Though countless emails are sent every day, many people don’t give their email signature much consideration. However, conveying the right corporate image – big or small – requires thought, so up your professionalism today with these top ways to improve your email signature. [This article first appeared on Cloud Solutions on Jan 5, 2016.]
Sending and receiving
Email sign-off basics
Crafting a perfect email signature will not only impress but will help to drive sales and conversions too. Think of it as like a garnish on a perfectly cooked meal – the meal itself is delicious and will undoubtedly delight the recipient, but by adding that little bit extra it transforms the dish into something spectacular. That is how a carefully considered email signature works too.
Email signature cheat sheet
An effective email signature can make all the difference between an empty inbox or getting a reply; drawing upon advice from some of the leading marketing professionals, here are the best methods for making a good impression with your sign-off.
1. Make it simple
The last thing you need is to overwhelm the recipient with a gaudy, overly wrought signature at the end of the email. Instead, you should primarily use plain text – a modern Serif font is a good place to start – whilst ideally avoiding the use of too many graphics, colours and fonts – overuse will increase the size of your email and the chance of it being labelled as spam.
2. Keep it short
Include vital information such as your name, company, email and phone number – cutting out any needless information such as two numbers or email addresses. Your signature should offer a clear path for the reader to reply or get in contact with you by other supplied means, removing any potential pain points like multiple addresses that might confuse the reader or bombarding them with too much information.
Treat your signature like a business card, and not your LinkedIn profile, and you should be on the right track.
3. Inform your recipients
If you’re a business owner, include information on any upcoming promotions, products or conferences that might be of interest to the recipient. These should be concise in order to trigger the curiosity of the reader – arguably the most powerful emotion in the marketer’s handbook. You should provide enough information for them to seek out more information by themselves, so this could be the product name, event or slogan for the upcoming promotion. If they’re interested, they’ll look into it, so avoid hammering the point home and putting the reader off.
4. Be consistent
Make sure your email signature corresponds to your company’s visual identity, creating a cohesive persona and aesthetic throughout your email. This might include a logo, the use of brand colours and adding a professional photo – all elements that will add a touch of veneer to your message. It’s worth spending time thinking about the arrangement of these elements too, and it pays to get a basic grounding in design and graphical practises to ensure that all the elements sit well with one another. Finally, if including a photo, ensure that it’s appropriate to the tone you wish to set with your audience and is of high quality – low-res images immediately suggest amateurism.
5. Break it up
Take advantage of using pipes (|), colons (:) or dividers (lines breaking up the text) to condense the number of lines needed to display information. These simple tricks will create a clear hierarchy of information for the reader so that they are directed to the key points in the signature, i.e. job title, company, address etc. Given the volume of emails that are received on a daily basis, your signature needs to account for the fact that the reader might not be giving it their full attention, and this means that your signature should be a scannable read.
6. Get social
If you want to keep your recipients up to date, include social media links to your main accounts. However be careful with the information you share in your signature – unless you want clients and prospects calling or tweeting at you during dinner, don’t include your personal details in the signature (that includes your Twitter, Skype, Snapchat or any other social media account details). Instead, keep it professional and direct them to your office accounts and details.
7. Include additional details
Depending on your role and business, including additional information such as your title and department will allow your recipients know whom they’re talking with instantly. This will work as a trust indicator to let the recipient know that the email is legitimate, and enables them to do a quick search for you on LinkedIn or Google if they’re interested. With the amount of spam email that hits the average person’s inbox on a daily basis, anything you can do to show that you’re genuine will help you avoid getting lost in the noise.
Of course, the perfect email signature ultimately depends on what you use your email for, and what you are hoping to achieve in your communications. A PR professional for a charity will naturally want a signature that will help them to encourage prospects to get in touch with an eye towards soliciting donations, while a university dean might want to present an accessible, albeit professional and academic, persona in their sign-offs.
Whether you’re hoping to close a deal or are simply sharing holiday photos with loved ones, dress your email to impress with a sign-off that stands out.