Professional Email Signatures: The Do's and Don'ts

Professional email signatures are concise passages that include promotional information, like contact details, and are automatically included in your emails as footers. An effective professional email signature is essential in order to leave a lasting impression on your audience. Although email signatures should be as unique and personalized as ordinary signatures, there are certain properties that can make them more desirable and others that should be avoided at all costs. Consider the following tips if you're looking to create an impactful email signature from scratch.

Getting Started: How to create an email signature

If you are unsure how to create an email signature, rest assured because, as with many of today’s tasks, there is an app that can do it for you. One example of a free email signature generator is WiseStamp. This app automatically uploads stylish, sophisticated email signatures onto your ‘Compose’ window - fully customized to suit your preferences and expertise. Including an image, blog or social media content is also made incredibly simple by the app.

Professional Email Signatures: The Do's and Don'ts

However, when personality and uniqueness is of utmost importance, newoldstamp might be a better alternative. With 11 different professional email signature templates in an impressive array of colors and formats, you can be confident in the originality of your signature. Images and social media buttons can also be added. The simplest approach is often the best and htmlsig can provide you with a concise, simplistic email signature that includes necessary information and does away with unnecessary enhancements that may detract from your desired message.

If you choose to set up your email signature manually, the process will depend on the email service provider you use. In Gmail, you can add up to 10 000 characters to your email signature. By navigating to the Signature section in the Settings, you can enter your desired text and add images or change the text style. Alternatively, Outlook 2016 requires a user to locate the Signatures function within the Include Group in the Message tab.

Do: Get To the Point

The shortest, punchiest promotions are often the most effective. You should therefore consider limiting your email signature to just four lines of text. It may be tempting to present your audience with all your promotional information, as more positive points bear a greater chance of persuading people to engage in business with you. However, all an email signature requires is your name, title, the company you are affiliated with and a reliable set of contact details.

You can include links to landing pages, such as blogs, which might further persuade your audience to perform conversions. Consider adding links to social media pages that promote you as a professional entity or utilize an app that can create a social media button for added professionalism.

Don't: State the Obvious

Do not list every possible route to contacting you - the more information you include, the less likely people are to read or consider it. Simply add one or two reliable contact details and your most popular or well-maintained social media account.

Related: Send Better Email to Your Prospects and Clients

Adding your email address to you email signature is a waste of its potential as your audience already has this information. They would have received your email address along with your email or could simply hit “Reply” to contact you. Save the space where you would include your email address for more valuable information such as your blog or portfolio.

Do: Add a Call-to-Action

A call-to-action, which is a piece of text that prompts people to perform a specific action, is a strategic feature that can also be included in your professional email signature. Possible actions include signing up to a class, booking tickets and visiting an e-commerce website. Call-to-actions tend to be short and powerful, like “Book Now!”, and are always commands more than they are suggestions.

Don't: Be Inconsistent

When part of a company or collaborative group of professionals, inconsistency among the email signatures of different members can repel many people. You should therefore consider using the same professional template for every member of your company, customized to showcase their individual information.

Do: Be Clever with Color

Countless people tend to recall images far better than complicated text. Your email signature can therefore be made more memorable through the addition of a professional image. Consider including the logo of the company you are affiliated with or an image of your own face. Research suggests that colorful images containing faces have a greater chance of being remembered.

Color is guaranteed to draw attention, however, there is a definite line between a professional use of color and an excessive use of color with a childish appearance. Never exceed the use of two colors and ensure that they complement one another. Colors can be selected to match the shades used in your company’s logo or business cards, while the use of color may also depend on the nature of your business. For example, colorful email signatures may undermine the professionalism of certain important corporations.

Businesses in law and finance, for example, may also look down upon the use of flashy promotions and view them as a breach of professionalism. However, if the use of color is not an option, black and white email signatures can be made exceptionally eye-catching through clever design and font usage. These monochrome email signatures are often viewed as more modern and formal.

Don't: Overcomplicate

Although an animated signature may sound impressive, it often presents problems in Outlook, which is a platform that most corporate clients will use. Your audience will not be able to view embedded videos or gifs and will instead be presented with a faulty signature that lowers their confidence in your expertise. To ensure that you have a fully functional email signature, ensure that you also keep image alt text in mind. With alt text, any member of your audience can hover over an image you’ve included to find out exactly what its function is. Social media links, for example, can be accompanied by alt text that states: “Like Us On Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter.” The success of a good email signature lies in small details like these.

Do: Go Mobile

An overwhelming portion of your audience finds smartphones a faster and more convenient platform for their daily administrative tasks. Therefore, many people within your audience are likely to be viewing your email signature on their smartphones. Ensure that you accommodate and welcome these mobile users by ensuring that your links are large enough to be tapped. The font on a mobile device should also be slightly simpler, as it inherently comes with a slower reading speed.

Related: 6 Alternatives to Landscaping Business Cards

Don't: Forget the Legalities

Make sure you perform some research into what rules apply to your professional email signature and what legal disclaimers are required in different parts of the world. Staying up-to-date with the latest changes in regulations will keep your business from having to explore unwelcoming legal territory and will keep your business one step ahead of the rest.

Do: Be Unique

Finally, you can customize the way you sign off your emails to complement the originality of your email signature. Many businesses have experienced positive effects from incorporating personality into their correspondence. The freedom to add flair to your sign offs may be dependent on the type of business you associate with, but straying from the generic “Sincerely” and “Best Wishes” can result in a more personal connection with your audience. 

Related: Is Traditional Marketing Dead?