Business letters are an essential mode of communication for conveying information in a professional environment. With the increased popularity of electronic communication, business letters still remain a necessary tool for business communication.
Whether a business introduces a product or service, presents a sales pitch, requests information, or simply communicates a message, a well-written business letter can help achieve those goals.
In this article, you will learn a business letter's formatting, style, tone, and style. Read on to know more.
What is a Business Letter?
A business letter is an official document to communicate information between two parties in a business environment. A well-written business letter can help achieve business goals and serves various purposes, such as making inquiries, requesting information, communicating decisions, and transmitting reports.
Types of Business Letters
There are numerous variations of business letters available for business professionals to serve different purposes. Cover letters, sales letters, job application letters, inquiry letters, and other business letters are all frequent. Understanding the objective of your message is essential for efficient communication.
1. Cover Letters
Usually, cover letters are used to introduce oneself about his/her qualifications when applying for jobs. Cover letters should be tailored to the specific job nature to highlight relevant skills and expertise.
2. Inquiry Letters
This type of letter requests information about a specific product, service, company, or matter. This letter is written politely and professionally, explicitly stating the purpose of the letter.
It is a client to a business letter. This letter is used to voice dissatisfaction with a product or service. This letter is usually written professionally and diplomatically to state the problem and suggest a resolution.
The purpose of this letter is to confirm with other parties about the received of the product, service, or any other item.
This letter aims to request due debt, bills, or payment to debtors.
6. Sales Letters
It is a business-to-client letter. The purpose of this letter is to promote a product or service. This type of letter is usually written to persuade potential customers to buy the product or service.
- Agreement Letter
- Announcement Letter
- Business Apology Letter
- Business Authorization Letter
- Employment Confirmation Letter
- Payment Confirmation Letter
- Loan Confirmation Letter
- Dispute Letter
- Appreciation Letter
- Authorization Letter
- Cancellation Letter
- Certification Letter
- Claim Letter
- Confirmation Letter
- Criticism Letter
- Dismissal Letter
- Credit Letter
Components of a Business Letter
Business letters consist of several essential parts. Each part serves a critical purpose for making a good impression on the reader upon delivering the message.
This part of the business letter contains the sender's address and is usually situated on top of the letter. The heading is essential because it establishes the identity of the sender.
The date is usually placed directly after the heading.
This part of the letter contains the receiver's name and address to establish the reader's identity.
A salutation is a formal and polite greeting to the reader. It is placed after the inside address component. The salutation should be written in a way that portrays the courteous behavior of a sender and establishes a respectful tone for the recipient.
This part of the letter contains the primary purpose and message of the letter. Here the sender describes the context and includes additional information. Senders may use bullet points or lists to make reading comprehension easier.
This part of the letter expresses gratitude or provides a call to action for the recipient.
This section contains the sender's signature, title, organization name, and additional contact information.
Enclosure and Postscripts
These components are optional. The enclosure is an additional document attached to the letter for reference purposes and the receiver's convenience. On the other hand, a postscript (P.S.) is a note at the end of the letter to emphasize the critical points of the context.
Tone and Language
To keep things clear and concise in the business letter, the sender must ensure that the letter is written professionally. There are a few things to consider when maintaining the tone and language of the business letter.
Slang and casual language must be avoided because it portrays the unprofessional behavior of the sender. On top of that, the intended reader might find the letter offensive and inappropriate. Use a tone that is courteous and professional.
Technical terms and jargon should be avoided at all costs. The reader might find it challenging to understand the context of the letter. In the case of explaining technical terms, try to make it simple and easy to understand for the reader.
Business Letter Writing Guidelines
Business letters should be written professionally, which might seem intimidating, but writing the letter is pretty simple once you get the hang of the process and essential components of the business letter.
For these guidelines, imagine a business scenario where you are to write a request for a meeting letter with a potential client. In this letter, you should introduce yourself, your company, and the context of the letter, which is to meet with a client to discuss business opportunities.
Step 1: Start with a heading.
In this step, you introduce yourself, your title, and your company. Make sure to write them accordingly.
Step 2: Write the date.
Writing the date is essential to keep the record for future reference. Keep the date format simple, such as month, day, and year.
Step 3: Write the inside address
In this part, you will be writing the recipient's name, title, and company, along with its address. This address should be aligned with the left margin of the letter.
Step 4: Write a polite and professional salutation
In this part, you will write a formal and suitable greeting. Such as "Dear [Name]" or "To whom it may concern."
Step 5: Write the body of the letter
This is the letter's central point. Maintain simple and to-the-point language while effectively delivering your message. In this part, you'd express your interest explicitly and professionally and discuss the potential positive outcome, such as your interest in the meeting, business opportunities, etc.
Step 6: Write the closing.
This courteous statement signifies the letter's conclusion and expresses your gratitude, such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards."
Step 7: Write the signature.
The signature must include your name, title, and contact information (phone number and email address, for example).
Step 8: Proofread and edit.
It's always an excellent strategy to proofread the letter before signing it. Because there might be silly mistakes or typos that are hard to find at first glance, it is essential to send a professional letter for a better outcome.
Common Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Business Letter
- Incorrect formatting
Poor formatting can make it harder to comprehend and read your text. Follow the standard business letter structure, which includes the header, date, inside address, salutation, body, closure, and signature.
- Inappropriate tone
Your letter's tone should be professional and appropriate for a business context. Use polite, professional, and suitable language for a corporate environment rather than slang, emojis, or other idiomatic expressions.
- Being too lengthy
Business letters should be brief and to the point. Superfluous information or clutter should be avoided. Avoid using unnecessarily long words or paragraphs and stick to the subject.
- Lack of focus
A business letter should be well-organized and have a specific function. Avoid deviating from the topic or introducing irrelevant information; concentrate on the primary points you wish to make.
- Ignoring cultural differences
When sending a business letter to someone from another culture, it's critical to be conscious of cultural differences and to use suitable and courteous language and tone.
- Neglecting to proofread
Proofreading your letter is critical to catching typos, grammatical problems, and other issues that could distract from the professional image you're attempting to convey.
- Typos and grammatical errors
Typos and grammatical mistakes can make you appear unprofessional and reduce the impact of your letter. Always double-check your letter before submitting it.