A Comprehensive Guide on How To Sign Off an Email Correctly

A Comprehensive Guide on How To Sign Off an Email Correctly
08 March, 2024 • ... • 52 views
Anastasia Ushakova
by Anastasia Ushakova

Emails are one of the most important communication tools in all spheres of life, so knowing how to create a good personal or professional email is crucial. You may know how to write a great text and understand the power of an email header, but do you know how to end an email correctly?

Why your email sign-offs matter

An email sign-off, positioned at the end of an email, typically consists of a brief word or phrase followed by your name and professional signature. It follows the closing line of the email.

Email sign-offs are integral to various types of emails, particularly in business communication. They provide closure to the message, conveying politeness and professionalism — you wouldn’t end a real-life conversation by disappearing into thin air. Consistent and appropriate sign-offs help to maintain a professional image and build rapport over time. So, employing a suitable email sign-off is considered good email etiquette, and may help set the tone for conversation and leave a positive impression on the recipient.

An example of different types of email sign-offs
Image source: Mail Signatures

How to end an email professionally

Your email sign-off should reflect the general tone of your message, and it’s important to keep your intended audience in mind. 

The appropriate way to end your email depends on your role in the company hierarchy (there’s a difference on how you address your boss and how you address your colleagues), your relationship with the individual you’re emailing, and the purpose of your communication. Additionally, make sure that the tone of your sign-off matches that of your greeting. 

Formal emails are used for professional correspondence, like job applications or arranging meetings. Informal emails, on the other hand, are appropriate for communicating with colleagues or acquaintances. Formal emails generally employ professional language, whereas more casual emails may incorporate idioms. When ending an email on behalf of your brand, it’s best to stick to the tone you were using throughout all channels of your communication.

This is a professional email:

An example of professional email using “Thank you” as a sign-off
Image source: Eserto

Here are two examples of a marketing email featuring a sign-off:

Thank you email from Athletic with a sign-off the reads “Here’s to safe & happy holidays and New Year, Bill and John”
Image source: Really Good Emails
An email from Delta with the “Sincerely” sign-off
Image source: Really Good Emails

If you find yourself writing many emails regularly, adding the same sign-off manually each time could become very tedious and time-consuming. The solution to this issue is automatic mail signatures. Automatic signatures provide recipients with important contact information without manual input, saving time and ensuring consistency. They can also aid with personalization and customization.

This feature is available on most mail clients such as Gmail or Outlook. If you’re an email marketer and find yourself sending many emails a day via email marketing platforms such as Selzy, these also feature options for signatures. Add your signature as a reusable content block template. You can also use blocks for other default elements, such as footers — here are some email footer examples.

Consider adding the following to your email signature:

Closing line

The email closing line, also known as the email sign-off or email closing, is the phrase or sentence that comes immediately before your name and any professional signature in an email. It serves as a courteous and formal way to conclude your message. You can find examples of professional and casual closing lines later in the article.

Your name

It is usually a good idea to include your full name in your email sign-off when emailing an individual. Using just your first name is only appropriate if the recipient is a friend or a colleague.

If you are sending out a marketing email on behalf of your company, you may want to use your company name instead.

Professional title

Make sure to add your present job title and the name of your company, particularly when communicating with individuals outside of your organization. 

Contact info

You may wish to include your phone number, your address, your website URL and your email address in the contact info section. If you have professional social media accounts, it’s a good idea to link to those also.

Here is an example  of a professional email sign-off that includes all of the above:

Email sign-off by DesignCrowd with a closing line, name, job title and contact information
Image source: Milled

Best ways to end an email

In this section, we’ll cover a few examples of closing lines for all occasions.

If in doubt about the kind of closing line you should use, remember that leaning towards more professional phrases is always a good idea.

Professional email closing lines

If you are writing a personal professional email, consider closing lines such as 

  • Best
  • Kind regards
  • Thank you
  • Sincerely
  • All the best
  • Please let me know if you have any questions
  • Thank you for your assistance
  • Thank you in advance
An example of an email from Videoform with the “Sincerely” email sign-off
Image source: Videoform
An HR email from Bonobos with the “Thank you” email sign-off
Image source: Really Good Emails

Additionally, consider the following:

  • Best wishes
  • Warm regards
  • With gratitude

If you would like your recipient to engage with the content of your message, or if you are writing a marketing email, including a CTA (call-to-action) could help you achieve your goals.

Consider adding phrases such as “I am looking forward to hearing from you” to prompt a response. Use positive language to entice your recipient to engage, for example,  “We’d love to hear from you,” or “Join our community for exclusive updates.”

In a business email, a CTA could include promotional or sales offers in the form of a link or banner.

An email sign-off featuring a CTA button that reads “Try Techture for FREE”
Image source: WiseStamp

Best closing phrases for a semi-professional or casual email

Casual email closing lines may include phrases such as

  • Cheers
  • Talk soon
  • Thanks

Other phrases that may be appropriate for a less formal email include:

  • Have a great day
  • Hope 
  • My best

Additionally, holiday greetings could also serve as a casual yet impersonal closing phrase in a marketing email.

An email from the Away team with the “Happy holidays” sign-off
Image source: Really Good Emails

Email sign-offs to avoid

Now that we have explored the best ways to end an email, let’s consider things you should avoid doing if you want your email to sound polished and professional.

  • Yours

Sign-offs featuring the word “yours,” such as “yours sincerely,” used to be very popular, but are now considered to be old-fashioned.

  • Take care

“Take care” may be appropriate to use when ending an email to someone you have a warm relationship with, but it’s best to avoid it when emailing a stranger.

  • Respectfully

The word “Respectfully” is much too formal even for the most professional emails — consider using it only when emailing someone who is in a high position of authority.

  • Thx or rgrds

Try to avoid using abbreviations such as “Thx,” “TTYL,” and “Rgrds” as this may come across as lazy and overly colloquial.

  • Love

Emotional sign-offs like “Love” are not appropriate in the workplace and should be reserved for emailing your close friends and family. 

  • Kisses, “xx,” “xoxo,” hugs”

Text message vernacular, such as “xxx” and “xoxo,” is also inappropriate to use in professional emails. In addition to that, bear in mind that your recipient might not understand what it means!

  • Name or initial

As we discussed already, it’s best to use your full name in a professional email. The use of just your first name or your initial is only appropriate when emailing someone you know, or in an email chain. 

Not using a closing line

Not using a closing line is potentially even worse than concluding an email with “Thx” or “Love.” It may be misinterpreted as abrupt or even rude!

My personal pet peeve is the ubiquitous “Sent from my iPhone” automatic signature on iOS — it may give the impression that the author composed the email in a rush, or may come across as bragging and showing off.

An email featuring the “Sent from my iPhone” sign-off
Image source: Gimmio

As with most things in life, it’s important to keep cultural context in mind when writing an email sign-off. Someone who typically communicates in English, and would be more used to a concise “Regards” at the end of an email, may be surprised to receive a message ending with “A thousand kisses” – a translation of “Mille baisers” — from a French speaker. Using acronyms is common in countries like Sweden, Norway and Germany (such as LG for “Liebe Grüsse” meaning “Best regards”), but is practically unheard of in the UK.

Final thoughts

There are many options you could choose for your email sign-off. To summarize, 

Do:

  • Keep the general tone of your email and your intended audience in mind.
  • Include your name/your company name and contact details.
  • Add a CTA for maximum effectiveness.
  • Stick to more formal language if you’re unsure.
  • Create an automatic signature to save time.

Don’t:

  • Dismiss sign-offs altogether.
  • Address your recipient in an over-familiar manner.
  • Use just your first name or a nickname.
  • Forget to proofread.
08 March, 2024
Article by
Anastasia Ushakova
Mathematics major, former breaking news editor, digital content creator, freelance English teacher, bilingual writer. Novice contributor at Selzy. Keen on learning everything about the world and on sharing it with everyone. Hobbies include art, travel, thrifting, photography, playing the Sims, fashion, eating Marmite and generally having a good time.
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