Greetings and Salutations! The Best Way to Start an Email


Hey. Hi! Greetings. How are you? Dear…

With so many ways to start an email, you may think your opening doesn’t matter much. 

Email began as an informal means of communication. However, email today is no longer just an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family.  In many cases, it is the predominant means of communication within the workplace.

So, what is the best way to start an email?  That depends on who is being addressed and the content of the email.  If you are catching up with a friend, pretty much anything goes.  You know your friends and their personalities, so have some fun with those emails.  Business writing, on the other hand, does have some limitations.  You want to be formal but not stuffy, and casual but not disrespectful.

Formal Email

You always want to start with some type of greeting.  If the tone of the email is formal and you don’t have a personal relationship with the reader, “Dear” is a safe option.  In email, “Dear” is typically followed by the recipient’s first name.  Because I don’t receive too many emails that start with “Dear,” those that do, usually catch my attention. 

Casual Email

For a more casual email, it’s considered acceptable to start with a simple “Hi.”  Sometimes this is followed by the person’s name, and sometimes it isn’t.  No matter how informal your email is, it is good practice to include the recipient’s name.  Whether it is written or spoken, Dale Carnegie was right when he said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Greetings to Avoid

Greetings to avoid when writing an email include, “To Whom It May Concern” and “Dear Sir or Madam.”  These are both too formal and too impersonal. These greetings tell the recipient that you don’t have a personal relationship.  With the volume of spam email that many people get on a daily basis, this could land your email right in the trash, or at least lower its chances of receiving a prompt reply.

Writer’s Ink Can Help

Remember, how you start your email sets the tone and may even determine if the recipient keeps reading.  If you’re struggling to write the perfect email, Writer’s Ink can help.  We write sales and marketing emails that result in conversion.  Whether you want to send a marketing email or a client specific follow-up, leverage our email writing service to connect with your customers.