Whether you’re reaching out for help at work or need to change an online order you placed before it ships, you need to send email messages that get a response.
While writing the body of the email may seem like the tough part, signing off is probably not really on your radar.
However, your closing is just as important as anything else in the email, according to new research. Does your “Regards,” “Thanks,” or “Just Keep Swimming” really make much of a difference? If so, what kind of a difference? Is “Best” really best?
An evaluation of 350,000 email closings revealed that the type of closing you use really does impact the response rates to those emails. For the study, researchers at Boomerang evaluated messages from the archives of 20 online communities and found a large base of messages with a wide variety of subject matter, response rates and closing types.
Often, people determine their closing based on the content or setting of the email that they’re sending. While “Love” might be appropriate for a message to your spouse, it’s likely not the closing of choice for emails sent in the professional environment.
The most popular closings in the sample taken were:
So, which one corresponds with the best response rate?
Overwhelmingly, closings that indicate thanks, including “Thanks in advance,” “Thanks,” or “Thank you,” received the most responses and highest response rates over any other closings. In fact, emails with thankful closings saw response rates of 62 percent. An expression of gratitude in an email’s closing resulted in a 36 percent relative increase in the response rate.
These results echo the results from a 2010 study entitled “A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way.” This study found that cover letter editing requests were more likely to receive attention when the request email included the line “Thank you so much!” This indicates that recipients who feel that their response is valuable and appreciated are more likely to respond to emails that demonstrate as much.
So the next time you sign off on an email, think about the message that you’re sending. While “Thanks in advance” may seem a bit forward or presumptive, it’s likely to get some attention and a response from the recipient.