A Guide to Perfect Email Salutations (Beyond Hi and Hello)

A Guide to Perfect Email Salutations (Beyond Hi and Hello)

Emails are a new form of communication. We send them every day to friends, colleagues, and clients. The most important part right after the subject line is greetings. How you start your email really influences whether it will be opened. Creating a compelling greeting line isn’t just about open rates; it’s about the style of communication you are establishing. 

According to an in-depth study, the way you start your email can directly influence the response rate. In fact, emails with greetings are far more open and read till the closing lines than emails starting directly with a subject. 

But what business salutations for email work best? The answer is – it depends.  

The most surprising fact is that friendly greetings like “hey” and “hi” win the battle when it comes to open rates and replies. The internet blurs the boundaries and builds a casual where people don’t like and don’t expect rigid email etiquette. 

But still, you have to know your audience and the situation when you are writing your email. If you are launching a cold email campaign for a business sector like law or medicine, formal greetings like “Dear” are probably the best choice. They allow for showing respect for the expertise and position your recipient holds. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to use common greetings like “Dear,” “Hi,” and “Hello” in emails, and see which ones fit best in different situations.

How to choose appropriate salutations

In the world of email communication, the greeting is the first touch point. Here, you can make a positive impression and boost your response rate. Of course, when done right. Different email salutations serve different purposes. 

Mistakes in opening email salutations can hinder your business growth and leave negative impressions. 

Choosing the right way to start your email really sets the mood. Here’s how to pick the best email salutations for business:

What is your situation?

 Is it formal or more informal? Go with “Dear” for formal stuff and “Hi” for relaxed chats.

Who are you writing to? 

Match your greeting to them. Use “Dear” for official or business emails, “Hello” if you’re not sure, and “Hi” for close friends or coworkers.

What’s the vibe?

Your greeting helps set the tone for your whole email. Pick one that fits the vibe you’re going for.

Thinking about these tips will help you start your email just right and make sure it hits the mark with whoever you’re sending it to. Make sure you start your email with the right salutation to ensure accuracy and professionalism. 

We’ve analyzed dozens of our templates and talked with our email marketing experts to create the ultimate cheat sheet. It can help you pick the perfect professional email salutations—whether “Dear,” “Hi,” or “Hello”—for your emails. 

Dear → for formal settings

This is the one you use when things need to be official or serious—it’s your go-to for creating a respectful and professional vibe.

  • When to use: You’re in a formal or professional setting, addressing someone in a position of authority, or communicating with someone you don’t know well.
  • How to use: Follow “Dear” with the person’s title and last name (e.g., “Dear Mr. Smith,” “Dear Dr. Johnson,”) for utmost formality. For a slightly less formal but still respectful tone, you can use the first name (“Dear Lisa,”).

Hello → friendly but professional

It’s like a polite nod across the room; perfect when you’re keeping things light but still want to maintain a bit of professionalism.

  • When to use:  You need a middle ground between formal and informal, are unsure about the level of formality required, or are introducing yourself to someone new.
  • How to use: Pair “Hello” with either the first name (“Hello Emily,”) or the title and last name (“Hello Mr. Green,”) depending on the formality needed. This is great for initial contacts or when you want to be polite without being overly formal.

Hi → casual and informal

Imagine you’re greeting a buddy or a close colleague—this is your relaxed, everyday hello that feels warm and familiar.

  • When to use: The setting is casual or semi-formal, you’re writing to a colleague or peer, or you have a friendly relationship with the recipient.
  • How to use: Follow “Hi” with the person’s first name (e.g., “Hi John,”) to keep things friendly and approachable. This is perfect for everyday workplace communications or less formal business emails.

Remember the subject line—it’s also of the utmost importance. With our cold subject line generator, you can generate perfect subject lines and increase your open rates. 

When to use any type of email salutation

Another important factor is the reason you are sending the email. Depending on the email intent, you have to choose specific email salutations. Let’s try to group them and find out which greetings serve your best interest. 

Formal email salutations 

No matter how friendly the world is, formality takes place in professional communication. Work email salutations are particularly useful in situations when you need to:

  • Contact new clients
  • Apply for a new job 
  • Contact C-level executives 
  • Make an official announcement

 Here, we’d like to explore formal business greetings you need to know about:

Email salutation When to use
Dear [Title] [Last Name],  This is the gold standard for formal emails. Use it when addressing someone with a specific title or when you need to show a high level of respect, like “Dear Dr. Smith,” or “Dear Mr. Johnson,”.
Dear [Full Name], When you know the person but want to keep the tone professional, use their full name. For example, in “Dear Lisa Monroe,”.

These examples are great for keeping things formal and respectful, just like you’d want in a first meeting, job application, or official business emails. Always try to use the recipient’s name if you can—it shows you’re paying attention and makes your email feel more personal and thoughtful.

Struggling to nail the perfect email greeting or sign-off? Discover 100+ free email templates for every situation.

Choose your email →

Semi-formal business salutations 

In today’s business world, you need to establish warm relationships with your clients. While adhering to a formal communication style, you are still distanced. So, it’s the moment when you need to delicate balance and start using semi-formal salutations and closings.

Top scenarios when you need to use semi-formal email salutations:

  • To contact your colleagues (the ones you contact regularly)
  • To keep in touch with your ongoing clients 
  • To communicate with your team 

Below you can find some examples of semi-formal salutations, you can use for your email communication:

Email salutation When to use
Hello [First Name], A warm yet professional way to start an email, suitable for colleagues or clients you know reasonably well.
Hi [First Name], Friendly and informal, but still appropriate for business communications with peers or team members.
Greetings [First Name], Such a greeting adds a touch of formality without being too stiff, great for when you want to convey professionalism in a slightly relaxed manner.
Good [Morning/Afternoon], [First Name], This time-specific greeting is casual yet respectful, perfect for daily communications with coworkers or clients.
Hi there, A more casual approach that is still acceptable in many modern workplace environments, especially when the exact audience is familiar.

Getting the hang of semi-formal greetings helps you mix respect and warmth perfectly. By using their first name, you add a personal touch. Finding the right mix of professional and friendly is key, especially in cold emails where you don’t know the person well. After all, the right tone can help build positive relationships that get better with every email.

Informal email salutations 

A relaxed and friendly tone can do many things in business communication: it can bulletproof relationships with clients, boost team communication, and break the ice. Informal email greetings are an idea form of salutation to use:

  • In internal team communication
  • In communication with close colleagues 

Here are some examples of informal email salutations you can use to break the ice and turn the atmosphere into a more friendly one:

Email salutation When to use
Hey [First Name], Super casual and great for friends or colleagues you’re close with.
Hi there, A friendly, laid-back way to start an email when you want to keep things light.
[First Name], Just using the person’s first name is casual and direct, perfect for quick, informal exchanges.
Hello [First Name], Slightly more formal than “Hey” but still informal enough for casual conversations.
Hiya, Playful and very informal, best for people you have a very relaxed and friendly relationship with.

These informal greetings keep things laid-back but still professional. They’re perfect for times when you want to be friendly, open, and easy to talk to.

Well, now you know how to start an email, but closing it is also the art you need to master. 

How to greet the whole team

Reaching out to a whole team via email can be tricky, but starting with the right greeting can set the tone for a positive interaction. Here’s how to make sure your greeting hits the mark:

Use a group greeting

Begin with phrases like “Hello Team,” “Hi Everyone,” or “Greetings All.” These greetings are both friendly and professional, and they make everyone feel included right away. 

It’s a good practice to use a greeting that reflects the formality of your relationship with the team.

Mention their work

Acknowledge the team’s efforts or achievements to personalize your message. For example, say something like, “Hi Everyone, I was really impressed by your recent project launch—it was innovative and well-executed.” 

This not only shows that you are paying attention but also that you value their work.

Keep it clear

Clarity is crucial when addressing multiple people to avoid any confusion. After your greeting, quickly introduce the purpose of your email. For instance, “I’m reaching out to discuss potential improvements that we could apply in the next project phase.” 

This helps direct the team’s attention to the main points right away.

Remember to ask for their thoughts or questions at the end of your email. Saying something like, ‘I’d love to hear your feedback,’ or ‘Let me know if you want to discuss anything,’ shows that you’re open to talking and value their opinions.

And, even when you’re addressing the whole team, it’s important to make each member feel valued and recognized.

Tips and tricks to make your salutation “work”

Choosing the right salutation can set the stage for a successful email, especially in sales. 

Here are some best practices to ensure your email salutation hits the right note:

  • Match the tone to the relationship → use “Dear [Name]” or “Hello [Name]” for new contacts to keep it formal. A familiar “Hi [Name]” works well for ongoing relationships.
  • Personalize where possible → always address the recipient by name to increase engagement and show respect.
  • Be mindful of cultural differences → recognize cultural preferences in communication—some cultures favor formal greetings, while others prefer a casual tone.
  • Consider the context → choose your salutation based on the email’s purpose—formal for business proposals, casual for updates.
  • Keep it short and sweet → a brief, to-the-point salutation is best. Avoid long or complex greetings as they can detract from your message.
  • Proofread for errors → check for typos, especially in the recipient’s name, to maintain professionalism.

While the right salutation can open doors in sales communications, certain missteps can do the opposite. Here are some common pitfalls to steer clear of:

  • Generic greetings → steer clear of “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” as they’re impersonal.
  • Misusing names → double-check name spellings to avoid losing credibility.
  • Ignoring formality → match the expected level of formality to avoid seeming unprofessional.
  • Using nicknames prematurely → reserve nicknames for closer relationships to avoid coming off as disrespectful.
  • Excessive length → keep salutations concise; overly long greetings can seem insincere.
  • Inconsistent tone → ensure the salutation matches the tone of the email body to avoid confusion.

Should you use funny email salutations?

The answer is “No”, it’s usually best to skip the jokes in your email salutations, especially in a professional or sales context. 

Humor can definitely make things feel more personal and light-hearted, but it can also backfire if it doesn’t land right or comes off as unprofessional. 

Think about who you’re emailing and what you’re talking about. In most cases, particularly with new contacts or serious discussions, you’re better off sticking with a straightforward, respectful greeting. This ensures your message is taken seriously from the get-go.

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How to use email starters (right after the greeting)

After your greeting, it’s key to dive into your email with a smooth starter that sets the stage. Here’s how to keep it conversational yet professional:

Kick off with a personal touch. Reference a past meeting or a shared detail to connect right away. Something like, “I hope this email finds you well,” or “It was great catching up last week,” starts things off on the right foot.

Get to the point quickly. Let your recipient know why you’re reaching out with a clear and concise line. You might say, “I’m writing to update you on our project timeline,” or “I wanted to quickly touch base on our upcoming meeting.”

Keep the tone warm but direct. It’s all about balance—being polite while straightforward. Try phrasing like, “I’d value your input on…” or “Could we consider a new approach to…”

Lead into your main message. Set up what’s coming next with an inviting line that encourages further reading, such as “Here’s what we’ve planned,” or “Let’s dive into the details.”

How to close your email

You can finish with “Best regards,” “Sincerely,” or “Yours faithfully,” but make sure it fits the vibe of your email and your relationship with the person you’re emailing. Here’s how to choose the best email closing salutations:

  • “Best regards” is flexible and fits most emails, whether they’re formal or semi-formal. It’s friendly but still shows you’re respectful.
  • “Sincerely,” is best for more formal emails, like when you’re emailing someone you don’t know well or in a professional setting. It’s a traditional way to show you’re serious and respectful.
  • “Yours faithfully,” is super formal and a bit old-school. Use it when you’ve started your email with “Dear Sir/Madam,” or in very traditional business situations.

Remember, your ending salutations should match the overall feel of your email and your relationship with the person you’re writing to. This helps make sure your message wraps up nicely and keeps your relationship with the recipient strong.

Wrapping up 

Picking the right way to work with email salutations and endings really matters. Whether you go with formal, semi-formal, or informal greetings, make sure it fits the situation and who you’re talking to.

And remember, a thoughtful closing can leave a good lasting impression. By getting these basics right, you’ll make your emails better and strengthen your connections with everyone you write to.

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