I once received an email from a colleague that was signed “Love, Greg xxx.”
Luckily, I knew Greg well, and we were able to laugh about his mistake.
While this is a more extreme example, if you’ve never put much thought into how to end an email, you’re not alone. Some people avoid the situation altogether by adding an automatic closing to their email signature.
This approach will save you time, but it won’t deliver the best results, as research shows that certain email closings deliver higher response rates.
Email is a key communication channel with partners, customers, investors, and employees, but everyone is overwhelmed by the volume they receive, trying to reach the elusive “inbox zero.”
That’s why you need to optimize every aspect of your email — including the closing — to get the response you want.
At a glance: How to properly end your emails
- Tailor your closing to your target audience.
- Consider the goal of your email before writing the ending.
- If in doubt, make sure to thank your recipient for their time, help, feedback, etc.
- Use email marketing software to automate the process, as such programs can save time and reduce the risk of error.
What to consider before selecting an email sign-off
It can be difficult to find the appropriate ending because it’s highly subjective, and the right wording can vary depending on the culture, context, generation, type of company, and the person’s mood on the day.
For example, I find “sincerely” to be too formal and old fashioned for a business email unless I’m receiving communication from my bank or the government.
Grammarly.com recommends “as ever,” which sounds odd to me, while they recommend avoiding “look forward to hearing from you,” which is one of the sign-offs I use more regularly.
And don’t get me started on someone I don’t know ending with “fond regards.” If we’ve never met, you can’t regard me fondly.
Despite this ambiguity, there are factors you can keep in mind to help guide you toward the right email sign-off.
1. Your target audience
If we’ve met several times, and you are still closing your emails with “yours truly” or “respectfully,” it can seem impersonal.
On the other hand, emailing a business contact, your business' email list, or potential customers for the first time and signing off with “Thx” does not give the right impression, either.
In some industries, you can get away with being more informal, but if you are cold emailing someone, it’s always best to be cautious with your closing as not to offend anyone.
Tailor the tone and wording according to the situation, and when in doubt, it’s better to be too formal than too informal.
2. Your goal
The ending to your email will depend on what you want to achieve with the message. Is it for informational purposes only, or do you want the person to take an action or get in touch with you?
You might need to include a CTA with next steps depending on the type of email you’re sending, such as:
- Schedule a meeting
- Find out more
- Download this e-book
- Visit our blog
3. What success looks like
Your business is unique, so what works for someone else might not work for you. That’s why the more data you have on the performance of your own emails, the better you can make them. This allows you to test how you start an email, end it, and the success of the body copy as well.
Try different closings to the same kind of emails, and track how well they each perform and which one gives you the best results, whether those results are the number of:
- Meetings scheduled
- Clicks on links
- Times content is downloaded
4. Whether this is a new email or a response
Even when you’re following up on a previous email, you still need to consider the sign-off. Yes, even if you’re using a mobile device.
Don’t make your customers or partners feel like you haven’t taken the time to consider a proper response by adding the infamous “written on an iPhone so excuse the typos.”
You should always proofread your emails — get a second pair of eyes if necessary — to make sure there are no glaring typos. Otherwise, you look like you’re in too much of a rush to care.
Ways to end your perfectly-crafted email
Using the right words in the right situation can make a real difference. Not all sign-offs will be appropriate for the different types of contacts you have or emails you send.
Here are the best email sign-offs tailored to the target audience and situation.
Email sign-off for professional contacts
It’s best to stick with tried-and-true letter closings when you are corresponding with professional contacts to avoid offense or confusion.
Here are some examples of more formal email closings:
- Kind regards
- Best regards
- Best wishes
- All the best
Email sign-off for semi-formal business contacts
When you already know the person, the closing becomes less important than the opening and the contents of the email, as they are less likely to pay as much attention to it.
That said, it’s still important to be friendly and approachable, as you can see from the examples below.
- Thank you
- Many thanks
- I look forward to hearing from you
- Thanks in advance
In this case, you can also forget about the closing, and just add your name or initials.
Email sign-off for potential clients
If you’re emailing potential clients, then you need to put much more thought into your closing, as every word matters, and your recipients might only skim the email.
While you should tailor your closing to the purpose of the email, here are some general examples that could help you win over potential clients:
- Looking forward to your reply
- Get in touch if you need any more information
- Let me know how we can help
- Schedule an appointment in my diary if this sounds of interest
- Look forward to connecting soon
Tips for sending an email that wins you a response
While the wording of your email closing is key, there are other factors you need to consider if you want to increase the chance of getting a response.
1. Personalization delivers results
No matter what ending you decide to use, there should always be some element of personalization to the email depending on the level of relationship you have with the recipient and the purpose of the email.
2. Don't overlook thanking people for their time
While it’s important to keep any email you send short and sweet (unless it’s to your mom), you can add more than one closing.
And thanking someone — whether it’s for their time, their help, their consideration, or their feedback — will always go a long way.
Research shows that emails that closed with a variation of “thank you” got significantly more responses than emails ending with other popular closings.
3. Use email marketing software
Rather than having to worry about getting it right every time, you can create templates using email marketing software for each use case. Some of our favorites include Aweber, Mailchimp, and SendPulse.
As the information such as email opening and closing will already be pre-populated (along with the design and layout), you only need to focus on making the content of the email as interesting and relevant as you can to improve the likelihood of achieving the goal of your email. These templates allow you to send personal emails and make newsletters with ease.
Take the time to get it right
It’s important to remember that while we do live in the era of more informal business communication, with chat tools like Slack making their way into even the most corporate of environments, you still need to design, format, and structure your email properly.
This includes a proper address and email opening, short paragraphs, concise information, no spelling or grammar mistakes, and a closing that is appropriate to the situation.
Don’t let your perfectly crafted email fall flat by quickly dashing off a “thanks” or a “best regards.”
Take the time to think about what you can say — and how you can say it — that will improve the likelihood of getting a favorable response.
The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends HubSpot, Slack Technologies, and Twilio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.