In the business world, thank you notes are always appreciated. Whether it’s to say thank you for a referral or recommendation, or for another favor from an individual or organization, taking the time to say thank you will not only show the recipient how much you value the favor, but it will also show your thoughtfulness and help build a stronger relationship with the recipient.

While a phone call or casual email might seem enough, it doesn’t have the same gravity as a mailed letter. Being concrete rather than electronic, a thank you note adds a more personalized touch to your thank you message. It also has a stronger emotional impact on the recipient and tends to leave an impression that lasts longer.

Since thank you notes can be very effective for making new connections, growing existing relationships, and showing the sender’s thoughtfulness, it’s more than necessary for every business owner or professional to know how to write them. Here are guidelines for writing an unforgettable thank you letter.

How to Write a Business Thank You Note

1. Choose an appropriate greeting-: If you are sending the thank you letter to one person in particular, address him or her by title and last name—for example, “Dear Mr. Adams.” When you are addressing more than one person, include them all by name and title in the greeting line. Avoid clichéd and impersonal greetings like, “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir.” Such greetings take the shine off your letter and dampen the recipient’s interest in it. Your greeting must convince the recipient that the thank you note was sent to them specifically.

2. Start with “Thank you”-: The first sentence in your thank you letter should be structured around the words “thank you.” This sentence will come after the salutation, but before the explanation of why you are thanking the recipient. Avoid prolonging or weakening this sentence with unnecessary words, as in “I would like to express my gratitude for…” and “I’m just writing to say thank you for…” Instead, use a direct sentence rendered in simple present-perfect tense—such as “Thank you very much for…” or “We greatly appreciate your…”

3. Explain the reason for your letter-: It’s important that you spell out the specific reason you are writing the thank-you note in the first place. Your letter will lack the desired emotional impact if you state no reason or if you state a vague reason like that could mean a thousand things—such as “We appreciate your business” or “Thank you very much for being there for us.” Instead, write something like, “Thank you very much for offering me a huge discount the last time I came for shopping at your store” or “Thank you for allowing us to serve you for 10 years.

4. State the benefit or significance of the favor-: To make the reader understand how much you value and appreciate what you are thanking them for, name the major benefit or impact of the reason you stated earlier. For example, you could write, “Your advice proved invaluable in helping us achieve our company’s annual goals” or “The discount I enjoyed helped me save a few hundred dollars that were all I needed to pay my utility bills last month.” Statements like these motivate the reader to continue that relationship and to offer even more.

5. State your hope for the future-: One of the most inspiring and thought-provoking parts of a thank-you letter is your thought or hope for the future—related to the benefit you spelled out. Be sure to tie this hope to the recipient’s current endeavors or goals. For example, you might write, “I hope that we may continue to serve your asset maintenance needs as you open your new facility in Seattle.” Such a statement tells the recipient what you look forward to and explicitly states your desire to establish a long-term relationship with them.

6. Reiterate your thanks and close your letter-: Your last sentence should be a simple one that reiterates your opening thanks. Start with something like “Thank you once again for…“, but use different words for your reason.

Most of the time, it will be appropriate to close your thank you note with some variation of “Best regards,” “Your truly,” or “Sincerely.” This should then be followed by your signature. Always sign your name in pen–even if the letter is typed. And when appropriate, include your title or position and the name of your company beneath your name.