6 Steps to Writing the Perfect Business Email

A staggering 269 billion emails are sent every day and this number is projected to keep growing! In the office, emails have slowly replaced other forms of communication, including fax, mail, and even formal memos.

During this transformation, emails have also become more casual. Emoji use increased by 775% between 2015 and 2016, and it’s estimated that more than one in ten emails contain a GIF. Short and casual emails can be helpful in the workplace where people have to sort through hundreds of emails per day, while being careful not to miss anything important.

But when it comes to business emails, how casual is too casual?

Here are the six steps you should follow to ensure your emails put your best foot forward!

1. Subject lines should be short and direct.

An email subject line is not like the title of a novel. Its main purpose should not be to draw the reader in or create curiosity. In a subject line, you shouldn’t be afraid to give too much away.
Rather, a good subject line accurately and succinctly lets the reader know exactly what they can expect in the content.

Can you answer this question?


Something bad happened in the breakroom

More info for you

Info request for upcoming newsletter

NEED YOUR APPROVAL – Roth Staffing Contract

2nd floor breakroom closed temporarily

FYI on month-end/no response needed


2. Keep it brief and polite.

When you’re getting a new email every five minutes, you don’t have time to read through chunky paragraphs just to find the question or request. While being polite and professional is important, so is being concise. Make sure the purpose of your message is nice and clear.

Dear Monica,

I hope you are having a wonderful Monday morning and that the gloomy weather isn’t getting you down. During this morning’s meeting someone raised concern that the new hire welcome booklet we created in 2017 is in dire need of updating. However, it seems that I do not have a copy of said booklet at my desk. I was hoping you either had a copy or knew how I could go about obtaining one.

Please let me know your thoughts at your earliest convenience.



Dear Monica,

Would you happen to have a copy of the new hire welcome booklet or do you know how I could obtain one? We are working on ensuring the content is up-to-date.



However, don’t be so concise that you eliminate the body of the email in its entirety. This can be seen as rude or unprofessional. Even if you ask your question in the subject line, there should ALWAYS be content in the body. At the very minimum, restate your request.

3. Design for readability.

Crazy fonts and miniscule type have no place in business emails. Generally, it’s best to stick to your email application’s default font, but if you truly want to change it, make sure you choose a professional and legible font in black standard 11- or 12-point size.

Hey Sandy!

I just wanted to let you know there are DONUTS in the breakroom!

Hey Sandy!

I just wanted to let you know there are donuts in the breakroom.


4. Set up your signature.

Most email applications will let you set your default email signature. This will appear in every email you send (even replies). Your signature should contain your name, title, and contact information. Other elements, such as logos or your company’s slogan, are optional.

Be wary not to overpack your signature with unnecessary images or motivational quotes. These can also be seen as unprofessional.


Sofia Lopez

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” -Carol Burnett


Sofia Lopez

Marketing Writer, Roth Staffing Companies

T: 555-0101

F: 555-0202


5. Avoid informal language and nicknames—at least at first.

As email evolves, emojis, GIFs, and memes are becoming normal ways to express yourself. However, in the business world, you must approach these elements with caution.

Unless you are very close to the email recipient, maintain a professional and conservative tone. Do not shorten their names or include smiley faces in your message. When in doubt, wait for the other person to set a more casual tone, and then you can follow suit.

Heyy Bob! 🙂

I wanted to follow up on those reports from IT. The big boss is putting pressure on me to move forward with the project!

Hi, Robert!

I wanted to follow up on those reports from IT. We need them in order to move forward with the project. 🙁


6. Double check your work.

The most important part about sending a work email is to proofread your text. Spelling and grammar errors detract from your message. They can be distracting to many readers and damage your credibility.

Read over your email at least once before pressing send. Make sure you’ve spelled the recipient’s name right and haven’t made any obvious typos. If it’s an important email to be sent company-wide or to an executive, have a colleague read it for you.

To: Jon Parker

Hi John,

I wanted to congratulate you on you’re amazing work on that presentation. More than one person remarked on it’s success and their all very impressed.

To: Jon Parker

Hi Jon,

I wanted to congratulate you on your amazing work on that presentation. More than one person remarked on its success and they’re all very impressed.