What’s in an email signature? That’s a lot like asking, “What’s in a name?”
Email signatures are a lot like names—they reflect brand identity and professional standing for companies. For individuals, they are networking opportunities and channels of communication.
When I started my first job, I used to look at all the email signatures I received, hoping to find structure and some value in the way the organization worked. It was interesting to see how people customized their signatures to create an individual presence.
I read many witty quotations and saw shades of yellow and blue in email signatures. In one media organization, employees tended to use the colors of the logo. Of course, sometimes you see the odd graphic in an email signature that never loads in your email client.
No matter how innovative, flexible, or open a company may be, creating a distinctive style for email signatures works wonders for the company’s business communication. Plus, the email signature works as a cost-effective and far-reaching solution for marketing and spreading the word about a company. Organizations can benefit from creating standard email signature templates that can be used by employees across the board to communicate their messages.
Different styles work for organizations, and that is perfectly fine. If your organization has developed a signature that you can use for your emails, then the trouble of designing your own signature is minimal and all is hunky dory.
[RELATED: Hear how top companies adapted to the digital PR industry changes at this August event.]
If that is not the case, then use these tips to design a simple, text-based, and effective email signature for your business communication:
• Always mention your full name, title, and organization.
• Always mention at least two ways to get in touch with you (including a phone number), but avoid sharing too many phone numbers and alternative email addresses. A short, concise email signature is the best way to go.
• Include the accepted signature delimiter ( — ), as this is recognized by most email clients.
• Use pipes (|) to separate text. Try to fit in more information into fewer lines. A well formatted email signature is easier to go through and has a better chance of being read.
• Format with an client-friendly typeface, and size it for maximum visibility. A list of safe fonts that can be used in emails is available here.
• Develop multiple versions of the same signature. Use a shorter version for replies and forwards.
• Always mention links with the complete site address. This makes it easier for the recipient to copy/paste the address into a browser.
• Do not include icons of your social media networks. Images in email clients are tricky and don’t always load. If you must mention a social network, mention a professional network and write the entire link.
• Avoid quotations, witty sayings, and colors.
• For an international client base, include your area code with the phone number.
• Avoid using v-cards or contact cards as attachments in your emails. It’s more than likely that people will not bother to open them.
• It’s good to use a consistent signature style on your mobile applications. Make sure you update these on your phone.
Here’s an example of a good email signature:
Founder | Voluntary Organization
+92-000-500-0000 | firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.websiteurl.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/twittername LinkedIn:http://linkedin.com/in/linkedinname
Or for replies:
If you would like to be more experimental and want to design custom signatures, read this article
that lists apps you can use to design a custom email signature.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Wordsmith Consulting blog.