Are you stuck on how to end a professional email?
Happens to me too.
Do you give your recipient a warm, friendly closing, or something a little colder, but more professional?
Do you include your contact information, or is that a given?
In this article, I’ll explain the email etiquette behind email closings, and cover how to close a professional email.
Table of Contents
- How to End a Professional Email: The 3 Fundamentals
- 11 Best Professional Email Closings
- The Email Signature
How to End a Professional Email: The 3 Fundamentals
There are many different types of emails you send, but no matter what you’re sending, these three fundamentals will be the most important to ending your email “correctly:”
1. The recap.
A recap is a useful way to concisely summarize a long message, and it’s a good way to just get to the tl;dr of your email.
Do this leading in with “In summary,” or “In conclusion.” If you have a series of questions that need answers, or if you have several action items for a recipient, use a bulleted list.
If you’re sending to multiple recipients, it can be helpful to separate conclusions by name. For example, you might end an email with something like this:
Mark: Please collate these files by Wednesday, and follow up with Julie.
Rebecca: Please let me know how to proceed on [Point A].
Stan: How long will it take you to finish your section of work?
2. The closing.
Next, you’ll need to choose the right closing for your message. Your closing will convey both an attitude and a degree of formality.
While subtle, your word choice could have a powerful effect on how your message is received.
3. The signature.
After the closing comes your email signature. The best way to approach this is to have an email signature template you apply to all future emails in Gmail.
I’ll cover how to do this and what to include in your email signature below.
11 Best Professional Email Closings
Let’s move on to how to close a professional email—the bit of text you include at the end of your email to complete your message.
Your choice of email closing phrases will impact the impression you leave your recipient. For example, a formal email closing can help you be taken more seriously by a superior, or show how committed you are to professionalism (see our guide to how to write a formal email).
A friendly email ending can make sure your criticism or negative feedback is taken softly, or show that you’re approachable.
So, what’s the best way to end a professional email?
These are some examples of commonly used (and highly useful) email closings, ranked in order, in my opinion, from best to worst:
“Sincerely” is one of the great classic ways to end a professional email. If you’re not sure what to include as a closing, this is your safest bet.
It’s the perfect middle-of-the-road option, balancing formality with friendliness, though it is used frequently.
“Cheers” is a friendly email closing that’s still formal enough to use in a professional setting.
Try to imagine someone saying cheers while frowning. You probably can’t.
It’s a warm end to your email that can soften even your harshest body message. This one is my personal favorite email closing line, and the one I use every day in email communication!
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3. Thanks / Thank you / Thanks in advance
One of the most common categories of closings is the “thank you” family, including “thanks,” “thank you,” and “thanks in advance.”
There aren’t many differences between these variables. All of them are suitably formal, and simple enough that they won’t attract attention.
They’re also perfect for emailing a request.
“Regards” is somewhat generic, but that can be a strength. It’s formal enough that it isn’t perceived as cold, but it’s not especially warm either.
You can modify this in a few different ways, like with “best regards,” “fond regards,” or “kind regards.” These may add a bit of warmth or flair to your closing.
5. Best wishes/regards
“Best wishes” or “Best regards” is a decent option for how to end a professional email, and one that isn’t used all the time, but it can give off a greeting card vibe, so it isn’t appropriate for all situations.
You might want to save it for friends or close business contacts.
Simplified, “best” is an adequate closing for someone you know. It isn’t recommended for brand-new acquaintances or contacts because it can come off as a bit curt, and isn’t as formal as some of the other options on this list.
7. I appreciate your (fill in the blank)
A bit on the longer side, the literal meaning of “I appreciate your (blank)” is the same as “thank you,” but it conveys more intensity and possibly, sincerity.
Use it when thanking someone or making a major request.
8. With gratitude
You can also close with “with gratitude,” but it can come off as stuffier than a simple “thanks.” It works perfectly well in super-formal situations or with conservative organizations.
9. As ever
We venture into more obscure territory with “as ever.” Vaguely archaic but certainly unique, “as ever” is a good choice if you’re looking for something original and formal, but don’t bust it out in an unfamiliar setting.
This is another alternative option if you’re trying to end your email in a friendly, unique way.
11. Yours truly
“Yours truly” stands with “sincerely” as one of the great classics, though it hasn’t aged well. The main red flag here is that it can come off as overly personal; it’s the kind of thing you might expect to see in a love letter.
You can also modify these email closings with a preceding dash, a following comma, or a following exclamation point.
The comma is the most straightforward choice, but feel free to experiment.
Exclamation points do come off as informal, however, so only use them in situations where you have an established professional or personal relationship with the recipient.
Don’t take your email endings too seriously. As long as you’re in the ballpark of the tone or formality you want to convey, your choice won’t make or break your message.
The Email Signature
After your email closing, you should include an email signature.
- Full name. This is a must. Even if your email address contains your full name, most people will look here first when they’re trying to figure out how to spell your name.
- Title/company. This is also a must. Include your job title in full, as well as your company name.
- Email address. You might roll your eyes at this one, but not everyone in the modern world is technologically savvy. Be sure to see our guide on perfect email address ideas!
- Phone number. Speaking of contact information, include a phone number.
- Physical address. Less common and less important, but worth consideration.
- Social links. This can be a good idea to show recipients that you’re active on social.
- Headshot or logo. Some people like to include a headshot or a small logo image in their signature. You can create a logo using this handy logo maker.
- Quote. Some people like to include a motivational quote, or some other snippet to show off their personality.
- Legal requirements. In some cases, you’ll be legally required to include some fine print in your emails.
Learning how to end a professional email can help you make a better impression, but all emails should start with a proper greeting. Check out my in-depth guide on how to start an email for 51 ideas to get you started on that front.
And for more help writing a professional email, see my guide on how to write a professional email.
Lastly, since you’re using email to communicate professionally, check out EmailAnalytics!
With EmailAnalytics, you can see your average email response time, your busiest days of the week and times of day, how many emails you send and receive every day, and a lot more!
Sign up for a free trial today and learn more about how you can email more productively.
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.