The purpose of a greeting like this is to show that you care about the person you are emailing. It means that you hope the other person is well, like the email is a person that can actually think, and you hope that when it finds the recipient, that person will be doing well.
This is good to use if you want to contact someone you have not been in communication with for a while. It is also more formal, so it is a good choice if you are emailing someone in a position of power over you, or you just want to show some respect to them. The following are other ways that you can greet the person you send the email to.
I hope you are doing well!
Email Greetings: INFORMAL, FORMAL and FOLLOW-UP Greetings
This phrase is the most similar to hoping someone is well. The recipient can choose to tell you about what’s happening in their lives, or simply take it as a nice greeting.
How is _____ going?
If you have talked about things that you do in the past, this is a good way to show that you remember it. The above greetings are more informal, and you could say them to literally anyone that you talk to.
However, if you point out something specific that you think they are doing, that makes the email a lot more personal.
For example, if you used to work with someone at a publishing company but you left, you could ask how the publishing company and the people there are doing. If they are the ones that left, you could ask about their new job. This is the equivalent of small talk in in- person conversations.
How is your family/ (specific person)?
If you know someone apart from just work or school, you could ask them about the people they care about. This is great especially if they have recently gotten married, had a child, or if you have heard news about their family.
How have you been lately?
Simply saying that you hope someone is doing well can be dismissive in some contexts. If you really want to show that you care, you can ask this!
It is open ended so it gives the reader a choice in how they want to respond. If they want to just talk about you, they can just say they have been fine. If they want to talk to you about it, though, they can! If you email a former good friend or roommate, this is a good way to greet them.
What’s new in your life?
This, like the previous question, invites more conversation. This is not a yes or no question, and it almost forces the recipient to update you on their life. This is a good way to ask about specific things from people you care about.
I heard you __________. I hope that is going well! (or ask a question about it)
This is a good phrase to use if you want to ask someone about a rumor you heard, or if you have something to say to them. It means that you have been talking to someone else about them, and that you want to know more. Especially if you ask a question, it invites someone to disclose more information.
One great way to use these sentences is if you have gone down a certain career path, and you heard someone just made a career change to the same field! If you say this, you two could bond over the coincidence and develop a deeper relationship by sharing ideas.