Can you remember the last email that you sent, both formal and addressed to a friend? What did you write at the very end of it, following the message itself? Did you have a signature? Or did you just put a standard closing, such as “Best regards”? Or did you include no sign-off whatsoever?
Many end an email with “Best” or “Regards,” or similar sign-offs. How good are they in terms of email etiquette? In which cases should you thank a person and when it’s proper to say “Lots of love”? And when do you need to include a full signature? In this article, we’ll look at some sign-off words and phrases that are an absolute no-go for business emails. You will also see some great examples of how to end your emails.
An email sign-off, an email closing, or a sign-off message, is what comes at the end of your email after the body text. Usually, it consists of a closing phrase and your name following it. In business correspondence, a sign-off also includes a full email signature.
Why you need an email sign-off in the first place?
You need to use your sign-offs strategically. Before sending an email, think what its purpose is and design your closing accordingly.
First of all, let’s see how you shouldn’t end your messages.
Here is a list of sign-off phrases and practices that you should avoid.
You might have seen somewhere that you can end your message with a quote. Don’t do this. Quotes, inspirational or not, might confuse the recipient. They might misunderstand your initial intention, which could lead to miscommunication. Alternatively, your collocutor might just disagree with the quote altogether.
Don’t write too much at the end of your email. A one-phrase closing will suffice. If you are using a business email signature, don’t make it more than five lines big. Why should it take more time reading your closing than a person spent reading the email itself?
It’s also bad if you don’t include any sign-off at all. You should at least put your name at the end preceded by a standard closing phrase. In business emails, it’s essential that you have a professional signature, so that the recipient can easily access your contact or business details.
The only time when the closing is not necessary is when there is a conversation chain. It can be enough to use your signature just once.
You’d better avoid this Apple-specific sign-off unless you want your message to be “By the way, I have an iPhone. I still have trouble getting used to its keyboard, therefore the typos.” There are also creative versions of this sign-off, which can do in informal messages. Still, the sent-from-my-iPhone jokes get old quickly and are rarely fun to read more than once.
Don’t use such abbreviations at the end of your emails either. First of all, it shouldn’t be so much trouble for you to write the full words. Secondly, not all of your recipients can understand those.
Although it seems like a perfectly normal informal sign-off, some people are suspicious of it. For some, it might sound as if you were warning them of something bad to happen. Wishing them simply a good day instead would be a far better message.
Although this closing is considered as a classic, it appears as too formal and outdated. For some, it might even feel threatening, as if you were saying “You’d better write me soon, or else…”
This kind of closings just sounds fake. You can still use them with your beloved one during the honeymoon phase, but only if it doesn’t feel awkward to both of you.
This sign-off is considered appropriate solely in correspondence with government officials. You should avoid it unless you are writing an email to the President.
Because of its religious tint, this closing is better to be avoided. Therefore, it is entirely inappropriate in business messages.
If you ever consider putting a smiley face or any other emoji at the end of your email, you should think twice. What message do you want to communicate to the other person this way? Will they understand it the right way? It would fit only in a friendly email that ends with a joke.
There are dozens of ways to sign off an email. Before choosing one, you should always think whether it is appropriate in this particular case and whether your recipient understands it the same way as you. If you are not sure, then go with one of the universal closings outlined in the following paragraphs.
A study by Boomerang listed email sign-offs with the greatest response rates (over 50%). Here are the eight of them:
Let us look at email sign-off best practices closer. They will be a bit different in business emails as compared to informal, or friendly, emails.
First of all, it is advisable that you use a proper signature when you sign off a business email. A business signature should consist of the following:
Optional are also: your photo (a headshot), links to the relevant social profiles, additional information, such as links, promotional or marketing banners, etc.
As for the closings, you can pick one of these before your name:
When writing a message to a friend, using full email signatures is not necessary. You can just go with a closing line and your name at the end. Here are some of the good friendly sign-offs:
To sum it all up, let us say that you should always sign your email off with a proper closing. While in business emails you normally need a full-fledged business signature with your organization’s name, logo, and contact details, you are more flexible with informal emails.
And remember the things you should avoid in your email closings: