26 June 2023

How to express urgency in an email for business purposes

Create time-sensitive emails
Table of contents
  1. Taking advantage of the right timing
  2. Crafting the urgent email for business purposes
  3. Templates to create urgent emails in a limited time
  4. Wrapping up
Taking advantage of the right timing

Due to the fast-paced nature of business, emails are sometimes the only way to convey the seriousness of a situation. However, urgency needs to be communicated carefully to avoid misunderstandings or turning off the audience. This article dives into the proper etiquette and timing to express urgency via email for business purposes and get a quick turnaround on an important case.

Taking advantage of the right timing

Effective communication relies heavily on timing. Before marking an email as urgent in a business setting, it's important to consider the timing to increase the number of email openings. Sending an urgent email while most employees leave the office is unlikely to have its intended result. Moreover, repeatedly classifying emails as urgent matters may lose their initial punch. Only use urgency when necessary. Otherwise, you can wear people down and make them less receptive.

A careful evaluation of the circumstances is required before marking an email as urgent. Some of the essential questions to think about are:

  1. How does this affect active initiatives like two-day sales or overall corporate goals?
  2. If we don't do anything, what consequences might we face?
  3. Is there a sense of urgency because of impending deadlines or other outside influences?

Crafting the urgent email for business purposes

Clearly and concisely conveying the message's importance without causing anxiety or confusion is necessary while crafting a time-sensitive email.

Subject line

The importance of the subject line in grabbing the reader's attention cannot be overstated. It should be straightforward and not cause undue alarm. Expressing a sense of urgency in your email requires careful word choice. Here are some examples:


Here is a list of words that can strongly indicate the need for swift action: 

  1. Urgent. 
  2. Important. 
  3. Critical. 
  4. Immediate.
  5. Time-sensitive. 
  6. High priority.
  7. Alert.
  8. Attention. 

For example, starting your email with “URGENT:” can immediately communicate the nature of the message.


Along with words, phrases can also convey urgent language. Some examples include:

  1. “Your immediate attention is required.”
  2. “Please treat this as a priority.”
  3. “Time is of the essence.”
  4. “Action needed within 24 hours.”
  5. “This cannot wait.”
  6. “Immediate response requested.”
  7. “Please address at your earliest convenience.”

In addition to using these words and phrases in the body of your email, incorporating them into the subject line is particularly effective. Remember that you shouldn’t overuse these words and phrases to keep people receptive to your emails. 

Here are 15 examples of email subject lines to boost email openings:

  1. “Urgent: Approval needed for project budget today.”
  2. “Immediate attention required: Compliance documents overdue.”
  3. “Time-sensitive: Registration closes tomorrow.”
  4. “Critical: Server downtime — immediate action needed.”
  5. “Alert: Security breach detected. Please respond immediately.”
  6. “Priority request: Input needed for client proposal ASAP.”
  7. “Important: Team meeting rescheduled for today.”
  8. “Action needed: Complete employee survey by the end of the day.”
  9. “High importance: Please review contract amendments.”
  10. “Time-critical: Database maintenance — downtime tonight.”
  11. “Immediate response needed: Interview confirmation for tomorrow.”
  12. “Expedited attention requested: Data submission deadline approaching.”
  13. “Alert: Update passwords due to security threat.”
  14. “Last reminder: Submit expense reports today or forfeit reimbursement.”
  15. “Critical alert: Systems failure — all hands on deck.”

Body of the email

Email communication relies heavily on clear and concise language.

1. Start with a greeting

An upbeat tone can be established immediately, even in urgent communications, by beginning with a pleasant greeting:

  • “Urgent attention required: Dear [Recipient's Name]”;
  • “Time-sensitive matter: Hello [Recipient's Name]”;
  • “Immediate action needed: Hi [Recipient's Name]”;
  • “Important update: Dear [Recipient's Name]”;
  • “Urgent request: Hello [Recipient's Name].”

2. State your intent explicitly

Explain your reason for writing this email right after your greeting. Don't try to hide the situation's urgency — explain it directly.

3. Give details

Include any facts the receiver may need to grasp the seriousness of the situation. You can also add countdown timers to your email to urge your recipients to act ASAP.

Express urgency in emails with countdown timers

(Source: Stripo template)

4. Include a concise call to action

Make it clear what you expect the reader to accomplish. Here are some examples of calls to action for business emails:

  • “Submit the report”;
  • “Review and respond”;
  • “Confirm my availability”;
  • “Complete the security training”;
  • “Take the survey”;
  • “Add this event to the calendar”;
  • “Provide feedback.”

Work on clear calls-to-action

(Source: Stripo template)

5. Show respect

Thank the receiver for their prompt response, and assure them that you're accessible to answer any questions or provide any additional information they may need.

6. Add professional close-up

Closing phrases such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards" will make your emails polite and positive. Adding a professional signature with your name and contact information is also crucial.

Add a professional email signature

(Source: Stripo template)

And don’t neglect the follow-ups — the previous email could be lost, and a reminder would be a good decision.

Benefit from follow-up emails

(Source: Stripo template)

Tips on designing an urgent email for business purposes

Urgent emails require more than just a text. Design elements can also affect how the recipient reacts to the email. Here are some guidelines for designing urgency email visuals that express their importance:

1. Use white space wisely

Avoid overcrowding emails. Cluttered emails are hard to read and may put the receiver off. White space helps recipients focus on urgent content.

2. Highlight key details

Use bold or a different color font to emphasize important information or activities. But when overusing these features, an email appears unprofessional. Use them sparingly to highlight urgency and action.

Highlight key details

(Source: Stripo template)

3. Include headings and bullet points

Use headings and bullet points for multi-part emails. This will make the email scannable and assist the recipient in rapidly understanding the essential points and tasks.

Use headings and bullet points

(Source: Stripo template)

4. Use visuals

Images and icons can convey urgency better than writing. To show urgency, use a red exclamation mark or clock icon. This can help the recipient notice the email and realize it's important.

5. Stay professional

Even though the email is time-sensitive, be professional. Use a regular typeface and avoid shouting with capital letters or emojis of exclamation marks.

6. Add noticeable CTAs

Include a button or link if your email message is action-oriented. Place your CTA button below the email body and make it noticeable so the recipient sees it first.

Add noticeable CTA buttons

(Source: Stripo template)

7. Stick to a mobile-friendly design

Make the email design mobile-friendly since many people check their emails on phones. This involves making text legible, graphics compact, and CTA buttons clickable on smaller screens.

8. Preview and test emails before sending

Finally, preview and send test email to check how your message looks on multiple devices and email clients. This can reveal design flaws you may have missed. You can find the “Preview” and “Test” buttons above your template in the editor.

Preview and test your emails

Templates to create urgent emails in a limited time

The templates below will help you craft your time-sensitive email faster.

Template 1: Urgent project approval 

Subject line: Urgent: Approval needed for project budget today

Dear [Colleague name],

I hope this email finds you well. I apologize for the urgency, but your immediate attention is required concerning the budget for [Project name]. We have encountered some last-minute changes that need your approval to proceed.

Why it is urgent:

The vendor has updated their quote and requires confirmation today to deliver the materials on time. This could significantly impact our timeline and potentially increase costs if not addressed promptly.

Please review the updated budget attached and provide your approval or feedback by [Due date].

Thank you for your swift attention to this matter. I’m available for a call if you need further clarification.

[CTA button]: Review the budget

Best regards,

[Your name]

Template 2: Compliance documents overdue

Subject line: Immediate attention required: Compliance documents overdue

Hello [Colleague name],

I hope you are doing well. I need to inform you that the compliance documents for [Project or task] were due on [Due date] and have not been submitted.

Please submit these documents to avoid fines and jeopardizing our standing with regulatory bodies.

Don’t forget to ensure that the necessary documents are submitted no later than [Due date].

Thank you for your immediate attention to this critical issue.

[CTA button]: Submit the documents

Warm regards,

[Your name]

Template 3: Critical server downtime notification

Subject line: Critical: Server downtime — immediate action needed

Hi team,

We are experiencing an unexpected server downtime during our flash sale campaign, affecting our potential sales.

Why it is urgent:

This downtime impacts our customer services and internal operations, leading to a loss of revenue and productivity.

All technical staff, please immediately join the quick response team in the conference room for a briefing. Non-technical staff, please inform clients that we are working on resolving the issue.

Thank you all for your immediate response.

[CTA button]: Join the conference room


[Your name]

Template 4: Interview confirmation

Subject line: Immediate response needed: Interview confirmation for tomorrow

Dear [Candidate’s name],

I hope you are well. This is a follow-up email to our previous communication. We have scheduled your job interview for tomorrow at [Date and Time].

Confirming your attendance as soon as possible is crucial to make the necessary arrangements and notify the interview panel.

Please reply to this email confirming your availability for the scheduled time, or let us know if you need to reschedule.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Wrapping up

Professional emails must mix clarity, respect, and haste to show urgency. Understanding the context, using potent language, graphically optimizing the email, and following up can create effective and responsive communication channels.

Create time-sensitive emails with Stripo
Was this article helpful?
Tell us your thoughts
Thanks for your feedback!
Stripo editor
Simplify email production process.
Stripo plugin
Integrate Stripo drag-n-drop editor to your web application.
Order a Custom Template
Our team can design and code it for you. Just fill in the brief and we'll get back to you shortly.

Stripo editor

For email marketing teams and solo email creators.

Stripo plugin

For products that could benefit from an integrated white-label email builder.