Business Email Examples: The Elements Of A Professional Formal Email

1. A Custom Domain Name
2. A Professional Signature
3. A Compelling Subject Line
4. A Strong Value Proposition In The Body
5. Consider Using A Template

It’s 2021 and email is still the predominant form of communication for a lot of business-related enquiries. Whether it is marketing, sales, blogger outreach or partnership proposals, email is still one of the most effective ways of reaching someone.

It’s not nearly as intrusive as a phone call, and a lot more formal than a text or social media message

But, despite its widespread use, some people are still struggling to create professional formal emails that not only get opened, but read all the way to the end and replied to.

Today, we will be looking at some of the building blocks that make a professional email stand out in your target’s inbox. 

A Custom Domain Name

There’s nothing wrong with using a generic gmail.com address off-work. But if you rely on email for literally anything business-related, you need to set up a custom domain name for your organization. 

There are two very simple reasons for it:

  1. A generic email address is more likely to hit the spam folder and a lot of spammers use such addresses;
  2. A domain with your company name in it is perceived as much more trustworthy by users.
    email domain

source: Appinstitute

Another factor that makes custom domains much more viable for cold outreach is the possibility to set up DKIM, SPF and DMARC. These stand for:

  • DomainKeys Identified Mail;
  • Sender Policy Framework;
  • Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance.

Each of these is a topic for an article on its own, but in essence, what they do is ensure that your domain is only used by the people in your organization (excluding the possibility of a spammer being behind your emails) and verifying that the contents of the email haven’t been tempered with between your server and your recipient’s, greatly improving your overall deliverability.

These protocols are absolutely vital to set up if you will be doing mass cold outreach. 

A Professional Signature

Let’s get out the things that you can do BEFORE sending any emails out of the way first. After a custom domain name as well as the aforementioned protocols, you should set up a signature.

The information you should include in it is:

  • Your full name;
  • Your organization and job title;
  • Means to contact you other than email - a phone number or social links;
  • A physical address of your business - this is actually a requirement by the FTC for all commercial emails. 

Here is what my signature looks like: 

email signature for formal email

It’s very minimalistic and straight to the point, giving users all of the information they need to know about me - as well as some other ways to reach me. 

You can be more creative with yours by, for example, adding a gif instead of a static logo.

A signature like this makes you look professional and trustworthy, improving the chances of getting a response. When it comes to client communication as well, your business email signature helps improve your brand recognition.

A Compelling Subject Line

Getting your cold emails opened can get quite tricky, as the subject line can often be your one and only chance to capture the attention of your prospect. 

So, it needs to stand out among the rest. That doesn't mean that you should go all CAPS (which will actually land you in the spam folder) or be super-promotional.

If you’re using cold email for business, chances are your prospects receive dozens, if not hundreds of such emails every single day. Their time is very precious to them, and you need to respect that.

Subject line stats

So, your job is to make sure they know what you will be asking them about inside the email before even opening it. 

Here are a few subject line samples for different types of emails:

Link building:

  • Some love for {Company}’s [Topic] article
  • We’re building links as well—interested in a collaboration?

Content Promotion:

  • Question about guest post submission
  • Suggestion for your [Topic] post

Collaboration request:

  • We’re into [Topic] as well – interested in a collaboration?
  • We’re big fans of {Company}

Digital PR:

  • Loved your article about [Topic] on {Blog or Publication}
  • Would love your advice/Would love your opinion

Sales:

  • I’m hoping we can help you with [pain point]
  • {Company} is here to help you with [Pain Point]

If you aren’t sending cold emails, but instead emailing contacts that have joined your email list on the email marketing software that you use, there’s often a very powerful feature that allows you to A/B test subject lines across your list.  

This is great if you’re trying to increase engagement with your list and I fully recommend it.  With A/B testing, you’re able to test “Version A” of your subject line against “Version B” to see which one results in more contacts opening your email. 

Subject line AB test

You can experiment with your subject lines, but the shorter and more straight to the point it is, the better

A Strong Value Proposition In The Body

I’m going to skip the common sense stuff - how you need to address your prospects by their first name and make sure it starts with a capital letter, ditch the “to whom it may concern”, being polite, etc. 

Once a prospect has opened your email, you need to clearly state who you are, where you know them from and why you’re reaching out to them. Use conversational language to make your pitch more approachable and friendly.

But the most important thing to the recipient is always what’s in it for them. Why should they accept your collaboration offer? Why should they add your link to your article or buy your tool? How exactly will it help them? 

Don’t make it all about yourself and how great your product or content is. If there’s no incentive for the other person, your chances of getting a reply are slim. 

Here’s an example of a good link building collaboration email I have received recently:

email formal example

Notice how they have highlighted what’s in it for me with bold? And yes, we went through with the collaboration.

In general, this email is very well-put together and easy to read. They immediately tell us exactly what they need from our side, and clearly state what’s in it for us. 

With the sign-off, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel - you can go with a simple “Cheers” or “Thanks”. 

Consider Using A Template

A lot of email guides will tell you to stop using templates. But, in reality, preparing any mass email outreach campaign takes a huge chunk of time, so it is almost impossible to set up and launch a campaign without resorting to using some form of template.

But instead of using it word-for-word for each prospect in your campaign, you should use it more like a script that you follow.

Here are some of our favorite templates for different types of emails:

Template for Link Building Email

Hey {first name},

Happy {day of week}!

 

Just finished reading through your post, {url title}.

It was such a good read, I had to share some thoughts.

Firstly, it really stuck with me when you pointed out that [article summary snippet].

Secondly, you covered, “[anchor/targeted keyword]” in the article, but didn’t go into further detail or link to another resource.

We just released a guide that will provide a little something extra for readers who want to learn more about [anchor/targeted keyword].

Want to take a look? I got you: [article url]

As a huge “thank you”, I’d be happy to provide [incentive – (social share, indirect link, free trial, etc)].

Regardless, I’ll definitely be a frequent reader. Keep it up with the stellar content :)

 

Thanks,
[Name]

Template for Sales Email

Hey {first name},

 

How’s your {day of week} going?

My name is [name] and I’m the [role] at [company].

I came across a case study by [competitor company] and learnt that you’re using the [competitive tool] to [mention benefit, reason, or way of using it].

Wanted to reach out to share with you how we’re doing things here at [company name].

In one sentence, we’re into [topic]. More specifically, we’re helping companies do [xyz] and that’s why we’ve created the [name of your tool].

I think you’ll be happy to know that some of our clients are:

[Client 1]

[Client 2]

 If you’d like to explore how our [name of tool] can specifically help you guys, let me know and I can send some more info over.

We could also have a quick call if you’d prefer!

I look forward to hearing back from you :)

 

Cheers,
[Name]

Template for Collaboration Email:

Hey there {first name},

 

Happy {day of week}!

It’s [name] here from [company].

My team and I are impressed with the work you guys are doing when it comes to [topic].

We’re into [topic] as well.

Wanted to reach out to ask you if you’d be interested in discussing a collaboration between our teams.

We could totally help each other out and raise awareness about our products and services.

It looks like a win-win situation to me :)

Would you be interested in discussing this further?

Let me know and we can work something out.

 

Thanks,
[Name]

And Most Importantly

Check your emails for spam words. Don’t send attachments through cold emails. Don’t use excessive imagery. And remember - on the receiving end there are people just like you, so staying human is vital for high-quality client communication.

Vlad Orlov

Vlad Orlov is a passionate writer and link builder. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.

Go to Vlad Orlov’s Profile

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