The Exact 3 Closing Words That Maximize Email Results

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sincerelyIf you’re like most people, you write a LOT of emails. And, you probably spend your time focusing on your email’s contents while giving little thought to your closing. However, a new study from email software provider Boomerang suggests that the way you end your emails is a lot more important than you think.

The study looked at the closings for over 350,000 email threads and compared the response rates. Many of the emails were asking for advice or help, and thus were expecting a reply.

Gratitude Works

The analysis showed that emails ending with some variation of thanks (“thanks, thank you, or thanks in advance”) had the highest percentage of response rates, with a final total of 62%. In comparison, emails that closed without some variation of thank you (“regards,” “best,” etc.) had a response rate of just 46%.

That means that swapping out traditional closings with an expression of gratitude correlated with an impressive relative increase of 36% in response rates.

For Email, Best Might Be Worst

The study also compiled a list of the eight most popular sign-offs. Of these eight popular sign-offs, it was the classic “best,” followed by “best regards,” which had the lowest response rates.

So, which response got the most replies?

While any expression of gratitude is a good start, “thanks in advance” produced the highest response rate at 65.7%.

Best email closings

The fact that “thanks in advance” incurred the highest number of responses should come as no surprise. After all, not only are you expressing general gratitude, but also gratitude for an action that’s yet to come – something that’s more likely to convince your target to follow through!

The Exact 3 Words That Will Maximize Replies to Your Emails. #Neuromarketing Click To Tweet

Another Thank You Benefit for Email

There’s more data to support the conclusion of the Boomerang study. Academic researchers in Australia also found that a warm “thank you” boosted the rate of replies to an email.

In addition, they found that with the “thank you” the recipients had a more positive impression of the senders, finding them to have a warmer personality.

The Best Way to Respond to a Thank You

Guy Kawasaki counseling Don CorleoneSometimes, you may be on the other side of the expression of gratitude. When you are the recipient of a “thank you,” is there an optimum way to respond?

You could always throw out a classic “no problem” or a simple “you’re welcome…” Or, you could say something like Don Corleone from The Godfather, implying, “Someday I will come to you for a favor…”

Instead, according to persuasion expert Robert Cialdini, (as reported by my friend Guy Kawasaki), the following phrase is the best response to being thanked:

“I know you’d do the same for me!”

Why does this maximize the probability of that person helping you in the future? It’s because the feelings of reciprocity that this phrase evokes are part of what makes it so powerful. Do proceed with caution, though – you don’t want to sound like a Mafia don reminding unlucky individuals that they now owe him a risky or illegal favor in the future!

Thanks in advance!

If you liked this post, I’ll ask you for a favor – please take a moment to share it. Thanks in advance – you know I’d do the same for you!

How You Should Close Your Email to Get a Reply - just 3 words! #Neuromarketing Click To Tweet

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9 Comments

  1. Amie says

    Interesting article Roger, especially for those doing a lot of email outreach.

    Cheers,

  2. frish says

    My father’s favorite intro line was “I have a problem and I need your help!”
    So, the Thanks in advance is a perfect bookend.

    1. Roger Dooley
      Twitter: rogerdooley
      says

      Makes sense, frish. On a Facebook share, someone commented that their best-performing email subject was “Need a quick favor” or similar… In each case you start with the ask, and then finish with the thanks for the implied action.

  3. Sandeep Kumar (@cdrsandeep) says

    Useful findings. Gratitude in any form is magical. You empower others while enhancing your own stature. This applies to all forms of interaction – not restricted to emails only. Great 👍

  4. Lauren Rader says

    Gratitude is always a good idea. Thank you, I enjoyed the article.

  5. Sheri Kaye Hoff says

    Wow. I had no idea “thanks in advance” would be the highest converting. And I love the- I know you would do the same for me. powerful.

  6. Marjolijn Geppaart says

    Great Minds think alike, thank you for posting this. NB. I read it through LinkedIn, via Patrick (Cuenot – Paris).

    Wishing you a nice Sunday (typical sign off, or something similar like Thank You – see my Twitter @dftcpl and you’ll understand. BTW I’m a huge fan of Don Corleone 👍🏻)

    Cheers,

    M. 🤔

  7. Pete Bass says

    This was a great article. Thank you for sharing this with us. I learned a long time ago that thanking someone in advance in a letter has almost supernatural properties.

  8. Vatsala Shukla says

    I use the ‘thanks in advance’ closing when writing to friends and colleagues Roger, so super pleased with myself (sometimes we get things right without trying 🙂 )

    I’m going to start using it when inquiring from people who send me those 1 click invites on LinkedIn without even looking at my profile. It will be interesting how many respond to the query ‘how do we know each other’ with this closing. Normally I don’t get a response or if I do, it’s the type that tells me I don’t want that person in my network.

    Thank you for the tip from Robert Cialdini.

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