“Business letters” are a part of the everyday business. They help the business to communicate with other entities in a clear and recordable manner. Usually, business letters are sent from one business to another. However, it can also be sent to an individual, vendor or client. There are various types of business letter formats that a business must write in a day.

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To make it easier for everyone business letters follow a certain format. You need to know and implement that format to be able to communicate clearly and to maintain professionalism. Every form of communication sent out by a company reflects on the company. Which is why your business letters should be formatted the right way.

In this article, we will discuss the 20 types of business letter formats and different types of business letter.

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What are Business Letters?

All and every business letter that is sent out by a business is a business letter. Business letters are important to communicate a message on the record. These letters can be held as evidence in case disputes arise about a certain topic in the future. Business letters are an important part of a business and should be written with the utmost care. Mistakes in such letters can be costly and can damage the reputation of the business.

Business Letter Format 

There are different types of business letters, however, while writing a business letter it is important to write it in the correct format. Having an unclear format will make it difficult for the receiver to understand the letter or worse, they might not receive it at all. 


Business letters serve a legal purpose and are used for business purposes. A well-formatted business letter is a very basic expectation that the receiver will have while dealing with a professional company. A poorly formatted letter gives the receiver the impression that the sender lacks communication skills or doesn’t take the receiver seriously enough.

Types of business letter

The General Format of a Business Letter Goes As The Following:


1. Date

Mention the date that you are writing the letter on the left side of the letter. Use the day, month and year format eg 2/08/20.

2. Reciever’s Address

Make sure the sender’s address is left aligned as well. It is a good idea to include the sender’s email id or the receiver’s phone number. If you are writing a physical letter, include these details on the envelope.

3. Salutations

All business letters should start with a salutation and the name of the person the salutation is addressed to. For example, Respected Bryan Adams. Use their full name and a comma.

4. Body Text

State why you are writing the letter. It is appreciated when business letters are short and to the point. The body text will vary depending on the type of business letter format you are writing.

5. Call to action

Clearly mention the actions that the receiver should take after reading the letter. This will increase the likelihood of them taking the action.

6. Signature Block

Sign off the letter with your name and signature. Ensure that the sign is either in black or blue ink.

7. Enclosures

Mention enclosures if the letter has any. Enclosures are the attachments to the letter. This will give the receiver a clear idea about what to expect in the envelope.

3 Types of Business Letters 

 In a broad sense, there are three types of business letters. The type of the letter depends on the purpose of writing the letter and the relationship with the receiver of the letter. 


a. Formal

 Formal letters are usually written from one business to another. They are to the point and are usually short. Letters written between two companies are usually formal letters. 

 b. Informal

Informal letters are considered to be friendly and personal letters. They are written when the writer has a non-professional relationship with the receiver. This type of letter format is usually written for communication between two parties. Informal letters are usually longer than formal letters.

c. Semi-formal

 Semi-formal letters are business letters that are written to someone that the writer knows but isn’t close with. This letter balances between the formal and informal tone. 

20 Types of  Business Letter

1. Sales Letters
2. Order Letters
3. Complaint Letters
4. Apology Letter
5. Demand of Delivery Letter
6. Adjustment Letters
7. Inquiry Letters
8. Follow-up Letters
9. Networking Letters
10. Resignation
11. Cover Letter
12. Application of Job
13. Quotation Letter
14. Acknowledgement Letter
15. Job Appointment letter
16. Circular Announcements
17. Interest
18. In-Office Memorandum Letter
19. Commendation
20. Recommendation letters

20 Types of Business Letter Formats 


1. Sales Letters

 Sales letters are the most common types of letters formats in business. letters are written to the prospective customer or the target audience to introduce your business and urge them to take action. 

 This is why sales letters should capture the audience’s attention in its first line. Making a bold claim or mentioning statistics is a good way to do that. 

 Sales letters are usually used to pitch a product or service to a new audience. Therefore, it is important to write the letter in the right format.


Things to keep in mind while writing a sales letter:

1. Make the introductory paragraph interesting.
2. Include a strong CTA which mentions what you want the client to do.
3.  Keep it short and crisp.


2. Order Letters

 An order letter is a type of business letter format that is used to order products or services from a vendor, manufacturer, retailer or a wholesaler. The order letter may or may not include the payment. This is usually already discussed before sending the order letter across. 


 Things to keep in mind while writing an order letter:

1.  Clearly specify the products required.
2.  Mention the details of the product like the quantity, product type, expected price, etc.
3.  Mention the expected delivery date.

3. Complaint Letters

 As the name suggests, this type of business letter is written to show dissatisfaction with a product or a service. While complaining about bad service or product it is easy to get carried away with emotions. However, it is important to write a complaint letter with professionalism and clarity. This will make your complaint letter stand out and will help the receiver to help you easily. 

 Furthermore, if you can be empathetic to the receiver in your letter then it is likely that they will want to help you more. 


Things to keep in mind while writing a complaint letter:

1.  Write the letter with a clear goal in mind.
2. Use a strong tone but do not be rude.
3.  Focus on the product or service. Do not throw personal attacks in the letter.
4. Try being empathetic to the person, it will resolve your complaint faster.


4. Apology Letter

Businesses are run by people and people tend to make mistakes. As a business, it is important to acknowledge that mistake and move past it. Start your letter by acknowledging your mistake. Then sincerely ask for forgiveness and mention the changes your company will make to avoid such mistakes. End the letter by asking for forgiveness again.


Things to keep in mind while writing an apology letter:

1.  Acknowledge your mistakes.
2.  Apologize in person apart from writing the letter.
3.  Sincerely apologize in the letter.
4.  Mention the rectification or improvements that will be made.

5. Demand of Delivery Letter

Demand for delivery letter informs the supplier that delivery wasn’t made on time. Include the details of the purchase and attach the relevant documents to the letter. This letter is written to inform the company about your demand for delivery.


Things to keep in mind while writing the demand of delivery letter:

1.  Mention the order details
2.  Attach the relevant purchase documents to the letter
3.  Include the items purchased, purchase date and the delivery date confirmed
4.  Be firm and professional


6. Adjustment Letters

 An adjustment letter is a formal letter that is a response to a complaint letter. It works on acknowledging the written complaint and informing them about the steps taken from your side to rectify the situation. It explains the decision making process to the receiver. This adjustment letter you can use for legal purposes too.


Things to keep in mind while writing an adjustment letter: 

1.  Use a humble and helpful tone
2.  Acknowledge receiving the complaint
3.  Explain the process of the complaint
4.  Mention the steps taken to help resolve their complaint

Apology letter for a mistake
Demand of Delivery

7. Inquiry Letters

As the name suggests, inquiry letters are needs to write to inquire about something. It is usually written to seek certain information from the receiver of the letter. Inquiry letters are short and work as a 


Things to keep in mind while writing an Inquiry letter:

1.  Keep the letter short and clear
2.  Include your address and contact details in the letter so that the reader can respond easily.


8. Follow-up Letters

Follow up letters are usually sent after an initial conversation has already taken place. It furthers the discussion or works as a reminder. Follow-up letters are usually short and already have a context to them.


Things to keep in mind while writing a follow-up letter: 

1.  Keep a follow-up letter short and to the point
2.  Mention the details of what you are following-up about
3.  This should only be written after a discussion has already happened regarding the topic.

9. Networking Letters

Networking means building a relationship with someone on a professional level. It is important to write good networking letters as taking the time to do such simple tasks helps boost your company’s brand image. Networking letters are semi-formal letters that can be written to build a formal relationship. 

Networking letters include a large variety of letters in it. This types of business letter format includes sample job search, referral letters, letter of introduction and networking outreach letters. 


1.  Referral letters are letters that are written to refer someone you know to someone else. This type of business letter format is written for stellar employees or great vendors.
2.  Thank you letters are written to thank a person for something that they did. This type of letter helps build trust and shows gratitude.
3.  Job outreach letters are written to fulfil the job position of an employee. 


10. Letter of Resignation

The letter of resignation is a type of business letter form which an employee submits to the company. It is an official notice that the employee gives to the company about his job. Usually, a resignation letter is submitted to the manager or the HR department.


Things to keep in mind while writing a letter of resignation:

1. Mention the last working date
2. Explain the cause of leaving
3. Include your employee code
4. Thank the company for the various opportunities
5. Keep the letter short

11. Cover Letter

A cover letter is a business letter which has an attachment to it. The attachment can be a package, a letter or a report. The purpose of a cover letter is to give instructions to the receiver about what they should do with the package along with why the product has been sent. A cover letter is usually very clear and short and is written in a formal tone.


Things to keep in mind while writing a cover letter:

1. Mention what is attached with the letter
2. Give instructions to the receiver about the attachment
3. Mention if any actions need to be taken


12.  Application of Job letter

A job application letter is sent by an aspiring candidate to the company along with their resume. It provides information about the skills and the experience of a candidate. The letter gives the candidate a chance to show the company that they are fit for the role.


Things to keep in mind while writing a job letter:

1. Mention your strengths
2. Mention experience that proves that you fit the job role. “Sell yourself” to the receiver
3. Make sure your application letter is a summary of your resume

13. Quotation Letter

A quotation letter is a business letter that is simply written to quote the price of a product along with the terms and conditions for the transaction. It is written about a product or service. This is an important business letter that can later be used to hold a person accountable.


Things to keep in mind while writing a quotation letter:

1. The quotation letter should mention the price clearly.
2. The terms and conditions of the business need to be mentioned.


14. Acknowledgement Letter

The acknowledgement letter is a business letter that simply confirms something. It is used to confirm receiving an order or to acknowledge a mistake from the writer’s end. This is a type of business letter that informs the receiver that their communication has been received by the writer.


Things to keep in mind while writing an acknowledgement letter:

1. Keep it short and simple.
2. Mention what you are acknowledging.

types of business letter
Acknowledgement Letter

15. Job Appointment letter

The Job Appointment letter is the first business document that is given to an employee when they are accepted into the company. It affirms their position in the company and confirms that they have been selected for the position they applied for.


Things to keep in mind while writing a Job Appointment letter:

1. Congratulate the candidate
2. Mention the name, contact details and the address of the candidate
3. Mention the job role
4. Mention the date of joining for the candidate


16. Circular Letter Announcements

A circular letter is a type of business letter format which is formal and official. It is addressed to a small group of people and usually written to share information with them. The letter intends to share information. This information is usually “general” in type and needs to be distributed quickly.


Things to keep in mind while writing a circular letter announcement:

1. The circular letter shares a piece of information with a large number of people very quickly
2. It is a formal business letter
3. Require to written to inform
4. It should not be controversial
5. The tone of a circular letter is polite and clear

17. Letter of Interest

A letter of interest is a type of business letter format which is formal. The purpose of this letter is to show interest in working with a company. Usually, employees write this letter to show their interest in working with the company even when the company isn’t advertising for vacancies.


Things to keep in mind while writing a letter of interest:

1. Write a hook line.
2. Mention your accomplishments.
3. Mention what you can do for the company.


18. In-Office Memorandum Letter

The In-Office Memorandums is an official letter sent to the employees of a company. It is casually also called a memo. Memorandum means a reminder. This is a type of business letter format which is usually written to inform the company’s employees of a certain change, policy or a new decision. However, it can also be written to call for a certain action.


Things to keep in mind while writing an in-Office Memorandum.

1. Keep the tone of the letter formal
2. Pay attention to the main subject of the letter
3. Announce the purpose of the letter in the introductory line.

19. Letter of Commendation

 The Letter of Commendation are letters that are written to recognise the effort and to express gratitude. The letter of commendation can be accompanied by a reward which can be in the form of a promotion or bonus. The letter is written when a task has been handled exceptionally well. It recognises it and rewards that behaviour. This is the types of business letter format which is usually unsolicited. 


Things to keep in mind while writing a letter of commendation:

1. Use a positive and grateful tone
2. Explain the reason for commending
3. Summarize why they deserve recognition
4. Encourage them to keep up the good work 


20. Recommendation letters 

 The letter of recommendation is the type of business letter format that is given an employee by the company. This helps the employee show proof of their background. If the employee applies somewhere else the letter of recommendation will help them add more weight to their application. Having a strong letter of recommendations helps the employee while applying for further studies, volunteering opportunities or other work positions. 


Things to keep in mind while writing a letter of recommendation:

1. Mention how you know the candidate
2. Mention the experience you had while working with them
3. Mention the employee’s expertise
4. Share your details in case someone would like to know more

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There you have it, 20 types of business letters and business letter formats. Everything you need to know to write your next business letter. Understanding the types of business letters and business letter formats will help you write them quickly and easily whenever the need arises. Understanding the format in which business letters are written will help you write professional letters with ease.


So, now you can also understand which business letters you have to write and when. Which will allow you to use your writing skills to the fullest.