Parts of a Letter – Our 7 Step Guide to Getting It Right

There are 7 parts of a letter in the standard format, these are:

1. Heading

The heading is important as it tells the recipient where to contact you or the business that hired you. You’ll want to include your street address, city, state, and zip code in the heading. However, don’t write your name or title as that belongs in the closing. 

Some businesses may provide you with a premade letterhead that has the heading already written out.

2. Date

After the heading comes the date. This should show the day the letter was finished, not the day you started writing it.

The date should always include the month, day, and year. If you’re sending it outside of the U.S. though, you’ll want to format it accordingly. For instance, it would be written as day, month, year for a British recipient.

3. Address

The address goes just below the date and includes the recipient’s name, title, business, and address. Formatted correctly for U.S. mailing, it will look like this:

Recipient Name



Street Address

City, State, and Zip Code

You should always do your best to address your letter to a specific person, which might mean doing some online research or calling in to ask directly. Always address them formally as Mr., Mrs., or Ms. unless they are a Dr. or have any other titles. When unsure about a woman’s preference, refer to them as Ms. in your address.

When sending international letters, be sure to include the name of the recipient’s country at the bottom line of your address.

4. Greeting/Salutation

You’ll directly address the recipient here as an opening to the body of the letter. Generally, you’ll want to include their title and last name followed by a colon or comma when writing the salutation. If you know the recipient personally and have a close relationship, you can use only their first name.

The reason you should always find someone specific to address your letter to is precisely to avoid the lackluster “to whom it may concern” salutation. There are some ways to spice up a salutation even if you don’t have a specific recipient, but not without sacrificing some professionalism.

5. Body Copy

One of the most important parts of a letter. Here is where you’ll put the content of your letter. Block and modified block format are the most commonly used in letters. For these formats, left-align your paragraphs and insert a blank line between them. Don’t indent your paragraphs.

A professional business letter should aim to be as concise as possible. The first paragraph should be used to express a friendly greeting, explain why you’re writing, and state your point. Use the rest of your body copy to make your point or argument as persuasive and engaging as possible.

Don’t forget to include a strong call to action when writing your letter. It is the moment your entire letter has been leading up to and should be clear enough for the reader to follow.

6. Close/Signature

After you’ve tweaked the body of your letter to your satisfaction, it’s time to sign off. The closing of a letter starts two lines below the body and consists of three parts, the close, the handwritten signature, and the typed signature. The close should be left-aligned and the first letter is always capitalized.

After leaving a short closing phrase fitting your relationship with the recipient, you should leave four blank lines below it. This space is for your handwritten signature. One line below is your typed signature.

When correctly formatted, it should look like this:

Sincerely, Your Name

(Signature here)

Typed Signature

7. P.S. and Enclosures

While it isn’t included in every letter, you may want to include a postscript (abbreviated P.S.) at the end of your letter. This is especially true if you’re writing a sales letter or appeal. A lot of readers will skim through your letter and could miss your point entirely, which is why nearly all direct mail letters repeat their main point and call to action in their P.S.

This is also where you’ll want to state whether any other documents or items are enclosed with your letter. Simply writing Enclosures can do the job well enough, but you may also want to list each individual enclosure. You want to make sure your recipient doesn’t miss anything important sent with your letter.

How to Adapt a Letter to Your Audience

Writing for a broad audience requires you to be more general in your copy. When you’re writing direct mail letters though, you’ll want to personalize them as much as you can to engage the recipient. This is another reason why you should research the company/business you’re writing to beforehand.

Follow the AIDA copywriting formula and consider what would interest the reader most about your offer or deal. It will depend on how well you know the recipient, but try to include any details or points you know they would be particularly interested in.


Who writes letters anymore? In the online era of texts and emails, letters feel slow and overly formal.

However, letters are still an important part of communication between clients and businesses. You may find yourself needing to write up a sales letter, direct mail letter, or fundraising letter for a present or future client at some point.

It may have been a while since you’ve had to write a letter, but knowing how to format one correctly is an important skill for copywriters. It can help you in the future with client projects, promoting your business, or even connecting with new and old penpals. Following the standard, 7 parts of a letter format, will help you create professional letters for any situation. 


How Do I Write a Formal Letter?

Our guide is mainly focused on writing sales and business letters, which aren’t very formal. However, the barebones of a formal letter are nearly identical to a business letter. The only difference is you won’t include a P.S. or enclosures.

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About Grant Simpson

Grant Simpson is a professional content writer with experience in SEO and B2C content. He also works as a freelance creative writer and is a published poet under the name g.c. simpson. Outside of work, he enjoys reading good books and has a cup of coffee within reach at all hours of the day.

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