What is a Salutation: meaning, examples, and tips

Selecting a proper greeting is a tough task because casual daily salutations aren’t always suitable for formal business correspondence. The choice of a greeting always depends on the context and the communication strategy you use to establish strong relationships with your prospect.

Salutation definition

A salutation is a word or phrase used for greeting a recipient in business or personal correspondence. 

There are two types of salutations — formal and informal (casual). The most commonly used salutations in emails are “Dear” and “Hi/Hey,” followed by the recipient’s title or name.

salutation example

Selecting an appropriate business salutation

Before you send a message, you need to know at least some information about your recipient to greet them by their name. It helps you avoid any mistakes or misunderstandings and gives space for personalized modifications to your salutation.

Consider the following points:

  • How close you are with the recipient. If you are quite friendly with them, the best idea is to use their first name.
  • The purpose of the email you are writing and its style. If you are creating a formal business email, it’s better to use a formal salutation.

Sometimes, there are cases when you neither know the name of the recipient nor have any additional information about them. In this case, you might be better off beginning the email with a simple “Hello.”

salutation examples

Formal business salutations

Business greeting depends on how you want to approach your recipients. Context and intention are crucial, as they influence the way you present your message, the way it can be perceived, and the recipient’s impression of you.

One of the safest ways to begin your formal business letter is to address the recipient with “Dear Name.” At the same time, you better avoid gendered salutations like “Dear Sir or Madam” because they can be petty, exclusive, and offensive. Besides, they show you didn’t do your research. Meanwhile, gender-neutral language will let you come across as polite.

The closing phrase is as important as the greeting part, as it gives your prospect a strong feeling of respect. The tone of your closing salutation should be harmonious with the tone of the greeting. Some formal examples are:

  • “Best regards” 
  • “Respectfully”
  • “Best wishes”

Casual salutations

If you are writing to a friend or a close colleague, or if your business marketing campaign has a target to look as friendly as possible, it’s good to choose a casual greeting. Some examples of casual salutations are:

  • “Good morning / afternoon / evening”
  • “Hello” / “Hi” / “Hey”
  • “How are you?” / “How are you doing?” / “How is it going?” / “How’s everything?”
  • “Greetings”

Think carefully about your corporate culture and branding strategy before starting your email with a casual salutation in a large-scale email drip campaign.

Email drip campaigns

Creative and personalized alternative salutations

Formal and neutral casual salutations are a safe choice, but they can be boring, especially when you realize that your recipient probably has hundreds of such emails in their Inbox. Sometimes you need a fresh breeze!

Try to use personalization and segmentation techniques to adjust your message to your audience. This way, you will show your clients that you care and that you remember some details about them. 

The weather is often the best ice-breaking topic. However, you should know the recipient’s current location or live in the same area to make sure you are on the same page:

  • “Did we catch you enjoying the summer sunsets, Peter?”
  • “It’s a delightful day today, isn’t it, Jane?”
  • “Snowball fight or skiing today, Peter?”

These are greetings you can follow-up with after you send your recipients some useful info:

  • “I hope [The last file you sent] was helpful!”
  • “Was the information about [Client’s pain point] useful?”

And here’s how you can exchange opinions about something both of you know commonly known things:

  • “Have you seen that new [Industry-related lecture]?” 
  • “It’s been a whole month/year/decade since [Sales event]! Can you believe it?”
  • “Did you see the crazy news about [Industry-related news]?”

All these variants sound friendly, and if your marketing strategy allows casual style, they can make a good impression on the reader.

Unacceptable salutations

An inappropriate greeting can spoil your whole message. Avoid abbreviations, shortenings, and slang words. You might think that such phrases sound friendly, but the prospect isn’t your homie and can consider you overfamiliar and disrespectful. 

Examples of inappropriate salutations: 

  • “:-)”
  • “Yo!”
  • “Howdy!”
  • “G’day mate!”
  • “Sup?” or “Whazzup?”
  • “Hiya!”
  • “TTYL”

One more way to get on your prospect’s nerves is by using foreign words. Instead of adding uniqueness, they can cause confusion. The recipient might misunderstand the phrase, or it might appear politically incorrect.

Bottom line

If you want to show that you care about the recipient, use fresh and personalized salutations in your emails. But first ensure they align with your corporate style, branding, and marketing guidelines. 

To make sure your work brings fruit, use professional platforms like Snov.io, designed to create successful cold outreach campaigns. It will help you skyrocket your email deliverability, nurture, engage, and smoothly convert leads. 

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