As I stated before, by studying the clickthrough tendencies of visitors to my Writing Help Central website over the years I have been able to gain a very good understanding of the actual "letter writing needs" of the typical visitor to that site.
Business letters can be divided into two broad categories, based on the intended recipient: business-to-business letters and business-to-customer letters.
It is important to note that a lot of confusion exists as to what are true business letters and what are NOT business letters. For example, a "cover letter" for a resume or c.v. is NOT a business letter - it is a personal employment-related letter. On the other hand, a "cover letter" used to transmit a report or a legal document IS a business letter.
Letters that some people loosely define as business letters which are NOT business letters at all include: resume cover letters, personal character and job reference letters, complaint letters, letters to landlords, personal thank you letters, resignation letters, job inquiry and application letters; and other letters of a personal nature such as letters of apology, congratulations, invitation, and condolence, among others.
The links below will take you to typical sample letter templates for each of the two main categories of business letters:
Business-to-business letters are letters that businesses send in "normal" business situations, including internal correspondence.
The term "business" is used here in the broad sense to include any kind of enterprise, for-profit or non-profit, for which activities focus on the creation and/or delivery of a good or service to customers. "Customer" refers to any recipient of a good or service delivered by a business.
The following links go to actual real-life templates for the most requested business-to-business letters:
Appreciation letter - thanking a conference speaker.
Business introduction letter - introducing yourself and/or a service.
Business letter - confirmation follow-up after business meeting.
Business memorandum - internal memorandum to employee.
Business thank you letter - to another company for assistance.
Congratulations letter - to a former employee.
Contract letter - request to expedite payment.
Contract letter - notification of audit.
Cover letter - transmit annual report to a business.
Donation letter - typical fundraising solicitation letter.
Fundraising letter - request business donation for school project.
Invitation letter - invite conference speaker.
Letter of commendation - commend an employee.
Letter of credit - construction project guarantee.
Letter of introduction - to introduce professional contact.
Letter of interest - to participate in a project.
Letter of recognition - to recognize and thank a speaker.
Letter of reference - business customer reference.
Performance evaluation letter - medical residency candidate.
Recommendation letter - former employee - marketing job.
Reference letter - former employee - sales job.
Sympathy letter - death of long-time employee.
Termination letter - when terminating an employee.
Business-to-customer letters are defined as typical letters that businesses send to their customers under normal operating circumstances.
The term "business" is used here in the broad sense to include any kind of enterprise, for-profit or non-profit, which activities focus on the creation and/or delivery of a good or service to customers. "Customer" refers to any recipient of a good or service delivered by a business, including internal customers.
The following links go to real-life templates for the most requested business-to-customer letters:
Apology letter - customer service error.
Collection letter - third notice letter in a standard series.
Contract letter - request for more information.
Cover letter - transmit franchise application forms.
Donation letter - hospital fundraising campaign.
Follow-up letter - after customer's initial visit.
Invoice letter template - for professional services.
Letter of acceptance - mortgage application accepted.
Letter of appreciation - to special customer list.
Letter of condolence - death of customer and friend.
Letter of invitation - for special event.
Letter of rejection - turned down for loan.
Marketing letter - to promote a conference event.
Rejection letter - to unsuccessful job applicant.
Sales letter - to promote a product or service.
Welcome letter - to welcome a new customer.
For instant access to a business letter writing style guide with more than 100 real-life templates that you can download straight into your word processor and copy, cut, paste, and use as you like, you should check out:
Instant Business Letter Kit
For real-life samples of the two main types of personal letters: person-to-person and person-to-business Click here.