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Business Email Sign-Off: Choosing the Right One

We recently published an extensive article on how to professionally end an email. Here, we are going to take another look at the topic, concentrating on the sign-off specifically. 

You’ve crafted your email to be clear and well-constructed. You’ve edited it carefully. The body of the email may be absolutely perfect, yet you are not out of the woods just yet. It can all go downhill if you are use the wrong sign-off. It’s just a short phrase, or perhaps a single word, followed by a signature, and yet choosing just the right tone for your business email sign-off requires quite a bit of finesse. Whenever you find yourself struggling to find that perfect sign-off, consider the context. Something that might work with a close colleague or a friend will not necessarily resonate in professional correspondence. Here is a list of a few common email settings and dependable sign-offs that work best for each.  

Nine Business Email Sign-Offs That Never Fail

Formal Business Setting

1. Regards

It may be a bit conventional and even dull, yet it works in a professional email precisely for this reason. There is nothing daring or remarkable about it. 

2. Sincerely

The word conveys the proper tone for formal correspondence but can be a bit too formal for a casual business email among colleagues.

3. Best wishes

This amicable sign-off is a good combination of formality and warmth and is usually a safe bet. It does have a bit of a Hallmark vibe, so use it only when its in step with the general tone of your email 

Email Sign-Off for Amicable Business

4. Cheers

Recently, a study by the email app Boomerang ranked cheers as the sign-off that is most likely to receive a reply. If your email is conversational and friendly, it will work quite well.  

5. Best

Best is a short and lighthearted way to express best wishes used by a large majority of people. In some ways Best is the Regards of slightly less formal emails. Its certainly a safe bet, however, it isn’t the most dynamic or attention-getting way to close an email. 

6. As ever (as always)

A less-seen, yet effective way of sign-off with people you have built working relationship with through ongoing work. It assures the recepient that all is well between the two of you. 

Gratitude and Requests

7. Thanks in advance

This sign-off will give you the highest chance of getting a reply, according to a Boomerang study. Perhaps because it shows gratitude but also sets an expactation. You’re telling the person that you are already grateful for something you know they will do. The downside is at may read as a bit too demanding at times, so use with caution.

8. Thanks

Tried-and-true, its a solid choice. But much like with the previous entry, there is a bit of expectancy here. What it really implies is that you expect them to do whatever it is you are asking for. 

9. I (greatly) appreciate your [help, input, feedback, etc.]

Much like a sincere compliment, there is never a wrong time to show appreciattion to someone who has done something to help you. Use greatly if you mean it. 

Nine Email Sign-offs to Avoid in Business

1. Love

Needless to say, don’t sign to a mass email to your entire department with love. Leave this one for family members, close friends, etc. Obviously, same goes for hugs, XOXO or kisses.  

2. Thx or Rgrds

Do you really not have time for a vowel or two? Use the whole word.

3. Take care

Umm. Should the recipient be worried? It may sound perfectly fine and pleasant, but on further examination, it has a somewhat of a sinister undertone. Are you warning the recepient of potential dangers?   

4. Looking forward to hearing from you

Kind of like with thank you in advance, this is somewhat passive-aggressive. Essentially, you might as well have said “You’d better get back to me”

5. Yours truly

Unless upon writing this you put down the quill, blow out the candle and stare longingly out the window thinking of your beloved… its best avoided. Do you really belong to the recipient? No.

6. Respectfully or Respectfully yours

This email sign-off is just too formal. Unless you are writing your senator or the President, its not a good choice. In fact, respectfully yours is the most common sign-off for addressing govenrment officials, according a Business Insider. 

7. Nothing

As the email chain progresses, you can drop the signature and sign-off as messages get more frequent (and often shorter). However, not signing an initial email, or perhaps only using your automatic, formal signature can come off as a bit impersonal.  

8. Name or Initial

Again, this may work on an email chain as the conversation progresses, but even then feels a bit cold, especially when you are contacting the recipient for the first time. 

9. Have a blessed day

Unless you are writing a friend about your church’s bake-off this weekend, its best to leave religion out of professional emails. 

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By Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday holds degrees in English education and creative writing. As an educator, Michael specializes in corporate training having worked with IBM, Philip Morris International, and the Danone food company in Paris. He is a published author and is deeply passionate about the written word.

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