Learn how to format an e-mail

how to format an email

Electronic mail has come a good distance from merely being the digital equal of a letter — an estimated 330 billion emails are despatched each single day. So getting your e-mail opened, learn, and acted on is just not a simple job.

In lots of situations, informal language and unfastened formatting are wonderful, and even emojis have slipped into the e-mail lexicon. Nevertheless, sure events name for a extra formal construction and figuring out the right way to format an e-mail to swimsuit this function is essential.

This information will train you the inflexible construction to observe when crafting a proper e-mail. We’ll additionally talk about formatting for 2 other forms of emails essential within the fashionable enterprise world: advertising emails and people despatched for chilly gross sales outreach.

Let’s dive proper into it.

Desk of contents:

Learn how to format an e-mail for enterprise or different formal emails

Formal e-mail messages observe a particular construction, a lot as a proper enterprise letter. There are a number of cases the place the formal e-mail format is crucial to indicate respect.

These embody:

  • Conducting enterprise with somebody new
  • Formal enterprise environments (authorized, for instance)
  • Discussing a job alternative 
  • Contacting a professor or different skilled skilled for steering

As cultural norms proceed to vary and enterprise environments change into increasingly more informal, it’s usually finest to ask in case you’re not sure whether or not to ship a proper e-mail. If unsure, go formal.

Okay, let’s get into the formatting.

1. Topic line 

The primary part is the topic line. That is displayed on the high of the e-mail, above even the e-mail deal with, and tells the reader what your e-mail is about.

email subject line screenshot
Electronic mail topic traces are vital

The topic line reveals up first on unopened emails, so it’s essential to get this proper. It must set the tone with a wonderful first impression.

Email subject line illustration
Electronic mail topic line is the very first thing readers see

Title case (as in Email Subject Line) is usually learn as extra formal than sentence case (as in Email subject line), so stick with this when crafting skilled emails.

When writing a proper e-mail, your topic line should make what the e-mail is about clear and apparent.

Whereas an off-the-cuff e-mail can use a topic line like “Your reserving,” a proper e-mail must be extra informative. As an example, “Reserving Affirmation For Physician’s Appointment – 1/4/22, 2 pm.”

2. Greeting/salutation 

The go-to formal salutation is Expensive, as in “Expensive John,”. Notice using a comma after the recipient’s identify, which is vital in formal e-mail writing. Like in a proper enterprise letter, it’s additionally widespread to make use of a title like Mr., Mrs., or Dr., and the final identify in sure enterprise emails, e.g., “Expensive Mr. Smith,”.

Greetings reminiscent of “hey,” “hello,” and “hiya” are thought-about casual, so they’re finest for informal emails.

When you don’t know precisely who will obtain your e-mail, chances are you’ll use the salutation “To whom it might concern,”.

At all times analysis the individual you’re emailing and use their right identify and title every time potential. Solely use a generic greeting when you’ll be able to’t know who will obtain it, for instance, in case you’re emailing to enchantment a parking wonderful.

3. Electronic mail physique 

Your e-mail must be concise and to the purpose — no one likes receiving an essay in e-mail type, even in formal conditions.

There aren’t any arduous and quick guidelines round e-mail size, however the perfect follow is to say what it is advisable to say in as little house as potential.

Different conventions to keep in mind embody:

  • Protecting your paragraphs brief — Not more than 2–3 sentences per paragraph
  • Avoiding slang, abbreviations, and colloquialisms 
  • Introducing what the e-mail is for within the first paragraph (“This e-mail is to tell you that…)

4. Closing 

Lastly, shut off your e-mail with a brief comment reminiscent of “Yours sincerely,”. There are fairly a number of formal e-mail closings which are appropriate for skilled emails:

  • Regards
  • Sort regards
  • Finest regards
  • Heat regards
  • Sincerely
  • Yours sincerely
  • Yours faithfully
  • Cordially
  • Respectfully
formal email signoffs
Widespread formal signoffs for e-mail

All are formal, so you’ll be able to select the choice you’re feeling displays your character. 

You might also embody an e-mail signature together with your related contact data if the e-mail recipient desires to achieve out by means of one other medium (maybe they should name you to debate your e-mail additional).

In fact, your e-mail signature doesn’t have to look precisely like this, nevertheless it ought to clarify who you might be, what you do, and a strategy to attain you, like your cellphone quantity.

Nearly all of emails received’t have to observe this construction. Informal conversations between mates and even emails to colleagues usually don’t should be so inflexible.

Learn how to format a chilly e-mail for gross sales outreach 

Whereas many firms now use an inbound mannequin for long-term natural development, chilly e-mail outreach nonetheless has a spot and is usually a highly effective device for manufacturers to shortly get in entrance of recent prospects.

An e-mail is “chilly” when the recipient doesn’t know the sender and isn’t anticipating the e-mail.

When you promote software program to different companies and select to ship an e-mail to a listing of firms that may profit out of your product, that may be a chilly gross sales e-mail.

1. Craft a click-worthy topic line 

The primary hurdle with chilly outreach is getting your e-mail opened, which 69.3% of emails fail at. Which means it is advisable to craft a persuasive e-mail topic line if you’d like your emails opened.

Listed below are a number of finest practices to spice up your e-mail open charges:

  • Use a query to construct intrigue
  • Leverage referrals (“XYZ instructed I attain out”)
  • Be real and sincere (i.e., don’t write deceptive topic traces)
  • Personalize the place potential (“Hey, I noticed your publish on LinkedIn about…”)
  • Concentrate on buyer ache factors (“Battling X?”)
  • Maintain it concise — 6–10 phrases is the candy spot
email subject line length
Best e-mail topic line size

2. Maintain your intro brief, candy, and honest 

Talking of concision, preserve your intro (properly, your entire e-mail, actually) brief and candy. Instantly clarify why you’re emailing.

Don’t play the “I’ve simply bought a query for you” sport if that’s not the precise intention of your e-mail. Folks admire candor, and so they hate having their time wasted.

Utilizing the prospect’s identify helps you identify rapport and never appear to be you fired the identical e-mail off to 500 completely different e-mail addresses (even when you’ve got).

Maintain the copy customer-centric, as in “We need to enable you to pace up your workflows and regain time in your workday” moderately than “We’re a piece productiveness platform.”

Keep away from being imprecise, however strive the place potential to maintain your e-mail brief. The perfect size of an e-mail is usually between 50 and 125 phrases, with emails of this size seeing response charges above 50%.

3. Present worth upfront 

Everyone knows that the final word goal of your chilly e-mail is to get a sale (though step one is simply to have a dialog), however that doesn’t imply your message can’t present quick worth to the reader.

When you’re capable of present some worth upfront, you’ll construct belief, set up your self and your model as an authority, and improve the prospect of turning that dialog right into a sale.

For instance, a work productiveness platform may share a fast tip on rising efficiency: “P.S. We’ve discovered that utilizing the Pomodoro Approach boosted our group’s productiveness by 12%. Take a look at our publish on it right here.”

4. Leverage social proof 

Social proof is a strong lever for influencing human motivation.

Logos, evaluations, testimonials, and even the names of firms you’ve helped earlier than (in case you’re B2B) can be utilized to construct belief and present you’re a longtime firm with a stable observe document.

A easy strategy to slip this into a chilly e-mail message with out sounding such as you’re bragging is to tag your worth prop with some firm names.

For instance, as an alternative of merely writing, “We assist firms optimize their workflows and improve productiveness.”, you’ll be able to say, “We’ve helped firms like Slack, Subway, and Saltgrass Steakhouse optimize their workflows and improve productiveness.”

5. Finish with a name to motion 

Keep in mind, our objective is to get our recipient to not solely open and browse our e-mail however to reply!

Which means we have to direct them to take some form of motion (which is called a name to motion or CTA).

There are two widespread kinds of CTA in a chilly gross sales e-mail.

The primary is to ask a query designed to spark a dialog, for instance:

The second is to ask them to take motion, like signing up for a webinar or reserving a demo with you.

Learn how to format a advertising e-mail 

The time period “advertising e-mail” covers a number of several types of e-mail, together with:

  • Newsletters
  • Product updates
  • Lead nurturing emails
  • Promotional emails
  • Occasion invites

Broadly talking, advertising emails are emails despatched by the advertising division to a big group of recipients, both your complete buyer base or a selected phase.

Which means advertising emails can tackle a very completely different format.

1. Be sure that your e-mail format fits your viewers 

Electronic mail advertising platforms open up a brand new formatting chance: HTML.

The place formal, informal, and gross sales emails all use a plain-text format (what we may describe as a ’common’ e-mail), these platforms permit entrepreneurs to design content-rich emails with pictures, hyperlinks, and CTA buttons.

HTML is what permits entrepreneurs to design emails that appear to be this:

marketing email HTML screenshot
Instance of HTML in a advertising e-mail

Right here’s the factor, although:

Simply since you can construct emails utilizing sharp imagery and model colours doesn’t imply you ought to.

It’s vital to grasp your viewers and format emails appropriately. Run A/B exams and surveys to find out whether or not emails with pictures are simpler than plain-text emails or not earlier than committing to a single method.

2. Use energy phrases to extend open charges 

Open charges are a continuing problem for e-mail entrepreneurs. One strategy to improve your advertising e-mail open fee is to craft your topic traces to incorporate a number of energy phrases.

Energy phrases promote an emotional response, create intrigue, and drive motivation and motion. Examples embody:

  • Shocking
  • Fearless
  • Forbidden
  • Attract
  • Restricted
  • Exceptional
  • Genuine
  • Daring

No matter you do, keep away from utilizing spammy-sounding topic traces in your advertising newsletters. And preserve increased open charges by avoiding the most-used rip-off e-mail topic traces!

Common Spam Subject Lines
Widespread Spam Topic Traces

3. Personalize greetings utilizing mail merge fields 

Personalization is essential to advertising e-mail success. Whereas utilizing a recipient’s identify in e-mail communications is much from the be-all and end-all of personalization, it’s a terrific (and straightforward) begin.

The mail merge function in your e-mail advertising platform will will let you craft a single advertising e-mail and automate the inclusion of the recipient’s identify.

activecampaign mail merge
ActiveCampaign mail merge function instance

4. Maintain it concise and use second-person language 

Getting your emails opened is half the battle. The opposite half is getting them learn.

Don’t be self-indulgent right here. Maintain emails concise and to the purpose. In case you have one thing prolonged to share (a brand new piece of content material, as an illustration), it’s finest to put in writing a shorter e-mail and hyperlink out to the longer story in your web site.

marketing email with links screenshot
Instance of a advertising e-mail with hyperlinks

Second-person language (“it is possible for you to to” versus “entrepreneurs will be capable of”) must be your go-to fashion. Second-person language places the reader on the heart of the story and helps them visualize themselves gaining the profit you’re discussing.

Within the above instance, the phrase “entrepreneurs will be capable of” makes the reader consider how the profit applies to different entrepreneurs. Switching this up for “it is possible for you to to” resonates extra strongly with the reader and helps them visualize a scenario the place they are receiving that profit.

5. Don’t neglect pre-header textual content 

Pre-header textual content is the textual content that shows underneath your topic line in an e-mail inbox, for instance:

preheader text screenshot
Instance of preheader textual content

Use this house to drive open charges by guaranteeing your pre-header textual content is action-based and factors to what the reader will acquire from opening your e-mail.

Discover how Sound On Sound has did not reap the benefits of this chance within the above instance, whereas BurgerFuel and Auckland Reside present extra context and construct the case for recipients to learn additional.

6. Make your CTAs stand out 

Objective primary is to get your e-mail opened. Objective quantity two is to get it learn. However a advertising e-mail’s last objective is to get the reader to take some form of motion.

Which means we have to embody a compelling CTA for our readers to observe.

HTML-formatted e-mail newsletters give us a design benefit in that CTAs could be huge shiny buttons moderately than hyperlinked textual content that appears similar to the remainder of our e-mail copy.

marketing email cta screenshot
Instance of a advertising e-mail CTA

Use contrasting colours (like within the instance above) to make your CTAs stand out and enhance click-through charges.

The most effective follow is to stay to only one or two CTAs per e-mail. When utilizing a number of CTAs, attempt to direct readers to the identical motion, as they’ll get overwhelmed when offered with too many choices.

Take this second CTA, for instance, which makes use of a distinct copy however guides readers to the identical place.

marketing email second cta screenshot
One other instance of a advertising e-mail CTA


Understanding the right way to format an e-mail for a given function is vital in bettering the chance that your message will get opened, learn, and responded to.

Some purposes require a strict construction, reminiscent of sending a proper e-mail in knowledgeable context. Others is usually a bit looser.

In any case, you’ll be able to pace up your e-mail writing and formatting processing through the use of pre-built, customizable e-mail templates.

ActiveCampaign has a ton of e-mail templates accessible test them out right here!


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