Learn how to write an invoice email that helps you get paid faster and keeps your clients informed. With this small step, you can make sure your projects move forward with ease.
When sending online invoices, it isn’t always clear what to include. Do we keep it strictly formal, or can we add a bit of our personality? What information needs to be there other than the invoice amount and due date?
Even though it seems like such a simple step in every project, learning how to write an invoice email can help protect you from late payments and confusion. With the right email template and online payment software, you can make sure you’re making it easy for your clients to pay online seamlessly and quickly.
In general, every invoice email template should include the following:
- A subject line with the invoice, due date, and product/service
- A greeting with a salutation to personalize your interaction
- The body of the email, including the invoice number, due date, service provided, payment terms, payment methods, and person of contact
- A conclusion that expresses appreciation for the opportunity to work with them now and in the future.
- A professional email signature with your name, title, and any contact information.
To set you up for success, let’s break down eight expert tips to guarantee you’re writing an effective email invoice.
Pro Tip: Use HoneyBook’s invoice email templates to fast-track your payment process. Add the templates to your HoneyBook account and customize them in minutes to begin sending to your clients. You can also use invoice templates to keep everything consistent and professional.
1. Prevent surprises with transparent pricing
Your pricing structure needs to be communicated upfront and with as much transparency as possible. Ideally, the pricing that’s in your invoice email should be the exact same as what your client already selected and agreed on.
If there have been any changes made to your policies or pricing, or if there have been adjustments made to the project, you need to make that clear and give your clients ample time to understand the changes.
Even if you’ve already communicated what goes into your pricing, be sure to reiterate it in your invoice email as well. Your clients will especially appreciate an itemized breakdown of your packages or services.
CEO & Founder of Winlt, Ouriel Lemmel says, “Communicating your pricing transparently and noting differences in expectations in a timely manner will help to prevent uncomfortable issues. No one wants to feel surprised when receiving a note for payment from you. It should always be expected or you will decrease trust and loyalty in your working relationships.“
2. Prioritize the information in the subject line
Jim Pendergast, Senior Vice President of altLINE Sobanco states, “Email structure should create actionable personal touches that set the stage for growth, production, and overall morale.” In other words, your clients should see your subject line and know that your project is about to kick off. They should feel excited to get started or continue working with you and the payment should be no surprise!
Include the most important information from your invoice in the subject line to be sure that your clients can find you easily and know what to expect upon opening. This might include the invoice due date, invoice number, or amount due.
A strong subject line lessens the possibility of clients skimming past you in their email scroll, or not being able to identify what it is as soon as it appears in their inbox. Subject lines also help people vet scam emails, and clients are 29% more likely to open distinctly personalized emails.
3. Make sure your email is always on time
The timeliness of your email will impact your professionalism and communication. Your clients have expectations for the type of support they’re looking for from you, and adhering to those expectations will make them feel more energized to work with you and pay you on time.
Sending them an invoice just a few days before it’s due may leave a negative feeling. They may feel suprised, and you don’t want to run the risk of creating a poor client experience. Instead, your invoice email should be expected and punctual.
4. Keep the message simple
Less is more applies well to invoice emails. Use simple phrasing and avoid wordiness with unnecessary fluff. You can still incorporate your personality with your greeting and email signature, but be sure that the most important information is what’s front and center in your email.
The more words in your email, the more they’re going to search for the most important parts, so steer clear of being long-winded and excessive.
5. Use instinctual formatting
You definitely don’t want to confuse your clients with your invoice email. Instead, you want to provide everything they need so they easily understand how much they need to pay, when it’s due, and how to pay.
Use instinctual formatting to lay this information out clearly. You can use bullet points or bold the font to highlight the most important information. If they had questions from a previous discussion, be sure to answer these with separate paragraphs as well.
Overall, you don’t want to hide the information within a lengthy block of text. Always think about the client’s perspective and how they’ll want to easily scan for the information they need, then easily click a button or link to pay. The bottom line: be direct and keep it simple.
5. Be polite yet firm
Sending your invoice is part of your client and brand experience, so you don’t want to lose your personality. However, invoicing is also one of the most important parts of your business, and it should be treated as such.
Incorporate your personality in your greeting and signature to stay polite, but make sure your language is firm as you get into your invoice due date and payment terms.
For some independent business owners (especially those who are just starting out), it may feel awkward to ask for payment. But just remember that your clients have ample time to agree to everything before they sign your online contract. If you’re communicating properly, the invoice should be no surprise.
It’s wise to also mention your late payment terms within the invoice email so your clients understand that they need to pay on time and what the consequences are if they don’t. Reiterating your business terms isn’t rude, it’s professional, and your client will understand completely.
6. Don’t neglect personalization
Personalizing your content for your clients boosts engagement and satisfaction while making the process feel less transactional and cold. Your brand has a distinct voice that makes you stand out and so do the clients you’re working with.
Within your subject line or email intro, be sure to use the client’s name (spelled correctly). You can also start the email with a brief sentence about how you’re excited to work with them on their specific project. Even this little bit of personalization goes a long way to show that you care about their business beyond the payment they’re providing.
7. Build in payment reminders
Unfortunately, late payments will sometimes happen. Being proactive about forgetful clients or unexpected events will save you time and money in the long run. Sometimes clients forget about an email they’ve opened, or they’re struggling to manage their financial accounts. It’s also possible for emails to end up in the spam folder, or get lost amidst all the others in their inbox.
To ensure you receive payment on time send scheduled notifications to remind clients to pay leading up to their due date. Consider beginning to send a payment reminder one to two weeks before the payment is due. When you send the reminders, include the online invoice again and all the same information you included in your first email.
It’s also a good idea to consider enforcing past-due penalties to protect yourself, which you can include in your online contracts for clients to read before the first payment is due. If you decide to use past-due penalties, be sure to reiterate this to clients in the initial invoice email.
Example of an invoice email
In addition to following all of the tips we highlighted above, use invoice email templates to take the guesswork out of crafting your emails. Copy our example below to get started:
Subject line: Invoice [NUMBER OF THE INVOICE] for [SERVICES PROVIDED] due [DUE DATE]
Hi [CLIENT NAME],
Hope you are having a good day! I’m excited to move forward with [PROJECT NAME].
Please see attached invoice [NUMBER OF THE INVOICE] for [SERVICES PROVIDED] in [MONTH]. The invoice is due [DUE DATE].
I’ve included an itemized breakdown of services within the invoice. As a reminder, my late payment fees are [LATE PAYMENT TERMS]. Your next invoice will be sent on [NEXT INVOICE DATE], and your current project balance is [PROJECT BALANCE].
To pay online, please click here. [Link to your online payment service]
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
If you have already sent your invoice email, but there is no update on the client side, make sure to send out a friendly payment reminder email. Here is an example of the follow-up email you can use:
Invoice Follow-Up Email
Subject line: Overdue invoice [NUMBER OF THE INVOICE] for [SERVICES PROVIDED]
Hi [CLIENT NAME],
I know emails get lost sometimes, and that’s why I’m emailing you again.
Just a gentle reminder about the invoice [NUMBER OF THE INVOICE] due [DUE DATE] for [SERVICES PROVIDED] in [MONTH].
You can view the invoice here and pay online. Let me know if you’ve received it and if you have any questions.
Why small businesses need effective invoice emails
Writing an invoice email is just one part of learning how to send invoices that get you paid. Though it’s such a small step, an effective invoice process can get you paid faster, smooth out your cash flow, and improve your overall client satisfaction.
And you don’t have to spend a ton of effort putting it all together! With HoneyBook, you can manage all of the payment tasks outlined above: use invoice templates that allow online payment, schedule payment reminders, automate due date reminders, collect payments, and more.