedback and appreciate your patience as we resolve this matter.

Thank you for choosing [Your Business Name]. 

Sincerely,

[Name]

[Company Position]

Email template for an internal update to team members

Subject: Update: Techster’s home page progress and next steps
Dear Team,

I hope this email finds you all well. I’d like to briefly update our progress regarding [Project Name] and outline the next steps. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and dedication, we have [Highlight the achievement] within the past [X] days. 

Over the next [X] days, here are the next steps we will be taking to ensure progress and completion of [Project Name] before [Deadline].

[Step 1]

[Step 2]

[Step 3]

[Step 4]

Lastly, thank you for your dedication and hard work. Seeing our team come together to achieve our goals is truly inspiring. Let’s continue striving for excellence as we work towards successfully completing [Current Project Name]. Together, I am confident we can accomplish great things.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment.

Best regards,

[Name]

[Project Position/ Company Position]

[Contact]

 

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Email

Avoiding common mistakes in email communication is essential for maintaining professionalism and effectively conveying your message. Some pitfalls to avoid include the following.

Overlooking the importance of a mobile-friendly email format

With most emails now opened on mobile devices, ensuring your emails are optimized for mobile viewing is important. Neglecting mobile optimization can result in formatting issues and a poor user experience for recipients.

Using jargon or overly complex language

Keep your language clear and concise. Express gratitude, speak in an organized manner, and go straight to the point to create a positive impression, especially when writing formal emails.

Failing to proofread

Typos and grammatical errors can detract from your email’s professionalism and undermine your message’s credibility. Always proofread your emails carefully before sending them to ensure there are no spelling mistakes.

Ignoring personalization opportunities

Personalization can greatly improve the effectiveness of your emails by making them more relevant and engaging to recipients. Failure to include a proper salutation can result in lower engagement rates and missed opportunities to connect with your audience.

Sending irrelevant or spammy content

Be mindful of the content you include in your emails and ensure it provides value to recipients. Avoid sending irrelevant or spammy content that may be perceived as intrusive or unwanted. Instead, focus on the main point and add links relevant to the email.

Advanced Email Formatting Techniques to Elevate Your Email Communication

To elevate the professionalism of your emails and stand out in crowded inboxes, here are advanced tips to format your emails:

Improve email accessibility

When designing your emails, ensure you design them for all. According to a report from WHO, more than one billion worldwide have a form of disability. Inaccessible emails have an impact on individuals with disabilities like visual impairments or those who require assistive technologies. Here are five tips to improve email accessibility:

  • Include a descriptive alt text for images.
  • Include enough white space so readers can easily navigate and understand your emails.
  • Use a single-column layout for your emails.
  • Avoid all image emails. Rather, send text-based emails with an image-to-text ratio of 80:20.
  • Ensure your color contrast is appropriate so people with visual impairments can view it.

Use HTML and plain text emails

Understand when to use each email format based on your audience and objectives. HTML emails allow for richer formatting, including images, links, and styled text, making them ideal for marketing campaigns or newsletters.

On the other hand, plain-text emails are more universal and accessible, making them suitable for transactional emails or when targeting audiences with strict email security settings.

Maintain a consistent brand voice

Maintain consistent branding elements like (fonts, colors, logo) and voice across your emails to reinforce your brand identity and increase recognition. Consistent branding helps build trust with recipients and reinforces your brand’s image in their minds.

Implement a responsive email design

Optimize your email layout for various screen sizes and devices to ensure a seamless viewing experience across desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. Use responsive design techniques such as fluid layouts and media queries to adapt your email’s formatting and layout based on the user’s screen size and orientation.

Testing and optimization 

Regularly test your email messages across different email clients, devices, and screen resolutions to identify any formatting issues or rendering inconsistencies. Use A/B testing to experiment with varying formatting elements, subject lines, or calls to action to optimize your emails and arrive at a proper format.

Conclusion

Using the correct email format when sending emails is important as it makes your email look more professional, improves clarity, and increases conversion rates. We discussed multiple helpful tips and strategies for formatting an email, whether you are a beginner or a more advanced email marketer. 

EngageBay has many professionally formatted HTML email templates you can customize for your email campaigns. Its email marketing software also comes with advanced personalization and segmentation features, ensuring you get the most out of your email marketing efforts. Sign up today to get started. 

Did you enjoy this article? What new knowledge did you acquire from reading it, and how do you intend to use it to improve your email campaign? Share your answers in the comment section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best length for an email?

The ideal email length will depend on the type of email you are sending. The ideal length for an email newsletter is about 200 words. For promotional or transactional emails, 100 to 200 words are ideal. 

Use bullet points to highlight key points and organize your email body.

How can I make my emails stand out in a crowded inbox?

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for standing out in a crowded inbox. However, optimizing your email subject lines, properly segmenting your email list, and sending emails at the right time are great tips for making your emails stand out. 

Is it appropriate to use emojis or GIFs in business emails?

Yes, emojis and GIFs can be used in some business emails, such as in the email body, subject line, or email closing. However, using them requires some tact. Also, avoiding using them when sending cold emails or formal communication with potential clients is best. 

How often should I follow up if I don’t receive a reply?

When sending emails to your clients, waiting 2-3 business days before sending another one, except in emergencies, is advisable. Do not send follow-up emails more than twice. If the client does not respond after the third email, it is best to move on and remove the client from your mailing list.

About The Author

1 thought on “Mastering Email Format: Essential Guide for Small Business Owners”

  1. Raihanie Ayunan

    What a helpful guide! As a small business owner, I struggle with email format. Looking forward to trying out these tips. Any personal experiences or additional advice from fellow entrepreneurs?

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