Email Greetings: 10 Ways To Start Your Message Professionally

Email Greetings: 10 Ways To Start Your Message Professionally

If you don’t think email greetings matter, think again.

Next to your subject line, they’re the most important part of your email.

Why? Because they help determine if your email gets read in the first place. Your greeting becomes preview text next to your subject line, leading your recipient to decide — delete your email or give it a chance?

email greetings

In business and formal emails, your greeting and email salutation is all-important.

Today’s goal: Write professional email greetings that won’t annoy your recipient. Nail your salutation. And make a good impression.

chart-barBoost email performanceDon't just write the best greeting — write the best email possible with Yesware

3 Questions To Ask Before Writing Email Greetings

You don’t want to stick any greeting on your message. It has to be a good fit.

Before you write, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do we have a prior relationship?
2. What is my goal in reaching out?
3. What is the context from my recipient’s perspective? 

The answers to these questions dictate what your greetings will look like. Some require one type of greeting while others make a greeting altogether unnecessary.

Email Greetings for 10 Situations

1. When You’re Sending A Polite Cold Email

If you’re sending a standard cold email and want to catch your recipient’s attention, personalization is everything.

Why? Nothing lights us up quite like the sound of our names. Science says that the direct tie to our self-perception and identity helps engage us.

So, throw out your “To Whom It May Concern” salutation and take the more personal route.

Your salutation, with their name, followed by a comma.

Try this:

Hi {!First Name},

Hello {!First Name},

{!First Name},

Also, rather than immediately using their full name, use LinkedIn to find how they prefer to be addressed.

Top tip: Use email tracking to identify which prospects to spend your time personalizing emails for. Use engagement data to see who has repeatedly opened previous emails or frequently clicked links.

2. How To Start Your Cold Email When You Did Your Research

Catch your recipient’s attention by including a specific detail about them in your email greeting.

Let’s say your recipient is a fan of a certain sports team; catch their attention with something like:

Hi {!team} fan,

If you and your recipient are both avid travelers, why not mention your commonality when introducing yourself in an email? Try this:

Greetings fellow traveler! 

Or you could show them that you did your research right from the get-go:

{!First Name}, your LinkedIn mentions you like {!interest}, so I thought I’d reach out.

3. Two Fun Ways To Start Your Cold Emails

Have some fun with your email greetings to break the norm and catch your recipient’s attention.

One way you can do this: Add an emoji.

Studies show that emojis amplify our messages — for example, a happy emoji can make the message seem more upbeat.

This is a simple way to break the ice and build a human connection within your cold email.

Here’s how you can do that:

Hi {!First Name} 

Dropping a note:

Another option? Embrace your sense of humor and send a gif.

When done correctly, using a gif can segue into your ask or reason for reason out. Using humor is a simple way to let your recipient’s guard down.

Remember: Only text will appear in your preview text, so entice your recipient with supporting text.

Here’s how you can create a memorable cold email: 

This is how using {!product/service} will make you feel…

email greetings

Our tip: Go to Giphy to discover the perfect gif to send out (but be careful — it’s addictive).

mailTired of re-writing emails?Save your top-performing emails as templates that live in your inbox

4. Following Up With A Cold Email With New Value

In this situation, whatever you reached out with before either wasn’t seen, was deleted, or was opened and ignored.

Time to try again. Only 19% of cold emailers follow up after their first effort, so do it to stand out.

The best way to improve your shot at an open and reply is to shake up what you sent previously. Add new value or trigger a pain point first…

email greetings

Like this:

{!First Name}, this is {!service} made easy.

5. How To Lead With Your Request In A Follow-Up Email

If you’re reaching out to someone you have an established relationship with in the same email thread, cut to the chase and reiterate the action needed as a reminder.

Our attention-spans only last for 8-seconds. Instead of using a generic greeting, get straight to the point so that they’ll click and read through your short email.

If it’s a request email, you could write:

Hey {!First Name}, reminder: {!action or deliverable} by {!date}.

6. Addressing A Company Update (No Action Required)

Being a part of a group is powerful. It can help shape our opinions and improve our ability to follow through.

So, when addressing a large group, you should take advantage of this.

Here’s an example of a company-wide email sent at Yesware:

email greetings

Think of the tie that binds your group together and include that in the email greeting.

Like this:

Hi {!Common group},

Dear {!Common group}:

Hi all, 

Hi everyone, / Hi everyone:

7. Addressing Updates Where Everyone Should Reply

When group business emails require action, you should address each person by name.

Our brains crave personalization. Especially in an online environment.

Studies show that people who are exposed to customized media are more likely to take action and have an overall positive experience.

Try out:

Hi {!Person1}, {!Person2}, {!Person3}, and {!Person4},

Pro tip: Avoid making the simple mistake of forgetting to address someone who is on the chain.

8. Conversations Where Some Recipients Should Reply

When you’re messaging a group but only need actions from some people, use the power of CC and BCC.

Before writing your actual email greetings, you can let everyone on the chain stay in the loop for their action items.


To: The list of everyone who may need to weigh in on a topic (see example 7 above).

CC → visible recipient list.

BCC → An invisible recipient list.

When you’re using the CC option, try this simple email greeting template:

(CCing {!Person1}, {!Person2}, {!Person3}, and {!Person4} for visibility.)

email greetings

Through the thread, if you’re moving recipients to BCC, use this:

[Moving {!Person1}, {!Person2}, and {!Person3} to BCC to spare their inboxes.]

email greetings

Note: Remember people on BCC won’t be included in the reply-all.

databaseEliminate the guessworkGet real-time insights and engagement data

9. When You Don’t Know The Person’s Name

You searched high and low, but still can’t find your recipient’s name.

If you’re in a pinch, you could always send a more generic email greeting. Try something like:

Good morning/afternoon/evening:

Hi there.


Pro tip: If finding a specific person’s email address is holding you back, try one of these simple tools and tricks to help you find email addresses.

10. When You’re In The Back-And-Forth Of An Email Chain

If you’re deep into an email chain, there’s no need to continuously address or close out your email.

You know who you’re talking to.

We recommend ditching your email greetings altogether and getting to the point. Because when you’re sitting in what feels like the world’s longest email thread, you can bet that everyone appreciates the ability to cut to the chase.

Hungry for more? Here are more blogs and tips to help perfect your emails:

Get sales tips and strategies delivered straight to your inbox.

Yesware will help you generate more sales right from your inbox. Try our Outlook add-on or Gmail Chrome extension for free, forever!

Hit your number every month

Get Yesware for free

Works on Outlook or Gmail (+ many more integrations)

Related Articles

Sales by Email: Outreach Strategies and Best Practices
Casey O'Connor

Casey O'Connor

How to Write an Introduction Email That Wins You an In
Melissa Williams

Melissa Williams

Sales, deal management, and communication tips for your inbox