A simple "thank you" might be all it takes to get your co-workers or clients to respond to the emails you send them, new research finds.
A study from email productivity software provider Boomerang revealed that the phrase you use to sign off your emails can impact whether or not you get a reply.
The research found that emails that close with a variation of "thank you" get significantly more responses than emails ending with other popular closings. Specifically, "thanks in advance" had a 65.7 percent response rate, the highest among the eight most popular email closings.
"'Thanks in advance' ended up correlating with the highest response rate, which makes sense, as the email’s recipient is being thanked specifically for a response which has yet to be written," the study's authors wrote. "There’s a bit of posturing involved with this closing, but it turns out it works pretty well."
"Thanks" and "thank you" had the second and third highest response rates of 63 percent and 57.9 percent respectively. [See Related Story: Email Etiquette 101: The Do's and Don’ts of Professional Emails]
"No matter how you express your thanks, doing so certainly appears to be your best bet in closing an email if you want a response," the researchers wrote.
In total, emails that included some type of thankful closing had a 62 percent response rate, compared to 46 percent for emails without a closing that included some form of "thank you."
For the study, researchers analyzed more than 350,000 messages from mailing list archives of more than 20 different online communities. The researchers first found the most common responses, each of which appeared at least 1,000 times in the sample, and then calculated how many replies each one received.
The study's authors said the emails proved to be a great sample for looking at variations in response rates because many entailed people asking for help or advice, and thus seeking a reply. Since none of the eight most common email closings were specific to online communities, the researchers believe the trends they found should be relevant to anyone who emails.
These are the eight most popular email signoffs and their response rates:
- Thanks in advance: 65.7 percent
- Thanks: 63 percent
- Thank you: 57.9 percent
- Cheers: 54.4 percent
- Kind regards: 53.9 percent
- Regards: 53.5 percent
- Best regards: 52.9 percent
- Best: 51.2 percent
The research did show that all of the most popular email signoffs saw higher email response rates than the 47.5 percent average response rate across all emails in the sample.
How you sign off on an email isn't the only factor impacting whether or not you get a response. Previous research from Boomerang found that email length, tone and subject line length also matter.