6 Ways To Start Your Email Right

Updated 25 March 2023

A successful email starts with a greeting that accounts for your relationship to the recipient and the formality of your industry. The way you start your email can set the right tone for the rest of your email and gives an impression of yourself to the recipients. A good email greeting can also act as an indicator for your communication skills. In this article, we discuss different email greetings you can use to start your emails right.

Related: Guide on How To Start an Email (With Tips and Examples)

What are email greetings and why are they important?

Email greetings are the first sentence that your recipients read when they open your email. Email greetings act as an opener, giving recipients the first impression of you as well as setting the mood for the rest of the email. When deciding on an email greeting, you can consider whether, and how well, you know the recipient. This can help you determine how you start your email, whether to use a formal and professional tone or a friendly and respectful greeting. Your email greeting can impact the recipient's perception of you. It also can impact whether your recipient reads or even opens the email.

Read more: Guide on How To Write an Email

Here are benefits to writing a good email greeting when you're creating your email:

Create a lasting first impression

Whether you are simply reaching out to new colleagues, contacting a potential client or marketing to your customers, making a good first impression that lasts is always a good idea. Although recipients first judge your email from the subject line, your email greetings can help you leave a stronger impression on your email recipients. When recipients are interested in your subject lines and open your email, they will proceed to read your email greetings. The email greeting sets an impression of who you are on a more personal level and lets the recipients understand your personality and intentions better.

Set a positive tone

Creating a good email greeting is a way to set a positive tone for the rest of the email. Depending on the purpose of your email, you can set a formal, professional tone or an informal, friendly tone. You can write an email with a level of formality that allows the recipient to take your email seriously while avoiding a stiff tone.

Build a personal brand

As you use distinct and proper email greetings in your emails, the recipients can understand you better as a person. This can help them learn your personality, goals, and values. With these, you can build and refine your own personal brand through professional emails.

Related: How To Reply To an Email With Template and Examples

6 email greeting examples

We compiled some of the best ways to start an email that you can use to begin your correspondence:

1. Hi [Name],

Starting an email with “Hi [Name],” is best for most circumstances, other than very formal situations. It's one of the most popular greetings because it's friendly, direct, and personal. You can make sure to spell the individual recipient's name correctly in the email to begin the email in a respectful manner. If you know the recipient's name, you can address them as Ms., Mrs. or Mr. [Last Name]. If you aren't sure of the recipient's name, you can begin with “Hi,” though this greeting may be too casual for some recipients.

2. Hello [Name],

Using the email greeting “Hello [Name],” is popular and more formal than beginning with “Hi”. This salutation is still personalised with the recipient's name and it is friendly, but it may be more suitable for official, professional, unsolicited, and cold-open emails. You can double-check the recipient's name and its spelling before sending when personalising this address.

3. Dear [Name],

Beginning emails with “Dear [Name],” is best for formal emails and emails when you are contacting someone in a position of respect or authority. Using “Dear” as a direct address is common when sending cover letters and resumes to hiring managers and recruiters. When sending job applications, it's good practice to use the “Mr.” or “Ms.” honorific and the recipient's last name, if you know their preferred gender pronouns. If you're not sure of the recipient's gender pronouns, you can use their full name.

4. To whom it may concern,

Using “To Whom It May Concern” may be a good email greeting for many situations, as it's conservative, generic, and technically correct. This email starter is most often used in official and formal business communications when you may not know the name of the email recipient. However, it is an impersonal and traditional salutation that may be too generic in some situations. As an alternative, instead of using “To Whom It May Concern” you can try to use “Hello [Title],” or “Dear [Title],” if you're sending a resume and cover letter to a recruiter, employer or hiring manager, such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Related: How To Use "To Whom It May Concern"

5. Greetings,

This greeting is a common email starter when you aren't sure who the recipient is or how to spell their name. “Greetings,” is a safe, polite, and conservative start to an email. You can use this salutation for emailing a single recipient or multiple people at once. Starting emails this way is a generic but acceptable option for professional and personal communication.

6. Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening,

“Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” and “Good evening,” are reliable and polite email openers. These polite, generic email greetings are usually used when emailing groups of people for professional reasons or impersonal, semi-formal emails. However, take note of the time zone of your recipients if they are not in Singapore. To be safe, you can opt for other email openers if you are not sure where your recipients are located.

Cold email greetings

A cold email is an email that you can send without prior permission or contact with the recipient. When you haven't had any prior contact with the person you're emailing, focusing on tone becomes more important. In this case, it's best to use a formal greeting. Here are some formal email greeting examples:

  • "Dear Sir or Madam"

  • "To [insert title]"

  • "To Whom It May Concern"

  • "Dear Mr./Ms."

  • "Hello or Hello, [Mr./Ms. name]"

  • "Greetings"

  • "Allow me to introduce myself"

  • "I hope you're doing well"

  • "How are you?"

  • "I hope you're having a great week"

  • "I'm reaching out because..."

  • "I hope you're having a wonderful day"

  • "I hope this email finds you well"

Informal email greetings

These are the types of greetings that you might use in your everyday email communication with managers, colleagues, family or friends. However, it's important to keep in mind that if you're sending an email to anyone for work-related purposes, you can maintain a degree of formality to communicate respect, even if you're emailing someone you speak with or see daily. Here are some warm email greetings that you may want to consider:

  • "Dear [Name]"

  • "I hope this email finds you well"

  • "Hello [Name]"

  • "Hi [Name]"

  • "Hope you're having a great week"

Greetings for follow-up emails

If you're sending a follow-up message, then you can consider changing the greeting line. This is especially important because the recipient can see the opening line of the email before actually opening it. If they know that you're following up on an earlier message, they may be more inclined to open the email. Some email starters you may want to consider for a follow-up email are:

  • "I'm checking in on..."

  • "Following up on my last email"

  • "As we discussed on our phone call"

  • "As promised, here's..."

  • "It was great to meet you at..."

  • "Here's more information on..."

  • "As promised, I'm..."

  • "Can you provide me with an update on..."

  • "To follow up on our meeting"

  • "I'm getting back to you about..."

Related: How to Write a Follow-up Email

How to choose the right email greetings

Here are the basic steps you can take when you're considering which email greeting is most appropriate for the message you're sending:

1. Determine who you are emailing

The most important factor that you can use when determining the most appropriate email greeting is to whom you're emailing. If you're sending an email to someone you've never communicated with or even someone you don't know well, you can use a formal greeting. If you're emailing a coworker or even your manager, it's appropriate to use an informal greeting. However, if you're sending an email for work, you can choose a professional greeting.

Related: Salutation Examples for Letters

2. Consider where you are in your communication

Next, you can consider the stage you've reached in your communication with the recipient. For example, if you've never spoken to the recipient before and you're sending a cold email, a formal greeting is important. However, if you're just replying to an email, it's appropriate to move directly to the subject you're discussing and skip a formal greeting entirely. Your email greeting can also vary if you're following up on a prior conversation, even one that has happened in person.

Related: How to Ask Someone To Be Your Referee Via Email

3. Consider other factors

Some other factors could impact your email greeting. For example, if you're sending a single email to multiple people, your email greeting can address everyone you're contacting. If you're sending an email to someone in your local area and are confident that they will open your email at the same general time of day that you're sending it, you may use a greeting like "good morning" or "good afternoon."

Related: How to End an Email (With Closing Examples and Tips)

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