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Writing a business letter: this is how a professional letter succeeds
A business letter is a correspondence between business partners. It can also be a letter of thanks or a sales letter. The content depends on what you want to achieve with the letter, but the structure always remains the same. In order for your letter to be successful, there are a few important points to keep in mind when writing.
The professional design according to DIN 5008
A business letter in Germany is written according to the DIN 5008 standard. This specifies the design and classification of your document. Many writing programs have a template that you can use. If you don't have a template at hand, the following information will help you:
- The font size should be 12 points.
- According to DIN 5008, the address field dimensions are 8.5 cm x 4.5 cm.
- The distance between the address field and the upper edge of the sheet is 4.5 cm.
This has the advantage that you can send the business letter in a window envelope.
The following information is noted in the address field:
- Recipient company
- Recipient name
- Street and house number
- Post code and place
Your company's address can appear in small print above the address field. In some cases, your own address is also used on the right-hand side of a business letter. The date is entered one line below the address field on the right side of the sheet. The subject appears two lines below the date. Make it clear to the recipient what the letter is about.
Formulating the salutation - the various options
The form of address of the recipient is a very important aspect of a letter. You can evoke different feelings in the recipient with the salutation. The salutation is neutral and classic: "Dear Ms. ..." or "Dear Sir ...". You are not doing anything wrong with this. If you do not know the name of the recipient and you are addressing a company, you can also start with "Hello". It is of course optimal if you have a named contact person. If possible, you should choose a contact person. If you are sending the letter to a company, you will usually find the contact persons for the various areas on the website.
The first name can also be used so that a recipient feels addressed personally. However, the desired external image of your company is very important here. How is the connection to the customer? What is the content of the letter? The written word can often be misunderstood and not every potential customer or prospect feels comfortable with such a personal approach.
tip: Would you like a formal salutation, but you don't know the name of the contact person? Then formulate the entry as follows: "Dear Sir or Madam".
The text area for your wording
Now it's about getting creative. The heart of your cover letter is the text area. Pay attention to the line spacing, because the salutation is followed by a line spacing before you start the text. Now the question arises what content your letter should have:
- The offer: Would you like to make an offer to a customer or prospect? In this case it is important to choose a friendly address. Formulate the offer in short sentences. Get to the heart of what makes your offer attractive. Make sure that costs and benefits are clearly visible.
- The sales letter: You want to win new customers. In that case, you should underline the know-how of your company in the letter. It is good to use successful projects as an example. Who have you been able to satisfy with your performance? How many clients do you have What is the unique selling point of your offer?
- Invoice or reminder: This form of business letter is a classic. It is important to keep it short and to point out your demands. It is important to write what the amount will be invoiced for. If you want to write a reminder, check whether you are allowed to charge fees.
The right formulation is required for a successful business letter. Before you get down to writing the business letter, test out the wording. Question how you would react to the letter. What information is important? What do you want to read
The greeting as a conclusion
Which greeting would you like to use? Of course, there are also real classics here. For example, you can choose the following phrase: “Sincerely,”. This formula is one of the most frequently chosen.
In the meantime, a business letter can also have a different ending. You say goodbye to your customer and want to leave a good impression: You can do that with “best regards” or send “warm greetings”. You are then no longer just the sender. The business customer will want to know who sent them the letter. What kind of company is behind the letter?
With the greeting, it is of course important to check the content of your letter. In the case of a reminder, best regards is not the best choice. Rather, rely on a simple letter for this correspondence and remain with best regards.
The mandatory information for your letter
To some extent, a letter to a business partner is definitely an individual letter. After all, you bring in the personal touch of your company here. The reader should know what his advantages are when he comes into contact with you. Nevertheless, there are some mandatory information that are particularly important. This applies to compliance with the appropriate line as well as to the information that should be found in the text. A distinction is made between companies that are in the commercial register and sender addresses that are not in the commercial register. Are you listed with your company in the commercial register? These are your mandatory details:
- The company name
- The commercial register number
- Performance of the managing directors at a GmbH
- Performance of the chairman of the supervisory board at a GmbH
- Presentation of the board members at an AG
You are not in the commercial register? This is the case, for example, if you are self-employed. In this case, these are your mandatory details:
- Sender's first and last name
- Vemerk von GbR at a company under civil law
Further information that is not mandatory in the letter, but has a positive effect:
- E-mail address
- Phone number
Today the email address in particular is a very good basis for continuing correspondence. If your letter has piqued the recipient's interest, they can get in touch with you this quickly. Just leave a blank line next to your address and then enter your email address. So you offer the possibility of a written contact outside of a letter. A large part of business correspondence is now carried out by email, as this saves time and resources.
The most important tips for your correspondence
Do you want to convince with your topic? Do you want to reach the recipient? You definitely want him to read your letters? Every word should be carefully considered so that writing is not in vain. It is therefore worth taking a look at the following tips:
- Make it short and sweet
- Write meaningfully
- State the important facts
- Choose a contact person or a friendly phrase
- Write cheerful, friendly, and modern
- Don't forget the contact options
- Use a PS
Sentences are particularly easy to read when they are kept short. Nobody wants to work their way through long nested sentences. In the worst case scenario, you will lose your reader at the very first sentence. You are on the safe side with short sentences that have important content. Package your information without talking around it for long. You can also use a blank line here. Paragraphs also loosen up the letter. But make sure that it doesn't get too long.
Meaningful texts contain the following information above all: What is the writing about? What information is important for the reader?
Here, too, the tip: Think inside the reader. What would you like to read in a business letter, and most importantly, how would you like to read it?
The third point in the list above is the important facts. These are essential for the recipient. He wants to see what it's about at a glance and reading shouldn't take him time. Ideally, these facts catch his eye while flying over it.
Point five: A cheerful letter should still not appear too friendly. It's about finding words that are positive, simple, and informative. Imagine someone has ordered a product from you. Now, as a supplier, you are faced with the unforeseen problem that this product is out of stock. If you now write in the text: “Your product cannot be delivered”, this leaves the customer with a bitter aftertaste. It is unlikely that he will reach out to you again. Better offer him a solution directly: This can be a voucher or a promise that you will still try to get the product.
Contact opportunities as an important factor
Even the best letter is of little use if the recipient cannot find a way to get back to you. Where does the order go? How can I contact the sender? These questions inevitably arise. Therefore, you should include the contact options in a clearly visible manner - for example in the last section of the letter. Link to a website, enter your email address or leave a phone number. The naming of several possibilities is also allowed. Then it is best to use a separate line for each entry, then everything remains clear.
Also at this point the note: The letter should not be too long. Ideally, good correspondence does not go beyond one page.
The postscript - an underrated possibility
In earlier times the postscript was an indispensable part of a written exchange. Today it has apparently lost its importance. Bring it back to life! Use the postscript to point out specific points. The company has a special offer right now? There are percentages? Has the website got a facelift? This information is in very good hands in the "PS". They arouse interest again and ensure that the letter reader is more concerned with the company. And this is usually one of the most important goals: Your company should be in the foreground.
Can I send it online?
As I said: We are always happy to contact you by email. But can the business letter also be sent online? The answer is: sometimes. It all depends on the topic and the situation:
A reminder on an invoice sent by post should also be sent by post. Advertising letters, on the other hand, can also be sent via a mailing list. At this point you weigh up. The target group is also interesting. A young target group in particular is often more satisfied with online mailing.
Important: The specifications should also be adhered to when sending by e-mail. You have two options for this.
- You can send a business email. In this case you do without the address field and start directly with the salutation. The subject is entered in a line provided in the mail.
- The second variant is to attach the business letter as a PDF. For this you create a short cover letter that you enter in the email. References to the appendix. This solution can be useful if the invoice is sent online. The recipient can easily save or print out the invoice or business letter if he would like to save it in his or her documents.
tip: Sending by email also protects the environment. It is therefore even more worthwhile to think about.
The most important questions and answers about the business letter
The business letter requires a good hand, well thought-out wording and a summary of all the necessary information. So that you always have the most important points at hand, you can find out more about the most frequently asked questions and answers here:
How can I write a business letter?
A business letter is written on the PC. Handwritten business letters are no longer welcome today. The aim is to provide the business partner with professional information or offers. You will be successful with professional formulations and short sentences.
How can I save time writing a business letter?
Do you write business letters on a similar topic particularly often? It saves a lot of time using a template. The template according to DIN standard already contains the company address as well as the formula for the salutation and the qualification. You can set the font, such as Times New Roman. The letter also already contains specifications for line spacing.
Should I personally sign a business letter?
If you are writing a business letter to a customer, a personal signature is recommended. It becomes difficult when you have a template for numerous letters. It takes a lot of time to sign everyone. A good tip is to digitize your original signature. You can then insert them on one line of the letter. Often the reader does not even notice that it is not an original.
For reasons of readability, we use the masculine form (generic masculine), e.g. B. "the employee". We always mean all genders in terms of equal treatment. The shortened language form has editorial reasons and is neutral.
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