Greeting the recipient is only the first step. Now you have to state the purpose of your email!
Like in our previous post about how to greet the recipient of your email, there are a few different ways to introduce the subject of the email, which follow the exact same criteria: what is your relationship with the recipient?
However, one detail is added here: does the recipient know what you are writing about?
Formal relationship or unknown recipient / First contact
This is your introductory email. You need to say who you are (name, position) and why you are writing (job offer, request for information…)
My name is John Smith. I am one of your customers. I am writing regarding the latest product I bought from your company.
My name is John Smith. I am a student in engineering at the University of Manchester. I am writing with regard to the position you are offering in your company.
TIP: when stating your position, always write a or an before: I am an engineer / I am a teacher etc.
Formal relationship / follow-up email
Here, you have already had some contact, by telephone or email with the recipient. You just want to add details to your previous correspondence, or confirm what was discussed before. You don’t need to introduce yourself, but only to remind them of who you are, and why you are writing.
You can simply start your email with:
Following our conversation last week over the telephone, I am writing to confirm that I will be ordering 1000 units of your latest product.
If your first contact with this person was by email, it is always good to reply to the last email in the correspondence, so that the recipient already has some information of who is writing and why. Then you can start with:
As mentioned in our latest exchange of emails, I am writing to confirm that I will be ordering 1000 units of your new product.
Informal relationship / first contact
Here, you are writing to a colleague, someone who knows who you are. No need to introduce yourself, just to say what you are writing about. You can start in a straightforward manner!
I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be in the office tomorrow.
Are you available to meet up some time this week to discuss the new business plan? When would be a good time for you?
I haven’t seen you for a long time. I just wanted to have news. Is everything ok with you?
Informal relationship / follow-up email
Here, you are still writing to someone who knows you, but this time, this is a follow-up email. You have ongoing business with the recipient, and you need to confirm something or add information. Start with:
I have been thinking about what we discussed, and I agree.
Following our conversation on Monday, I think we should settle on the new colour for the office.
That’s it for now! We would be happy to answer your questions or clarify any doubts you may have in the comments section.