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Business writing
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Business letter writing format

How to write effective business letters

The advent of email communication has witnessed the demise of writing business letters to clients.

Professional business letters play pivotal roles in communicating key messages to prospective and existing clients.

It is important to distinguish between a client letter and email. Reserve emails for everyday transactional communiques than require rapid responses.

Client letters, on the other hand, are ideal for providing more concrete information and advice that can be reviewed, archived and referred to by the recipient, as and when required.

The motivation for writing to clients generally falls into the following key categories:

  • Spruiking about upcoming events as well as new products and services
  • Providing advice and relevant information
  • Arranging or recommending meetings
  • Seeking membership and subscription renewals
  • Handling compliance issues
  • Resolving complaints
    Whatever the reason for writing to your clients, it is important to cover a few basic fundamentals to ensure effective communication.

    Client details on left-hand side
    Restrict word length to one single page (if possible) or two maximum
    Use minimum 12-point font and 1.15 line spacing
    Treat sentences as paragraphs (ie space between each sentence)
    Align text to the left

    Follow the format outlined below


    Client’s name
    Client’s position
    Company/ organisation’s name
    Company address Line 1
    Company address Line 2

    September 12, 2013

    Dear Mr Smith,


    How you structure information plays a major role in how it is interpreted. Too often, people opt for the hard sell from the opening line which usually turns reader’s off. You need to focus always on the reader’s needs rather than making the letter all about you.

    Capture the reader’s attention

    Secure interest in the first sentence by identifying the relevance to the target audience.

    Leading companies recognise the importance of…
    Profitable businesses cannot afford to ignore…


    Identify relevant background information

    Provide any information that will help the reader make any informed decision about your communication.
    For example, do they need to be aware of any changes in laws that require them to take action. Or is it any ongoing issue that demands a brief overview of historical facts.

    Recent changes to superannuation laws introduced by the Federal Government require small business to pay their staff an additional three per cent superannuation.


    Offer a solution/recommendation/ advice/resolution

    This is where you communicate the true purpose of your letter by stating how you can help them either resolve an issue or problem or take advantage of an opportunity.

    We would like to offer you…
    As a valued client you are entitled to…
    We recommend you (identify action required)



    Call to action

    What do they need to do next? Lead the way for them.

    We will contact you to make an appointment…
    Call our friendly staff today to find out more information…


    Back to GAPS from Writing and effective client business letter.

    Click here for some handy hints on how to write effective website content.

    Professional website content

    Professional website content

    The idea of launching a new website live is an exciting prospects for many businesses.

    Creating a great looking website with lots of flashy images, bright colours and eye-catching designs certainly has the “wow” factor.

    But many people short change themselves on the content and closer inspection often reveals that the content fails to do justice to the product or service being offered.

    It is critical to invest the same amount of time, money and energy to promoting your key messages to prospective clients in writing.

    Word length

    It is about striking the correct balance between demonstrating relevance to the visitor as well as providing enough information for them to take the next step.

    Unfortunately, most websites fall into the trap of being too wordy which turns many visitors off reading the material.

    Remember the mantra….LESS IS MORE!!

    The less your write, the more people will read.

    Limiting your word volume makes it even more important to identify your key message on each page. The first sentence on every page must capture the reader’s attention by tapping in to their needs, dreams, fears or desires.


    Placing website copy without drafting a plan detailing the best page to position certain information is like building a house without a blueprint.

    Give some thought as to how a visitor is likely to navigate around your website to find relevant information.

    The general rule of thumb being that if a person has to hunt for answers than you risk losing their business.

    Keep it simple with a few obvious tags detailing your major products or services. Consider repeating the same information in different locations throughout your site to ensure maximum exposure.

    Speak to your website develop about linking relevant pages together with stylish tabs etc.


    Use simple language that reflects the general demographics of your likely audience.

    Words can easily be tailored to ensure the same message is conveyed in either a personal tone or professional style accordingly.

    In a nutshell, failing to publish persuasive website content detracts from the overall product.

    Take that extra time or seek professional advice on how to write powerful website content to ensure your maximising the opportunities afforded by a website.

    Back to GAPS from How to write professional website copy

    Email writing format

    How to structure professional business reports

    Structuring your business documents by applying the easy-to-follow AEIOU format.

    Many professionals are brimming with ideas and knowledge in their area of expertise but struggle to present their key messages in a coherent form.

    Whether vying for a tender, submitting a business proposal or creating a marketing campaign, structuring your arguments in a clear logical pattern is critical if you want the reader to follow your lead.

    The AEIOU formula ensures the central message takes centre stage in every business document which is not only well presented but mounts a convincing argument.

    Attract Layout/ design
    Font style; line spacing; word length
    Letterhead and graphics
    Page and margin alignment

    Engage Captivating introductory paragraph
    Secure interest at a glance by immediately identifying the relevance to the reader.

    Upgrading staff skills in effective business communications is critical to presenting a professional image to key stakeholders and other relevant statutory and government bodies.

    Leading companies recognise the importance of…

    Responsible managers can no longer afford to ignore…

    >Idea Supply relevant background information
    Identify key features and benefits of products/ services offered by your business/ organisation that directly links to the opening sentence.

    We offer comprehensive retail packages tailored to reduce costs to running your business. We specialise in….

    >Offer Provide solution
    Offer a recommendation designed to alleviate the problem or issue raised.

    Our new (product name) package ideally suits your specific business needs by…
    Our professional staff provides premium expertise…
    We would like to offer your company…

    yo>U Call to action
    What do they need to do next?
    Lead the way for them.

    Back to GAPS from How to structure business reports and proposals

    Search engine optimisation – or SEO – is the brave new world of on-line marketing.

    Mind you, it has been around for years but for much of that time it has remained the exclusive enclave of computer whizzes that understood what the terms Google algorithms and back-linking actually meant.

    And just when the rest of us were finally getting our heads around the secret language – Google ups the ante and changes the rules.

    One moment, back linking is the flavour of the month and the next websites suffer heavy penalties for relying on the behind-the-scene marketing strategies.

    I am writing this blog in a bid to help others learn by detailing my mistakes, experiences and insights I’ve gained from wrestling with SEO during the past three years.

    According to my very patient (and long-suffering) SEO experts advising me on the mystical world that is SEO, the latest changes implemented by Google are forcing businesses owners into some draconian methods to maintain – much less increase – their on-line presence.

    Namely, Google wants people to get out there and mingle with the public.

    No more skulking behind the scenes in the murky world of back-link land. Rather actively engaging with your existing and prospective clients via social media, Google Plus and – for the brave at heart – networking in person.

    The idea being to become the sought-after thought leader in your area of expertise proffering insightful tidbits to guide the masses. Reaching out to them via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn on a regular basis on all things – in my case – copywriting and business writing training.

    After considerable research, navel-gazing and picking of brains, I concluded I needed to adopt the follow hybrid of strategies to improve my Google rankings.

    Appoint a professional SEO company
    Paying a monthly service fee to a trusted SEO company to insert relevant keyword search terms into my website content.
    They monitor your traffic as well as my competitors to devise strategies to keep me in the game.

    Revise existing website content
    Review and rewrite my website material on an annual basis to avoid becoming stale and outdated.
    Adding at least one new webpage per month.
    Update client testimonials.

    Adopt a Google Adwords campaign
    Pay a capped amount for my advertisement to display in the top tinted section and sidebars of Page 1.
    Divide the campaign into key business areas.
    Nominated the times, days and geographical regions for the campaign to be broadcast.

    Write a blog
    Summarise my key ideas in regular blogs focusing on different aspects of my business.
    Provide insightful information to my clients and the broader public.
    Raise awareness about upcoming product and program releases relating to my business.

    Regular social media updates
    Broadcast all my information to a wide audience via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    How to improve your Google ranking - for dummies

    How to improve your Google ranking – for dummies

    Back to GAPS from How to improve your Google ranking


    Mastering persuasive writing techniques.
    Do you have a great new idea or product but remain unsure as to the most powerful way to promote it in the market place?

    Mastering the art of persuasive writing is one sure-fire method to get your message across to the right people.

    The key to effective business writing is communicating your ideas in clear written expression by removing any road blocks that may distract from your message or create confusion in the reader’s mind.

    1. Determine a simple message

    Why is the idea or product so amazing? Why would they want to, or need to, buy it? How will they benefit or more convincingly, what do they risk losing if they fail to get on board? A succinct message that taps into their hopes and dreams or fears and insecurities is the most effective way to get their attention.

    2. Identify your target audience

    Who are you trying to convince? What are the general characteristics of the target group, namely their age, gender, social status, location and education levels. Once you have determined the relevant criteria then you can tailor your message to complement their values, beliefs and attitudes.

    3. Use clear and concise language

    Now that you have their attention make sure you don’t lose it through poor written communication skills. The language you adopt to sell your message needs to straight forward and picture-perfect to maintain a professional first impression.

    4. Make it informative and entertaining

    It is critical to strike a nice balance between providing relevant information and engaging their enthusiasm in your product or proposal. Too much dry information can destroy their interest while too much hyperbole can lead to distraction.

    5. Write and rewrite and write again

    Proof read you work. Ask someone else to proof read your work. If you make any changes, start the process over again.

    Back to GAPS from 5 Tips to Effective Business Writing