Like traditional, written business correspondences, business emails often finish with a closing word or phrase, the sender’s name and sender’s title. Additionally, where a business letter or letterhead might contain contact information at the top of a correspondence, an email may include a variety of other relevant contact information below the closing.
Known as an email signature, this block at the end of an email message can also contain company-related information such as the business name, mailing address, phone number or numbers, disclaimers or other contact information. When used correctly, email signatures can be an important part of your marketing strategy.
Email signatures allow recipients to easily add sender information to their contacts or address book with a few simple copy and paste commands.
While this block is basically utilitarian, senders often try to develop attention grabbing, memorable signatures either through word choice or content such as a quote or imagery.
Unfortunately, it becomes easy to go overboard with email signatures, including graphics, irrelevant or random quotes or simply far, far too much contact information.
Savoir Faire Marketing Communications
100 West Merrimack Street
United States of America
Favorite Quote: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls.
The most massive characters are seared with scars.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
Not only is there irrelevant information above, it’s a lot of text to sift through to find important contact information, especially when viewing the email on a mobile device.
So what should you do (or not do) instead?
First, don’t include personal phone numbers in your business signature. Your phone number should be your office number and/or business cell phone only, unless of course you want to be contacted by colleagues, clients or your supervisor on nights, weekends and early mornings. Obviously, if you work for yourself, the distinction can be fuzzy, and you might in fact have one phone number for work and for personal use.
Don’t include your email address. It’s already visible in the user’s inbox and is completely redundant. People have become very computer savvy since the birth of email in 1971 and know they can find your email address simply by adding you to their contacts or by simply hitting “reply.”
Include links to your social media accounts. But only link to those accounts where you share business-related information or to personal accounts which help build your personal brand in a professional manner, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Avoid trying to include every single social media account you have. Cap your social media sites to no more than six and choose the ones that are most relevant to your company or brand and with which you are actively engaged. Utilize social media icons if possible. These images are more easily recognized and can more likely to be clicked.
Use images sparingly, such as a logo or headshot. Avoid adding frivolous images of sunsets or inspirational quotes or gifs you found funny. When including an image, use color. Color images are more memorable than black and white and are processed by our brains more quickly.
Never put your entire signature in an image. When you embed all your contact information in an image, it’s difficult for recipients to copy and paste your contact information to an address book. Additionally, images might arrive as attachments rather than as part of the message – or they may require user permission to load – defeating the purpose of using a signature to begin with.
Avoid long disclaimers. If necessary, include a link to an online version of your email disclaimer. Remember, more people are reading email on their mobile devices and disclaimers, often inserted at smaller font sizes could be difficult to read.
Don’t use full hyperlinks. For example, you might link the website in your signature to http://www.mycompany.com, but you should only display www.mycompany.com, or even better, mycompany.com. A user can paste either of these variations in a browser address bar and the browser will append the http and www as needed. Pro tip: if you link your URL using UTM tracking. you can see how many visits your website gets from your email signature using Google Analytics.
Create a mobile version of your signature for emails sent from your mobile device. Consider using only the bare minimum contact information and including a “sent from my iPhone” or “sent from my smartphone” disclaimer. (Mine currently states: “Sent from my phone. Please excuse any typos and errant autocorrects.”). This short disclaimer can help your credibility when an email gets a little sloppy. However, beware there are some recipients who will see this disclaimer as a preemptive excuse for lazy proofreading and will not forgive your typos.
Don’t try to combine too many fonts or colors. While technology has come a long way and email clients such as Outlook are providing more support for CSS, fonts and colors, it’s unlikely your company’s proprietary font or even a web-based font will property display on your recipient’s device. Outlook most notability ignores many of these directives and will fall back to using Times New Roman. The best bet is to play it safe and use system-based fonts for contact information. However, you can use color to help tie your email to your brand and try a couple font sizes to create a visual hierarchy information.
Beyond your contact information
While the goal of an email signature is to provide contact information, this block is also a great way to market yourself and your company. According to Hubspot, the average office worker sends 40 emails per day. Each one of these emails is a touch point with a client or prospect and can impact your business.
Consider using your email signature to include a targeted strategic marketing messaging or offers, rather than your favorite quote and reminder to “think before printing this email.” Choose one, however. Just like with contact details, you don’t want to clutter your signature with lots of different and competing messages.
Use a call to action to highlight an event, share recent content or promote a special offer. Create a banner image and place it below your contact information or use a text link which is emphasized through font style or color.
Try linking to a company video. In email clients like Gmail, a video thumbnail will show up for YouTube hosted videos.
Link to your calendar and allow clients and prospects to easily book meetings with you.
Include statistics or link to any research you have conducted and published.
Offer a free product demo or consultation. Try targeting the various stages of the funnel with higher commitment offers in your signature.
Your email signature is probably one of the most often-seen pieces of company branding. Yet marketers typically overlook its importance and potential to influence readers and drive additional website traffic and revenue. Whatever information you include, make sure you test your signature in a variety of email clients, such as Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail and Yahoo, to ensure you are putting your best foot forward and that the vast majority of recipients are seeing your signature as intended.