Guide on Perfecting the Art of Email Greetings With Examples

Guide on Perfecting the Art of Email Greetings With Examples
19 April, 2024 • ... • 70 views
Gayane Sargsyan
by Gayane Sargsyan

In a world where digital rapport is as real as a handshake, it is critical to start and finish your emails appropriately. Crafting the perfect email greeting can set the tone for your entire message, showcasing authority or warmth, humor or seriousness.

It’s surprising how such a small part of your email can make a big difference in how the message is received. Whether you’re a beginner marketer, a professional navigating the corporate world, or an internet user reaching out to the community, this guide will help you perfect that all-important opening line.

Why it’s important to use appropriate email greetings

Your email opening is your virtual first introduction, like a smile and a handshake in offline communication. Just as in-person greetings vary in formality and cultural appropriateness, so must email salutations. 

Here are two examples of different email starters. One is formal while the other email opening isn’t. 

A formal email greeting — Dear Gayane Sargsyan
A very formal greeting and start of email
An informal email greeting — Hello there with a waving hand emoji
An informal greeting goes well with the creative start of the message

A thought-through greeting highlights your email’s professionalism and makes your message more relatable and inviting. Understanding the nuances of different email greetings is crucial to being smart and effective in your email communication.

How to choose an appropriate email greeting

Selecting the right greeting is not just about personal preference but also about understanding the context and tone of your email. Consider the following factors when selecting your email salutation.

Who you are emailing

A greeting to your boss should vary greatly from one to a work bestie. Similarly, addressing email to a client you regularly correspond with requires a different tact compared to one intended for first-time contact.

Choose a tone of voice — a formal or an informal one and the tone of the rest of the email. For instance, you can start an email to a friend with a casual “Hey!”, meanwhile when writing to a colleague a more suitable pick would be “Good afternoon”.

Include the recipient’s name whenever you can

Include the recipient’s name in the greeting to make the email more personal. Those are typically better received than emails with general openings.

Regardless of who you’re emailing, there are some basic email greetings etiquette rules, such as spelling the recipient’s name correctly and capitalizing it. 

An email with a misspelled name written in lowercase
It’s “Gayane”, not “gayana” 🙄

Where you are at in the conversation

A cold email to a potential client will likely start with a more formal greeting than a follow-up email in an ongoing conversation. The status of your relationships with the recipients should always be a key factor in the type of greeting you choose.

To understand better the nuances of online communication, read our guide on email etiquette.

Other factors

Is this email part of a thread? Are there any cultural nuances you should consider? Adapting your greeting to fit these factors will help your email come across as intentional and considerate rather than generic.

Best universal greetings for emails of any type

When crafting email greetings suitable for any occasion, certain universal phrases can set the right tone regardless of the context. These greetings transcend specific situations, making them reliable choices for any type of email exchange. However, there are some nuances you should consider.

Hi [Name]

A simple “Hi” followed by the recipient’s name is a versatile and friendly introduction. It’s appropriate for both formal and informal settings, making it a safe go-to for most emails. Remember, when using a name, ensure it’s correctly spelled — this email mistake can quickly undercut your rapport.

Hello [Name]

More formal than “Hi”, “Hello” is one of the most versatile email salutations. It’s friendly but not as casual as “Hi” making it a good balance for professional correspondence.

An email starting with “Hello”
“Hello” is a versatile greeting that works well in marketing communication as well

Dear [Name]

Of all the greetings, “Dear” remains a classic choice for formal emails and initial contacts. This email opener conveys a sense of respect and formality and is best suited for situations that require a traditional approach. For instance, this would be appropriate in a conversation with lawyers or bank authorities. 

Good morning / afternoon / evening

Framing your email in the context of the day sets a tone of timeliness. This greeting is suitable when you have a clear understanding of the recipient’s time zone and habits, as it can be off-putting if your timing is inaccurate. 

However, when used correctly, these greetings can help you establish a connection with the recipient because that small detail will show your personalized approach to the conversation.

Greetings

Simple and non-specific yet not casual, a general “Greetings” can be used when you want to keep your greeting professional but don’t have a personal relationship or are emailing a group of people. It is also an appropriate choice when you don’t know the recipient’s name. 

Hi there

A casual and warm greeting, “Hi there” can be effective when writing a more relaxed email, such as a follow-up or when you’re already acquainted with the recipient.

To [Name]

While not a conventional greeting, “To [Name]” can be a clever way to start an email that is personalized or directive. It subtly suggests that the email was crafted with the recipient in mind  and that the matter is particularly important.

Email greetings examples for your next email

If you’re not quite sure how to kick off an email, here are some specific examples of email greetings for different situations. 

Cold email greetings

When reaching out to someone for the first time, opt for a polite and formal salutation, for example, these greetings might help you start the conversation with respect and courtesy:

  • Hello [Name]
  • Dear [Name]

If you don’t know the recipient’s name or when you’re aiming for a more informal tone, you can use these salutations: 

  • Greetings!
  • Hi there!  

Note that when cold emailing, there is a chance that your email will end up in the recipient’s spam folder. To make sure that your message goes where it’s intended to, read our guide on how to stop emails from going to spam.

A cold email starting with “Hi [Name]”]
When cold emailing, remember that the best approach is to cut to the chase without redundant creativity, which in most cases only bores the recipient. Source: Good Sales Emails

Openings in emails to multiple people

Emails addressed to a group require a different approach. Begin your business emails with “Greetings” to keep it professional while avoiding the pitfalls of inadvertently singling out a recipient who might not appreciate the attention.

If it’s a professional email to colleagues, most of which you already know, it is appropriate to use “Hello everyone”.

If you’re writing a marketing email, make sure to read our guide to email marketing for beginners to craft the perfect greeting and body for your emails. 

A formal greeting in an email addressed to multiple people — “Dear students”
Formal greetings like this one are appropriate in communication at work or university.

Formal email greetings

If you want to start an email professionally, stick to a polite ”Good [time of day]” followed by the recipient’s title and last name, such as “Good morning Dr. Smith”. A slightly more formal greeting is “Dear [Name]”.

Informal email greetings

If you’re in a familiar context, options like ”Hi”, “Hello”, or “Hey” followed by the recipients’ first names are suitable. These greetings signal a more relaxed style of conversation.

An email with a greeting “Hey Gayane”
Informal greetings are also a good way to communicate with clients if that suits your general tone of voice

Follow-up email greetings

When following up on a prior conversation, maintain the same level of formality you’ve established. For instance, “Hi [Name]” followed by a brief reference to the previous exchange.

In follow-ups, it is appropriate to add an email opening, such as “Hope this email finds you well” or, better, replace it with some personal note, such as “I know you’re swamped, so I’ll be brief”.

Greetings for email replies

In response to an email, you should mirror the formality of the original greeting. Here’s how you start an email response: if the sender uses “Hi” it’s safe to respond with a similar greeting. If it was more formal, be sure to follow suit.

Funny email greetings

Every now and then, a witty or humorous greeting can be a breath of fresh air. While this type of greeting should be used sparingly and with caution, it can show personality and build rapport if done well and in appropriate situations.

Here are a couple of more extravagant and funny greetings: 

  • Hey-o!
  • Howdy-doo!
  • Well, howdy there, partner!
  • What’s crack-a-lackin’?
  • Rise and shine, oh glorious coworker!
An email starting with “Hi Gaya! I hope this email doesn’t find you”
Sometimes, speaking from your heart can help you create a fun bittersweet email opening.

Final thoughts

The way you start your emails mirrors your professionalism, builds rapport with humor, or sets a friendly, inviting tone. In a world where screen-to-screen communication is the norm, understanding and applying the right email greetings can make the difference between a message that stands out positively and one that lingers in the recipient’s mind for the wrong reasons. The right introduction is your key to unlocking meaningful online exchanges.

Email greetings may seem like a small detail, but they are the first step to making a meaningful digital connection. “Hello”, “Hi”, and “Dear” are the most common and versatile greetings and email openings. When you don’t know how to start a conversation online, these are most likely to be appropriate. 

To help you craft the perfect email greeting for your email, here are some guidelines to follow when writing one:

  • Include the recipient’s name and double-check the spelling.
  • Take into account your relationship with the recipient and pick a tone of voice accordingly — and don’t forget to adjust your sign-off to it as well.
  • Think about the cultural differences between you and the recipient and take them into account. 
  • Adapt your greeting depending on the context of the email thread — a greeting in a long-standing conversation will differ from one kicking off a fresh thread.
19 April, 2024
Article by
Gayane Sargsyan
Content writer and marketer with 8+ years of experience. I specialize in creative copywriting, analytics and PR. Outside of working hours I love making hand-built ceramics, traveling and hanging out with my vizsla.
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