By Paola Pascual on Jan 17, 2022 12:42:49 PM
You've written a perfectly clear email, you've used different useful phrases to organize your text, and you've applied all the other tips included in this guide. Now, it's time for the closure. Your sign-off may not include relevant information related to the topic, but it can truly help you build relationships with your recepient and get more replies.
Choosing the perfect sign-off for your email will depend on who you are emailing and in what context. In this post, you will have a breakdown of the most common email sign-offs and some helpful tips that will help you choose the right one for every moment.
Importance of email sign-offs
Your email closing is far from a trivial thing. A Boomerang study analyzing closings in over 350,000 email threads, found that certain email closings deliver higher response rates. It turns out, "emails that closed with a variation of thank you got significantly more responses than emails ending with other popular closings."
Unwritten rules for signing off on emails
Your email sign-off is something relatively personal. Much like with clothing, we all have our own style, and that is totally OK. However, there are some unwritten rules that will help you look more professional in most business contexts.
- Do include your job title and contact information, but keep it short.
- If you are adding a corporate logo, make it as small as possible.
- Don't include quotes.
- You don't need to add your picture but, if you are sending a sales email, it may help you become more 'human'.
- Do include a sign-off to signal the end of your email.
Choosing the right email sign-off
If you are in a rush, here's a short list with the safest, most common professional sign-offs:
- Best regards,
- Warm regards,
- Best wishes,
- Many thanks,
- Thank you!
- Thank you in advance,
- Respectfully, [very formal]
- Cheers, [very informal –more common in the UK and Australia]
Let's have a look at the different email sign-offs and when you should use each.
1. Best, – Short way to close your emails in a cheerful way. It might be one of the most common sign-offs between colleagues. All the best is another safe, friendly option that I personally use a lot.
2. Regards, – Quite a neutral option to close your emails. It's brief and simple. It doesn't add any excitement or warmth, but it works in professional emails.
3. Best regards, – It is a friendly, yet more formal version, than the simple 'Best'. You can use it in most business emails.
4. Warm regards, – This is a great sign-off to send professional thank-you emails. You can also use it for personal emails to people you don't know very well.
5. Best wishes, – Standard sign-off for your work emails. It combines friendliness with professionalism, so it is a safe bet for most emails.
6. Have a great day, / Have a nice day, – They sound friendly and human while staying professional. These are some of the most common sign-offs we use at Talaera.
7. Thanks in advance, – Apart from expressing gratitude, this sign-off sets an expectation. It indicates that you expect them to do what you asked them to. Some studies argue that emails with this sign-off have the highest response rate, but if you are the manager, it may come across as too demanding.
8. Thanks! Thank you! Thank you so much! – Although these all sound similar, they don't always come across exactly the same. There are cultural differences that influence how we perceive these sign-offs, and they can all be fine in different contexts. However, "Thanks!" may rub people the wrong way. If "Thanks" comes from your manager, it may seem more like a stern order than a genuine expression of gratitude. "Thank you!" on the other hand, usually sounds softer and less grating. "Thank you so much!" and "Thanks so much!" are perfect if the other person has put time and effort into helping you. They are, of all three, the most genuine-sounding options.
9. Take care, – It somehow implies that there are potential dangers out there that your recipient should watch out for. It can work for personal emails or if you are messaging someone you don't often talk to.
10. Cheers, – You may see this sign-off in Australia and in the UK. There, they sound friendly and are common in business. However, outside of those countries, Cheers sounds very informal. We often recommend only using it if your recipient starts using it first.
11. Sincerely, / Respectfully, – Save these sign-offs for very formal emails, such as a cover letter. Avoid them for more casual business emails unless you'd like to sound impersonal and pompous.
12. Yours Truly, / Sincerely Yours, – Feel free to unlearn these sign-offs if you learned them at school. You may still see them in some formal cultures, but they are not common at all in most business contexts these days.
13. Rgds, / Thx, – Do not use these sign-offs for professional emails. Although you will see them in some cultures where being concise is a priority (for example, Israel), they are not really professional abbreviations. You will come across as much more professional if you opt for the full version.
14. Your initial – This sign-off can be fine if you are emailing someone with whom you correspond frequently and you know them well.
15. Lots of love, / Hugs, / XOXO – Only use these sign-offs in personal emails. Even if they may be acceptable in some cultures, it is safest to not use them in professional contexts.
Did we miss any? Tell us in the comments.
Keep Improving Your Business Emails
Continue improving your communication skills for professional situations - get in touch with Talaera. If you wish to take your professional English communication skills to the next level, here are some valuable resources.
- Free webinars - monthly live sessions with one of our communication experts
- Free communication guides - keep developing your skills with our free ebooks on business English communication
- 'Stay safe' - How to Send Actually Genuine Emails During the Pandemic
- 8 Great Idioms To Enhance Your Professional Emails
- 5 Easy Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills - Start With Your Business Emails
- How To Write Clear Emails With These 4 Practical Concise Writing Tips
- 100 Business Abbreviations That Will Make You Look Like An Expert
- 12 Relatable Tweets That Sum Up How We Feel About Professional Emails
- The Anatomy of Excellent Business Storytelling
- 32 Important Best Practices To Streamline Your Slack Communication
- 150+ Useful Email Phrases That Will Make Your Life Easier
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[Article originally posted in December 2018 and updated in January 2022]