How many times have you sat staring at your blinking cursor while trying to decide on the best way to sign off an email? So what is a sign off, and what is the best way to use it and when?
Let’s start with the basics: a sign-off is that small text people add right before they finish their letter. These one or two (or more) words define in many ways the relationship between the letter sender and letter recipient.
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“With love” “Best regards” or even “Your obedient servant” are forms of signing off a letter, each express a different feeling from the letter writer his or hers recipient.
Definition of sign off. intransitive verb. 1 : to announce the end of something (such as a message or broadcast) 2 : to approve or acknowledge something by or as if by a signature sign off on a memo.Merriam-Webster dictionary
So how do you sign-off an email?
When your email recipient finishes reading your message they should find two things at the bottom of your email:
- A sign-off, followed by your name
- An email signature (best practice is to choose and customize an email signature template)
Both of these are essential.
But should you go with “sincerely” or “all the best”? Or maybe a cheeky “cheers?” Sometimes figuring out how to end your email can take even longer than writing the message itself.
But that’s OK, because the sign-off is just as important as the content of your email. The way you choose to close your email says a lot about your relationship with your recipient and will influence the way they respond to you. So it’s crucial to get it right.
What sign off should you use?
And now we get to the big question. What is the best way to sign off your emails?
Of 1,000 adults polled, among the most commonly reported sign-offs were “Thanks” (used by 62 percent of respondents, who were allowed to report more than one answer), just a name or initials (46 percent), “Sincerely” (44 percent), “Love” (28 percent), “Regards” (22 percent) and no signature at all (21 percent).
Unfortunately, there really isn’t any one answer.
The way that you choose to end your email may depend on what you’re comfortable with and what your relationship is with the person who you are addressing.
a. The Traditional Sign-offs
- Best – This is recognized at the most commonly used email sign off, and looking through my inbox I have to agree that this probably true. But I also agree with some that say that “best” is a rather benign and flavorless way to end an email. Many people who were once regular “best” users have since switched over to more meaningful sign-off choices.
- All the best – Breezy but not too casual for professional emails, this one is generally a good choice.
- Regards – A slightly warmer sign-off than “best.” It could be a good choice for when sending a quick message to someone or when responding to an email.
- Rgds – I’ve seen this sign-off mentioned by others but I can’t recall ever receiving an email in which it was used. I think I would remember it too, because this unnecessary abbreviation would annoy me.
- Best Regards – This is the sign-off that I use the most frequently in my professional correspondences. It’s slightly formal but also has a friendly feel to it. I think it works well with almost any email.
b. The “warm” sign-offs
- Kind regards/ warm regards – I don’t think I have ever actually used either one of these but they have a feel-good sentiment that I like. When I do receive emails that sign off with one of these messages I can’t help but feel more favorable towards the sender.
- Take Care – This sign-off sounds a bit too much like a warning to me (take care? Do you know something that I don’t) and if used at all, should be reserved for personal emails.
c. The thankful sign-offs
Thanking your email recipient at the end of the message is a common practice which gives the note a friendly tone. Some people say that this sign-off should only be used when you are actually thanking your email recipient for something specific. Others use this sign-off for most of their emails.
- Thank you – According to polls made a majority of people don’t mind receiving a thank you at the end of their emails, and find it a lot less annoying than most of the other sign-off options. I personally do use this sign-off quite often and view the “thank you” as an appreciation to the recipient for taking the time to read through my message.
- Thanks or Thanks! – Similar to the full-out “thank you.” Though be aware that to some people a simple “thanks” may come across as a bit terse. Attaching an exclamation point to the end can make the thank you sound a bit more sincere and enthusiastic.
- Thank you so much – Adds a note of sincerity to your thank you.
- Many thanks – Another warmer alternative to a simple thank you.
d. The emotional sign-offs
- Sincerely – If you’re wondering when to use “sincerely” in an email the answer is: very rarely. While this used to be a common way to close a handwritten note, today it would be considered a little too formal for most email exchanges. You’ll probably come across a few situations in which “sincerely” is appropriate, such as when emailing a cover letter or when sending a formal letter to a superior or government official.
- Love – Used only for close friends and family members. The love sign-off is not relevant when sending a corporative or business emails.
- Cheers – I like the cheerful vibe of this sign-off though I personally don’t think I could pull it off. If this is something you’d say in real life then you can probably get away with it in your emails as well. Otherwise, it may come across as pretentious if you’re not British or Australian.
- Respectfully/ Respectfully yours/ Very respectfully – These are too formal for most email communications. “Respectfully” and “very respectfully” or (V/R) are used in the military and they also may be appropriate for emailing government officials and clergy. This could also be a good sign-off for an email to someone that you deeply admire and respect.
- Xx – I have never received a professional email with this sign-off and I would probably be taken aback if I did. But according to Will Schwalbe, author of, “SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better,” it’s become acceptable to use this sign-off in casual business correspondences
- Xoxo – Save this one for emailing good friends, or your mother.
- Yours / Yours truly – A formal sign-off that was more commonly used for written letters, back in the day.
c. The Unique Email Sign-offs
There are also fun ways to end an email, ones that make your recipient smile. Though before using it consider if it’s appropriate for the context and recipient.
Sometimes a unique sign-off can help make your email memorable. Just make sure it’s not a sign-off that’s too obscure or just really annoying.
Here are a few out-of-the-box sign-offs:
- High five from down low
- Sent from a prehistoric stone tablet
- Now go do that voodoo that you do so well!
- Stay gold
- Stay awsome
- Make it a great day!
Other good options for closing an email
Instead of using a one-word sign-off, you can wrap up your emails with a messages that conveys your interest in helping your recipient or which encourages some kind of action.
- Looking forward to hearing from you – According to this article from Business Insider, ending your email in this way can be presumptuous if you’re asking someone for a favor, but it’s fine if you’re doing something for someone else.
- Let me know what you think – A gentle way to encourage your recipient to offer their feedback on something.
- Thanks so much for all of your help – This is a bit more detailed and sincere than a simple thank you.
- Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with – This message is appropriate for a customer support email.
- I hope this helps – A feel-good way to end an email in which you had offered helpful information or advice.
- Keep up the great work – This is a nice way to sign off on an email to an employee or someone that has done a service for you,
Business Email Sign-Offs Best Practices
How to end a business email, with examples
Throughout the week you’ll send out many different types of emails and it might be tempting to save time by ending each email in the same way.
Don’t. That would be a mistake.
For each email that you send you have to take into consideration who you are emailing and what your message is, and then use an appropriate sign-off.
Writing “later ‘gator” in an email to your boss probably wouldn’t leave a great impression, and using “sincerely” in a message to your coworker would look really strange.
Here are some common examples of business emails, and the most appropriate sign-offs for each one:
How to sign off an email to someone you don’t know well?
When emailing someone that you don’t know very well take into consideration the content of the email and the identity of your recipient when picking which sign-off to use.
In general, you’re best off going with a friendly but slightly formal sign-off like “best regards” or “all the best.”
If you expect to see or meet the recipient in the near future then you can end the email with “I Iook forward to speaking with you” or I look forward to meeting you.”
How to sign-off a cover letter?
A cover letter is one of the few instances in which using the sign-off “sincerely” is appropriate since the email is a formal one.
You can also end your email with “I look forward to hearing from you,” which will make you sound confident and serves as a gentle prod to your recipient to respond to your message.
Another good option is “thank you for your time” which shows appreciation towards the hiring manager and will leave a positive impression.
How to sign off an email to a colleague?
Emails to colleagues are usually more casual than other work correspondences and the sign-off that you use will depend on how close you are to your recipient.
In general, any of the below sign-offs would work:
- Take care
- Talk to you later
If your colleague has helped you out with something, or you are requesting their help, you can end the email with a “thank you” or “thanks so much for your help.”
You might not even need to include a sign-off if it’s someone that you are close with and whom you email regularly throughout the day. Such emails are more like quick text messages, which don’t require any sign-off.
Though in some work environments it may be common for colleagues to use more intimate sign-offs, such as “XOXO” or “warm regards,”.
How to sign off an email to your boss?
The sign-off that you use in an email to your boss will depend on the kind of relationship that you have with him or her.
If you have a casual relationship, as is often the case for anyone working at a small company or startup, then a casual sign-off would be suitable.
- Thanks so much!
If you work at a company where your relationship with your boss is more distant and formal then a formal sign-off would be appropriate.
- Thank you
- Best regards
- Best wishes
How to sign off an email to a client?
The sign-off that you use with clients will depend on your industry, the content of your message and your relationship with your client.
How to sign off an email to a new client?
When emailing a new client who you are just getting to know it’s a good idea to keep the tone of the email slightly formal and to use a sign-off such as “best regards,” “kind regards,” or “all the best.”. Some times a promising sign off such as “Looking forward working with you!” can do the job and start the relationship in a good tone.
How to sign off a customer support email?
When you write an email that provides a solution to a problem that your customer has encountered with your product or service, you can sign off using one of these options:
- Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
- Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
- Let me know if that helps.
- I hope this helped!
- Let me know if the problem persists.
How to sign off an email to a prospective customer?
When sending an email to a prospective customer you want to make sure that your sign-off leaves your recipient with a positive feeling about you and your business.
Here are some suitable options:
- Please let me know if you have any (other) questions that I can answer for you.
- Let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with.
- Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions/concerns.
- Thank you for your interest in doing business with us.
If you prefer to stick with a traditional sign-off then any of these would be a good choice:
- Best regards
- Kind regards
- All the best
- Thank you
Closing with an Email signature
While your sign-off provides the final farewell to your recipient and the signal that your message has ended, your email signature lets them know how they can get in contact with you.
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In some cases your recipient might even scan your signature first in order to see who you are and what professional details they may glean about you. So it’s important to have that information easily available to them.
Here is the basic information that your email signature should include:
- First and last name
- Company name
Most people also like to include contact details and links to other places online where they can be found, that information can help you drive traffic to your marketing channels and increase sales. Here are some additional information that you may want to include in your signature:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Mailing address
- Social media profiles links
Tips for getting the most out of your email signature
- Automate your email signature using a tool like WiseStamp so that once you set up your signature it will automatically be added to all of your emails. This will be a lot easier than copying and pasting your signature every time.
- Add a profile picture to your signature to help make you more memorable.
- Include a call-to-action in your signature to turn your emails into powerful marketing tools.
These can be in the form of banners, YouTube videos or even just a link inviting you email recipients to visit a landing page or participate in an upcoming event.
- Don’t make your signature too long or busy because it might distract your recipients from the main content of the email.
B. Say good bye with style
Your sign-off signals to your email recipient that your email has come to an end, and this is your parting message. Ending an email without a sign-off is like walking away from someone at the end of a conversation without saying goodbye. It doesn’t leave a good impression.
Your email signature allows your recipient to quickly identify you, before even reading the email, and to easily find the various ways that they can get in contact with you.
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So, how are you going to sign off your next email?