How to ask for something in an email with 10 examples

How to ask for something in an email

A well-phrased email request can open doors, build relationships, and get things done efficiently. However, it’s often challenging to find the right words or the appropriate tone when asking for something through an email. 

So, this makes it easy to miss the mark, leading to miscommunications or, worse, leaving most email requests unfulfilled.

In this article, we’ve broken down what you need to do to craft the best request emails. We also have some examples that will show you how to create one. So, let’s dive in.

What is a request email?

A request email is a message that you send to someone asking them for something that you need. It could be a request for information, a favor, assistance, service, permission, resources, an appointment, or even for someone’s time.

That said, here are some scenarios wherein you may need to use email to make requests:

  • Making an inquiry,
  • Asking for advice,
  • Sending a meeting invite,
  • To request documents,
  • To complete a form, or
  • Ask for more resources.

Before you write one, you first need to understand what makes a great request email. That’s how you know the request email you’ve written is set to bring you your desired results.  

How to write an effective email asking for something

Ready to write your email request? Here are the steps you need to consider. But first, let’s get clear on the key elements that make a good request email successful. 

Request email fundamentals: Key elements that make a good request email

Here are 6 key elements that you know your request email is written and up for maximum engagement. 

1. It’s direct and concise

There is no need to beat around the bush. State your intentions immediately and keep it short. Tell them what you want, why, and when you want it. The shorter you make the email, the easier you make it for your recipients to read through, and the more likely they are to DO THE THING or GRANT THE REQUEST.

2. It’s polite 

Simply asking someone something doesn’t guarantee they’ll fulfill it for you. The way you ask also matters. That’s why the request email should be polite. Using courteous language makes the recipient more likely to want to help you. This includes using phrases like “please” and “thank you”, as well as using a respectful tone throughout the email.

Also, understand that writing a polite email goes beyond the language or the ask; it’s also about showing respect for the recipient’s time and efforts. This includes waiting patiently for a reply rather than making your email sound pushy or sending incessant follow-ups. You need to be understanding if they are unable to fulfill your request. 

3. It has a clear and easy-to-understand request

Clarity is key in a request email. You need to articulate what exactly you’re asking for, providing all necessary specifications and guidelines. Avoid using jargon or complex language that could potentially confuse the recipient. 

Using bullet points or numbered lists can be useful when asking for multiple items or explaining several parts of a more complex request. The clearer your request, the fewer back-and-forth emails will be needed, saving everyone’s time and effort.

4. It has a clear CTA

Studies show that an email with a clear CTA has a response rate of 371%. Even with that aside, it only makes sense to guide your recipient to the next step with a clear CTA after stating your request. 

The CTA should be explicit about what you want them to do after reading the email, whether it’s providing information, performing a specific task, or replying by a certain date. Explicit, clear instructions make it easier for your recipient to act on your request promptly and correctly.

If possible, you can break the task into simpler requests spread over a specific time frame and ask them to get it done in due course. Note that you’ll have to make this clear and write the CTA accordingly. 

5. It indicates the level of urgency

Professionals are always busy. If your request is time-sensitive, you have to clearly state it. You could do this by mentioning the deadline in the subject line or early in the email. At the same time, you have to provide a reasonable timeframe for the recipient to fulfill your request. 

Keep in mind, though, that misusing urgency or making every request an “urgent” one can undermine your credibility. 

6. It emphasizes the recipient’s suitability for the task

Be clear to your recipient about why they are the right person for the job — it’s even the best way to personalize the email. Sometimes, a little flattery can help you get a fast response. Do they have unique skills, knowledge, or resources that make them the best candidate to assist you? 

This acknowledgment will help the recipient feel valued, increasing their motivation to assist. It also demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and put thought into who to ask for help, which can boost your credibility.

Request email format: 7 steps to draft your request email

If you have considered the above-mentioned points, your request email should be easy to write, and you should have a clear idea of what to include and what not to. 

That said, here are the 7 steps you have to complete to send an effective request via email.

Step 1: Craft a concise and compelling subject line

If you want your email to be opened and read, then you must craft a compelling subject line. The email subject line is the first thing your recipient sees in the inbox. So, you want one that’s clear and grabs your recipient’s attention. 

Keep in mind that the best request email subject lines are the simplest ones, and they directly state what the email will be about. For instance, let’s say you are seeking to request a quote concerning a product or service. Your subject line could go this way:

Subject line: Request for quote for [product/service’s name].

Here are other examples: 

  • “Urgent: Need your approval for project proposal by Friday”
  • “Request for extension on financial audit deadline”
  • “Invitation: Feedback session for new product line”
  • “Request for reference: Job application for XYZ position”
  • “Need your insights: Market trends 2023 research”

Step 2: Start the email with a polite and appropriate greeting

Your relationship with the recipient often determines the style of greeting. 

If the recipient is your professor, an investor, or any person with whom you need to maintain a formal and professional relationship, you should greet them politely. Email salutation formulas like Dear + Name or Hello + Name are perfect for this. 

If the recipient is someone you are particularly close with, you can try being more casual or open the conversation with a friendly greeting. In this case, a Hi + Name or Hey + Name will be perfect. 

Step 3: Build rapport with them by expressing gratitude for their work (especially their skillset related to your request)

Once you have greeted your recipient, you can proceed with the conversation by introducing yourself and creating a connection in the first sentence. The best way to do this is to express gratitude for their work, especially their skillset pertaining to your request. This approach shows that you value their work and expertise.

Here is an example: 

I’ve been following your work in the area of sustainable manufacturing processes with great interest. Your expertise and experience in this area are remarkable, and I believe you’re uniquely qualified to assist with my request.

There are lots of other ways to do this. For example, you can mention something you have in common (be it a person or an interest), something you find fascinating about them, and more. Here are some more examples: 

  • “I had the opportunity to attend the ‘Leadership in a Digital Age’ conference last month. I was particularly impressed by your contribution to the panel discussion on innovative management techniques. This made me realize that you could provide valuable help for my current project.”
  • “Our mutual colleague, Jane, has often spoken of your exceptional skills in database management. Given this, I’m reaching out to you with a request that I believe falls within your area of expertise.”

Step 4: Get to the point and make your request clear and specific

The way forward is to clearly state the purpose of your email. Be clear and specific about your request and why it needs to be done. This will help your recipient to understand what you need and get it done. 

For instance, it may be that you need a letter of reference, some confidential information, a backlink, a feature on their newsletter, or you need to pick their brain for a project. Here is an example, suppose you need a feature on their newsletter:

“I’m reaching out to kindly request the opportunity to be featured in your upcoming newsletter. Specifically, I’m interested in introducing our recently launched product, [product name], to your audience. This innovative product [briefly describe what the product does and its benefits]. Given the interests and needs of your subscriber base, I believe they would find this product to be beneficial.”

Step 5: Offer a favor in return (if appropriate).

A quick way to have your recipient prioritize your requests is to offer them a favor in return. It’s a good way to show a sense of professional courtesy. It creates a win-win situation where both parties will benefit from the request. Sometimes, it might be what it takes. 

While you’re at it, note that you should only consider this if it’s appropriate for the scenario so that your recipient won’t mistake it as a bribe. A good example is in the context of a backlink request

You can tell your recipient/target if they link to your desired page, you will link back to their site. Or even better, you can promise to link them in your future guest posts. Here is an example of how you can frame this in an email:

“In return, I would be more than happy to include a link to your blog post in a future piece or even in an update to an existing article on our site.

Our content will mutually enhance each other, providing our respective audiences with even more valuable information.”

Step 6: Ensure the clarity of the call-to-action and next steps.

Once you have stated your request in the email message, you should clarify how you want your recipient to take action. It makes it easy for the recipient to say yes to your request. 

For instance, you may want to book a meeting with them, schedule a phone call at a specific timeframe, or request to pick up some documents through specific channels. Whatever you want from them, state it in simple terms. 

Step 7: End the email in a professional way

Finally, thank your recipient for their attention and time to read through your requests. Next, add a good email closing line and end it with a proper email sign-off. Here is an example:

“Thank you very much for considering my request. I understand that you have many demands on your time, and I greatly appreciate your attention to this matter.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information or have any questions. I look forward to your positive response.

Best regards, 

[your name]”

10 templates of emails you can use to ask for something 

Read the sample and then apply it to your situation. Avoid copying and pasting. Instead, personalize the message for each request email you’re crafting. 

1. Formal email for a request sample

Writing a formal request email involves structuring your message in a professional way, using courteous language, and being clear and concise with your request. You can customize this email to fit almost every situation. Below is a template you can use as a guide to writing a formal email requesting something.

2. Email sample to request a meeting

A meeting request email enables you to ask for an appointment with someone, be it a prospective client, investor, colleague, or others. The most important thing you must consider when crafting this kind of email is the value of the meeting to the other party. 

It immediately tells them why they need to consider the request and what they stand to gain from it. Next, you propose a time, date, and venue (be it physical or virtual) that’s convenient for your recipient. Here is a template that can guide you to write email requests to secure meetings. 

3. How to write an email requesting a quotation

A quotation request email helps to inquire about the pricing of a product or service. It can be sent from a client to a business or a company client to another company provider, aka B2B.

In this email, you must communicate what you want, the quantities (if it’s a product) that you require, and the price (whether unit or total price). Here is an example you can use for writing emails to request quotes.

4. How to write an information request email

A common reason to create a request email is to ask for information. The email helps you ask for specific details or data from the recipient. It can be sent to colleagues, clients, or external stakeholders to gather the necessary information for decision-making or to complete a task.

The key to a good information request email is to be clear and specific about what information you need, why you need it, and when you need it. This helps the recipient understand exactly what is being asked and how they can assist.

Here is a sample you can emulate:

5. Sample email requesting documents

Another common reason to create a request email is to ask for documents. You have to write a formal or semi-formal email that asks for specific documents or files from a colleague, a client, or another professional connection. Your email should clearly state what documents are needed, why they’re needed, and the deadline for submitting them.

Here’s a sample email requesting documents: 

6. Sample email to fill out a form or request a survey

An email to fill out a form or request a survey helps you reach out to individuals or groups to solicit their participation in a form or survey. This form or survey could be for research, feedback, data collection, or any other purpose.

This type of email should include the purpose of the survey, how the information will be used, how long it will take to complete, and the deadline for completion. Here is a sample you can use:

Keep in mind that being clear about the purpose of the survey and respecting the respondent’s privacy can encourage more individuals to complete your survey. Also, providing a deadline creates a sense of urgency and may improve response rates.

7. Sample email requesting something an immediate action or something urgent

An email requesting urgent or immediate action is typically written to convey the importance and urgency of a specific task or action required by the recipient. It should clearly explain the situation, state what is required, why it is urgent, and request for prompt action.

Here is an email sample you can emulate for this. 

8. Sample email requesting something from your boss

When you’re considering how to request something from your boss, you have to carefully choose your words. Be clear about what you need and why you need it, but be polite when making your requests by maintaining respect for their position. 

This kind of email should be professional and respectful, clearly stating how the request will ultimately benefit you, your boss, or the company.

Here is a template that can inspire you. 

9. Sample email requesting something from a potential investor

Like the request email to your boss, carefully choose your words when emailing a potential investor. State the purpose of the email and why they should respond to it. Remain courteous when making your requests. Here is a sample email for this: 

10. Sample email requesting something from your co-worker

When requesting something from your co-worker, be clear about what you want and why you need it. In fact, it should be a professional message where you ask for assistance, information, or a favor relating to your work tasks. It’s vital to be clear, polite, and respectful in your email as you’re asking for someone’s time or resources. Here is a sample you can emulate. 

Key takeaways

  • A request email is an email you send to someone asking them to do something for you. Depending on the person, you’ll need to keep the tone appropriate and be polite so that they want to consider your request.
  • Go straight to the point by presenting what you want in your request email. Avoid beating around the bush.
  • Spell out the deadline for your request email if it’s a time limit. 
  • Need help with email marketing and lead generation? We are here to help. Nerdy Joe can help you get highly-stellar results from our sophisticated email marketing efforts. Give us a response today. 

Get 3 – 5 meetings every week

We can fill your calendar with 3- 5 meetings every week. Just tell us who is your ideal customer, and we’ll get you meetings with them.

Discover more articles

Discover our latest articles here