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How to Write an Email: Format & Best Practices

Writing a compelling email can increase your open rates and encourage conversion. Learn essential tips for writing a professional email your customers will read.

For most people, writing emails is part of everyday life. Whether you’re writing emails to coworkers, clients, or customers, it’s important to engage your reader and be clear about what you want them to do in response.

But, writing an email can be tricky. You need to grab the reader’s attention and hold it for long enough that they actually read the entire email from start to finish. The average email open rate for all industries is 21.33%, meaning the majority of emails sent aren’t read. So how do you craft an email that your recipient will open and read?

Let’s discuss the email components you should include in every email you send, tips for how to write professional emails in an effective manner, and more.

Email format: 4 essential email components

There is a basic format for an email that you should follow when writing emails for any occasion. Every email should contain these following 4 components:

Subject Line

The subject line is arguably one of the most important parts of an email. It's the first thing the person will read and sets the tone for the rest of the email. So if you want to send a good email, you need a good subject line. Your subject line should be short and to the point, but interesting enough to entice the reader to actually open the email. It’s also crucial that everything is spelled right in the subject line and uses perfect grammar. Remember: if you don’t have a strong subject line, the reader likely won’t even open the email. Need help? Check out our Subject Line Helper for some inspiration.


The salutation in an email doesn’t have to be lengthy or extravagant. You just want to greet and acknowledge your audience in a nice way.

Here are some examples of salutations to get you started:

  • [Recipient Name]
  • Dear [Recipient Name]
  • Hi all
  • Hi team


The body of the email is when you’ll actually go into detail about the purpose of your message. If you’ve engaged a reader enough to reach the body of an email, that means you’re doing a good job. So it’s important to keep the momentum going and write a good body, too. Keep the body clear and concise and mention your specific purpose of the email very early on. If you can, try to keep the body of the email just a couple of sentences.


The conclusion of an email should just be something friendly and simple that ends the email on a good note. Some examples of good conclusions are:

  • Thanks
  • Best
  • Regards
  • Sincerely
  • Take care

Your conclusion should also provide a clear action you’d like your customer to take.

10 Tips for Crafting an Effective Email

There are key tips that can make your emails more effective; from defining your goals to writing for your audience, the following can help you make the most out of your email campaigns:

Define Your Email Goals

Before you actually go in and write your email, it might be helpful to take some time and define your email goals. What do you want to achieve with this email? What are the main points you want to get across? And how can you do that in a concise way? Figuring out the goals of your email can help you write your email much more quickly and effectively.

Consider Your Audience Needs

There’s a reason why you can’t just copy and paste your emails and mass send. You need to actually change the tone of voice in your email to fit each individual audience. For example, your tone to your boss will sound a lot different than your tone to a close colleague. You have to consider your audience's needs and write at the appropriate reading level for them. If you’re going to be using any supporting data in your email, make sure that matches the audience as well.

Craft a Compelling Introduction

Your introduction should immediately grab the reader’s attention and entice them to keep reading. Your introduction should be specific for the person who you’re writing it to. Keeping your reader engaged is an important part of effective email marketing. You want the reader to feel like the email was written personally to them, even if it’s being sent out to multiple people.

Be Concise

No one wants to spend half their day going through emails. Keep your email as concise as possible, without leaving out important information, and aim to say more with less words. You can do this with bullet points or by adding visuals to break up the text. Your email design is crucial because it allows the reader to properly navigate the content. If an email is shorter and includes images, the recipient will be more likely to actually read through the entire thing, rather than just skimming it.

Use Proper Etiquette

You want to sound friendly and polite in your emails, but not too casual. And at the same time, you don’t want to sound too serious. Just be sure to include a friendly salutation and closing in your email. Also, make sure to not send an email very early or late in the day. Be considerate of the recipient’s personal life.

Stick to one topic

If you have multiple topics that you want to address in your email, avoid including them all in the same email. This can make it confusing for the recipient to read and make them less likely to respond. Instead, space out the emails to be sent at different times so it’s less intimidating for the reader.


The biggest mistake you can make is not proofreading your email before clicking send. It doesn’t matter how many emails you’ve sent in your day, always proofread your emails. Just take a couple minutes to check for spelling and grammar mistakes, as these can reflect very badly on you or your business.

Schedule Your Email Blasts

If you’re planning on sending out multiple emails at once, it’s important to schedule them. Not only does this make it much easier because you don’t have to go in and individually send a bunch of emails, but also it ensures they get sent at the right times. Most people tend to check their emails shortly after waking up, so scheduling email blasts in the morning may be ideal. However, make sure you take into consideration the different time zones so you don’t send an email at five am to someone on the West Coast.

Follow up

It’s not uncommon for a reader to forget about a deal you offered, especially if they’re receiving hundreds of emails a day. But as a general rule of thumb, you should wait 2 business days to send a follow-up email. Sending something sooner than that might make a customer unsubscribe from your emails.

Embrace trial and error

It’ll likely take some trial and error before you can nail down how to write an effective email. But don’t let this deter you! Understanding how to write emails in an effective manner is a learning curve, and you’ll get the hang of it eventually. And while you’re learning, you can try out email A/B testing, which is essentially the process of sending out one variation of an email to one person and a different variation to another person. This will help give you an idea of what type of email works best.

Start sending better emails

Writing a good email isn’t as easy as just typing down your thoughts and clicking send. It takes a lot more than that to engage with your reader and entice them to do what you’re asking. But knowing how to write an email is crucial for both your personal and professional life, and you can use MailChimp to help you out along the way.

Mailchimp is an all-in-one Marketing Platform with powerful features that help you easily create, manage, and send email marketing campaigns. MailChimp can help with everything from audience management to email design, so you can craft an email that’s perfectly suited for your recipient. Check out MailChimp to transform how you send emails.

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