Business Tip: Email Salutations

Mar 7, 2013

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Scott Christofferson

It Says So Much About You

It may seem like a simple greeting or sign off but email salutations tell a lot about a person and their business. Especially since digital communication is often the first communication, they should not be taken lightly or ignored. Think about your day – how many emails have you sent already? Probably several, which is why it’s crucial to practice appropriate etiquette at all times especially in marketing.

So what would I recommend for your salutation . . let’s take a look:


A Couple of Thoughts

Salutations

In haste to get something done, don’t forget the greeting in your email—otherwise, you might come off as rude and no one wants that. If you wouldn’t normally say, “Hey there” to your boss or client, don’t do it in your email. I personally prefer a simple “Hi, Heather,” or a traditional “Dear Alex.”

If you’re going for a more professional approach to a group, “Good morning,” or “Greetings” will help you find the balance between too formal and too informal.

I don’t think there’s a need to add a greeting every time if you’re in an email conversation, but you’ll want to judge this case by case. If you’re negotiating and trying to reach an agreement, a more professional greeting, or a “thank you for your response” might be the right approach for each exchange.

Keep culture norms in mind too. For example, if you work for a highly professional organization, your emails will likely reflect a higher degree of formality than with your other clients or partners.

Goodbye

Many people have an automated signoff as part of their email to save time. I understand the thought behind this, but since every email message is unique you may want to be careful—have you ever received a negative email with “Best wishes” embedded in the signature? It seems a little backwards to me.

As a general rule, I like to go with some safe like “Thanks” or “Sincerely.” “Cheers” is trendy and you may have other phrases you use naturally – use those. Another note: avoid signatures that are too whimsical, like, “After all is said and done, more is said than done” or “It’s been swell, but the swelling’s gone down.” (Yes, I’ve actually seen these and it didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth.)

What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite email sign-off?

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