What Makes a Great Business Letter?


Any professional writer will need to write a business letter at some point. For most people, this is something they lack experience in. The most common misconception is writing a formal business letter is just like writing an email without the slang.

The team at I Write Assistant is here to tell you that this could not be further from the truth. A great business letter must adhere to certain conventions.

Yes, it must contain formal language and it must sound professional. However, there is more to it than that.

The first thing you will notice when looking at a good business letter is the styling of it. This makes a significant difference because no CEO is going to take you seriously if you don’t have that style. The generally accepted style is ‘block style’, where all text is justified to the left.

You can always download a template online to make sure you get this right.

How Your Writing Should Differ 

Your writing will primarily differ in the tone it adopts. The casual, chatty tone you would adopt for an email or a blog has no place here. The tone should be professional and, we daresay, cold. It may seem impersonal, but a business level is all about the facts not about the relationship involved.

To help you understand this, we recommend that you think about it in the following way:

The chances are you don’t know the receiver on a personal level. The odds are you may be making contact for the first time. And the likelihood is you are sending the letter to talk about business.

For those reasons, you should always focus on the content not on the relationship you eventually want to form. The more casual aspects of your business relationship will surface later and in a different arena.

But what of the facts and how should you present them?

Facts and Presentation

There is a great deal of scope for miscommunication. Your letter should start by stating the purpose of your letter. Get right to the heart of the point.

The rest of the letter should concentrate on the facts, which relate back to your reason for writing the letter.

For example, you may be requesting an investment. You would state this at the top of the letter and the rest of the writing would focus on why that company should invest and what you would do with the money.

You wouldn’t talk about your own personal story or anything to tug on their heart strings. The facts would be basic because anything else can be clarified later.

Length is the Most Important Thing 

Arguably, the key to a great business letter is to keep it short. You can write the best business letter in the world, but if it is four pages long few CEOs are going to read it.

These are busy people and they do not have the time to read a long essay. Make it as short as you can. It should be no longer than 500 words.

Bear in mind that it is designed to be an introduction not a business plan.

Have you tried writing a business letter before this?