Struggling to craft a suitable ending to your professional email?
Email is one of the most widely used methods of professional correspondence worldwide. However, writing a truly impactful one can be tricky.
In this article, I’ll talk about how to end a professional email the right way. I’ll cover common sign-offs, what to include in your email closing, and give you five tips on writing a great professional closing.
This article contains:
(Click on a link below to jump to a specific section)
- Why is the closing of a professional email important?
- Four common email sign-offs
- How to end a professional email
- Five tips to perfect your professional email closing
- The perfect email companion for you in 2020
Let’s get started.
Why is the closing of a professional email important?
Naturally, your email closing is the last thing your recipient reads.
But what does this mean for you?
The way you end a professional email can leave a lasting impression on the recipient. It can even determine whether or not they respond. Additionally, it can influence how they respond to your email.
The peak-end rule has a huge role in the way we remember things and make decisions.
This means that what a recipient thinks about your email closing impacts how they remember and feel about your entire email.
Just like your subject line, a sloppy, typo-ridden closing can leave recipients unmotivated to follow through or respond. On the other hand, a well-written, professional closing can leave them with a more positive impression.
So let’s check out some common email closings, and where they work best.
Four common email sign-offs
Most emails end with a variation of one of these four email sign-offs. Here’s a closer look at them:
While some people simply end their email with the word “best,” it can also be written as “best wishes,” “best regards,” etc.
This sign-off is a safe bet for most email communication, especially if it’s the first time you’re writing to someone. It’s neutral and semi-formal, although you do run the risk of coming off as slightly bland.
“Regards” or “best regards” is another common sign-off that you’ll often spot in a business email. Just like “best,” this is a neutral and straightforward sign-off that expresses you as a formal well-wisher.
To avoid sounding bland or cold, you can slightly modify this sign-off with a friendlier tone, such as “warm regards,” “kind regards,” or even “warmest regards.”
However, avoid using a shortened form like “rgds.” Remember, you’re still writing a professional email, not a text message.
Although “sincerely,” “sincerely yours,” or even “yours truly” are common and polite expressions, they’re perceived as stiffly formal, and they are all old-fashioned terms. To many, it might sound like a business letter from the days of typewriters.
If you’re communicating with a regular client, a close friend, or generally anyone you’ve spoken to more than once, it’s best to avoid this sign-off.
4. “Thanks/Thank you”
Thanking someone is one of the best ways to end your email. After all, it’s never a bad idea to express some gratitude!
Receiving gratitude makes your recipient feel valued and appreciated, making them more likely to respond positively. Additionally, by saying “thank you” or “thanks in advance,” you create a subtle expectation for the person to reply or get back to you.
In fact, a 2017 study found “thankful closings” to be the most effective sign-offs for getting a reply!
How to end a professional email in 4 steps
Your email ending can make a huge difference in how your recipient replies — even more than your subject line.
Now that you know why the closing of your email is important, let’s learn how to end a professional email:
1. Ensure that you write a closing
While this goes without saying, make sure you always write a closing to your emails.
There are several reasons for this:
A. It lets your recipient know where the email ends
If your email does not have a clear closing, it can seem like your email message was cut off in between. By adding a closing line and email signature, you let your recipient know that the email has ended.
B. It doesn’t seem like you wrote your email in a rush
Even if you did write your draft in a hurry, a professional email shouldn’t look like it was drafted quickly.
Like your subject line, an appropriate, professional closing stabilizes the structure of your business correspondence.
C. Your recipient won’t be confused about who sent the email
Your email signature should tell the recipient who you are, especially if it’s the first time you’re writing to someone.
If they’re unsure about who sent the email, they don’t have the necessary context to understand your email message, or who should get their reply. It’s like sending a letter with no return address!
D. Your email doesn’t seem unprofessional if it’s forwarded to others
Even if you’re replying in the same email thread, a proper email closing helps you follow basic email etiquette. It ensures that anyone your email is forwarded to knows who you are and that you don’t come across as unprofessional.
2. Personalize your closing
You don’t end an informal email addressed to a close friend the same way you end professional emails, right?
It’s email etiquette 101.
Similarly, for each professional email, you should personalize the closing to suit your recipient and the context of the formal email.
Note that personalization here doesn’t mean what it usually means in an email campaign context — such as adding the recipient’s name to the mail-merge field of an email template.
Here are some things to keep in mind while determining how you should personalize your closing line and sign-off:
A. The message and intent of your professional email
If you’re asking for a favor or sending a cover letter to a hiring manager, it’s a good idea to thank them in your closing to express gratitude. Alternatively, if you’re delivering bad news, you might want to use a more formal tone.
B. Your relationship with the recipient
If you’re communicating with a client, you need to maintain a certain level of formality. In such cases, avoid casual email sign-offs such as “cheers,” “see you soon!” or “later!”
These are more suitable for a personal email.
On the other hand, if you’re emailing a coworker or a close friend, being too formal may come across as cold or standoffish.
C. The tone of previous emails
When you’ve been emailing back and forth with someone for a while, their previous emails can help guide how formal or friendly your closing phrase should be.
Try to match the tone of their replies, or use a warmer closing salutation to build a sense of familiarity.
3. Use a clear call-to-action
A call-to-action lets your recipient know what to do once they’ve read your email.
For example, you may expect a reply from them by a certain time. Alternatively, your formal email could be requesting a client to sign or send you a particular document.
Your call-to-action should make this expectation clear. Instead of using a vague closing remark like “hope to hear from you soon,” try to write exactly what you need from them.
When being direct about your expectations, make sure your tone remains cordial and follows basic email etiquette. This can be done with a closing remark such as, “If you could sign and return the contract by Thursday, that would be greatly appreciated,” or “I’d love to hear from you before the weekend.”
Place this call-to-action right before your sign-off so that the required task remains fresh in your recipient’s mind. This reduces the chances of them forgetting to attend to it!
4. Include your full name and contact information
This is the most important part of your email signature.
Your full name and contact information tell your recipient who you are and how they can get in touch with you. Without this, the rest of your formal email might as well be useless.
Ensure that you add your full name as well as alternative contact details in every email you send — especially the first one in a thread.
Even if you’ve been emailing someone for a while, signing off with your full name maintains a certain level of professionalism. It also helps avoid confusion if they happen to know others with the same first name as you.
Your contact details could include your phone number, job title, alternative email address, and any active social media profiles, such as your LinkedIn ID or Twitter handle.
5 Tips to perfect your professional email closing
Once you have everything essential in place for your professional email closing, here are some general tips to keep in mind while writing formal closings.
1. Maintain a professional tone
While this may seem obvious, a small reminder never hurts!
Ensure that your professional email sounds, well, professional.
This is especially important for your closing — even if you’re going for a friendlier or warmer sign-off, remember to keep it within the limits of professionalism.
It’s never okay to say “xoxo” or “thx” in a professional email. Words like “dear” or “hugs” are best left for an informal letter as well. Emoticons, if used at all, should be sparsely and appropriately placed. In addition to being unprofessional in many cases, research shows that recipients often interpret emoticons as signs of immaturity or insecurity. Thus, they can reduce the authority of your voice in professional communications.
As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t place something in a formal letter to an authority figure, such as a magistrate or university president, leave it out of your professional emails.
2. Consider your relationship with the recipient
Is this your first time communicating with the recipient?
Are they a coworker or a client?
How close are you to the person you’re emailing?
These are all questions you should ask yourself while writing not just your closing remark or email closing, but also the rest of the email.
Like a formal letter, your relationship with the recipient usually determines the tone of your email.
Your email closing, in particular, should reflect this:
- While addressing a coworker, being too formal could be considered cold. Try to stick to an informal (or even casual) email sign-off unless you expect your email to be seen by others.
- While writing to a client, you don’t want your email or business letter to come off as unprofessional or overly-friendly. However, if you’ve been communicating with them for a while, being too formal may bar you from building better relationships.
3. Don’t repeat the same sign-off in every email
It’s easy to settle with a default closing salutation and use it for every email you write.
However, this isn’t a great idea, especially when you’re emailing someone back and forth. Using the same sign-off repeatedly comes across as mechanical and detached.
This is why you should vary your closing salutation across emails, changing it to match the tone of your conversation and the email message.
For example, if you’re asking for a favor, use a quick “thanks.” Or if your recipient is about to take on a particular feat, wish them luck.
4. Test your closings
To perfect your business email, try and find the closing that works best.
What does this mean?
Test different closings across your recipients to see which one gets the most replies or responses!
Not only will this make it easier for you to stop using the same closing by default, but it will also tell you which sign-off or closing line can get the best results from your recipients!
For example, you could start by ending half your emails with your regular sign-off, and the other half with a new sign-off that’s considerably friendlier than your previous one.
Do this with multiple closings, see what works best, and try to figure out why!
Even a single misplaced letter or grammatical error in your professional email can make you look unprofessional.
It tells your recipient that you didn’t take the time to double-check your email before sending it. Or worse, that you didn’t pay attention in school and still aren’t paying attention in your professional role!
That creates an unfavorable impression in their minds — which is not the desired result when you’re reaching out to them.
That’s why it’s better to take five more minutes before sending your important email than noticing a glaring typo in your email five minutes after you’ve hit send.
The perfect email companion for you in 2020
Let’s face it — even when you perfect your email communication or closing phrase, you’ll only enjoy a fractional improvement in your engagement and response rates.
If you truly want to take your email outreach to the next level, you need a powerful email companion like GMass to improve your overall email performance!
GMass is a powerful email outreach platform that’s used by employees from huge companies like Uber, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google. Its mighty outreach capabilities allow you to send massive, personalized email campaigns right from your Gmail inbox.
But GMass isn’t just for large corporates or tech giants!
This easy-to-use tool is great for individuals and groups such as schools, organizations, and even churches to send regular emails to their respective audiences.
GMass helps you:
- Automate personalization for tons of emails.
- Schedule your emails and follow-ups in advance.
- Easily save drafts as an email template for future reuse.
- Add tons of recipients to your email in no time.
- Manage your mass emails right from your Gmail email client inbox.
Getting started with GMass is super easy.
Just install the Chrome extension to try it out yourself!
Here’s a closer look at some GMass features that address all your email needs:
It’s essential to personalize your formal closings and salutations each and every time.
But what if you’re emailing dozens, or even hundreds, of people at once?
You can’t manually personalize each closing phrase, right?
Luckily, GMass helps you automate email personalization. This makes it super easy to tailor your formal closings for each recipient in no time.
You get various personalization settings like:
- Advanced Mail Merge: Add personalized information such as company name and contact info, etc., to your emails via a spreadsheet or contact list.
- Automatic First Name Detection: GMass auto-detects a recipient’s first name from their email address. It can use this to auto-complete custom fields in your email.
- Personalized Attachments: Attach personalized files for each recipient.
- Personalized Blocks of Texts: Personalize entire paragraphs of your draft for each recipient.
- Custom Images and URL Links: Add custom images and URLs for each individual email.
2. Add tons of recipients instantly
Adding multiple recipients for a mass email can be quite time-consuming and error-prone. You could easily add the wrong person, or copy an email address for one person and attach it to someone else, or miss someone completely!
GMass helps you add tons of recipients in no time with two error-free methods:
A. Using the GMass Build Email List feature
GMass’ Build Email List feature helps you automatically identify several email recipients from your Gmail inbox.
You don’t need to search through your address book manually — just enter a search term (e.g., “annual subscription”) and GMass can pull all the relevant contacts from your Gmail inbox where the conversation has included the phrase “annual subscription” — in just seconds!
B. Using Google Contacts
You can select all the contacts you want in Google Contacts, and GMass can automatically add them to your address field.
It’s much more convenient and straightforward than going through your email address lists to identify each recipient manually.
To maximize your chances of getting a reply, you need to send follow-up emails!
However, manually following up on each email will take ages.
GMass can automate your follow-ups in advance. Just set it up once, and you don’t need to worry about it later!
You can also customize almost everything about your follow-up emails, including:
- The trigger for sending the follow-up email.
For example, the follow-up email can be sent every time a recipient replies to your email.
- The time gap between two follow-up emails.
- The actual content in each of your follow-up emails.
- The total number of follow-up emails you send to each recipient.
To increase your chances of getting a reply, send your email when your recipient is most likely to check their inbox.
But how do you make sure of that for each recipient?
GMass helps you schedule your emails in advance so that you don’t need to be online to send each one.
It’s super easy to schedule your emails.
Just write your email and closing, then set the sending time.
GMass will auto-send this email when the time arrives.
And if there’s a change in plans?
You can reschedule any of your emails right from your Gmail Drafts folder.
Now that you know how to write a professional email and a great closing, you can take your business email outreach to new professional heights.
But to make the most of your email outreach, you need an email companion like GMass to accelerate your engagement and reply rates.
You don’t have to take my word for it — you can try it for yourself.
Simply install the GMass Chrome extension to skyrocket your email communications today!
Ajay is the founder of GMass and has been developing email sending software for 20 years.