If you are in business and send emails, you may want to revisit how your email signatures impact your daily communication, and ultimately reflect on you and your company.
A clean, professional email signature plays an important role in communicating important information.
If done properly, a good signature can help ensure that your email survives the spam-gauntlet that constitutes today’s email systems while still presenting a professional image that is consistent with your companies brand.
Here are some tips on creating a professional email signature.
A professional email signature is not the place to offer inspirational quotes.
It is not the place to play around with funky colors or fun fonts.
If your signature includes Comic Sans (and you aren’t running a Day Care), it’s time to revisit your signature.
In addition, lose the images. Keep to plain text (not HTML, not Rich Text; Plain Text) and lose company logos and anything that isn’t critical to communication.
It sounds obvious, but every day I get emails with pretty signatures that do not include essential information about the sender.
Include helpful items that let people reach you:
- Who You Are
- Your Company
- How Do I Contact You? or as is now more common: What is Your Preferred Method of Contact?
- Legal Disclaimers (which are ignored by ~100% of the population)
Smart phones turn every line item into an actionable event.
If you have a phone number in your signature, then that can be tapped for an immediate connection.
If you have a website, then that can be clicked for a look at your website (let’s hope you have a mobile version of your site).
If you have a street address included, then that can be tapped for instant mapping and turn-by-turn directions on how to get to you.
Do you see where this is going?
Also, you should keep in mind that taking all of this useful information and including it as an image completely defeats the purpose as the image is not actionable and may even be stripped out of the message.
Some professionals advise keeping the signature short and sweet, like this one I received from DropBox Teams.
Emma | Team Sales | Dropbox | 415-967-xxxx
Minimalistic indeed!, but I quite like its straight-forward simplicity.
Or how about Tech giant Dell? What do their Business signatures look like?
Senior Account Manager | Business Development
Dell | SMB Canada
Office: 416.773.5065 | Toll Free: 800.387.5752 ext. ****
Simple, to the point, smart-phone friendly, and contains everything I need to know on how to reach Mike at Dell.
I like to provide as much information as is necessary for a recipient to fully add me as a contact and to reach me.
Matthew K.W. Lehmann, M.A.Sc.
(c) 604 741 7575
(f) 206 222 2037
P.O. Box 1960
Sechelt, B.C., V0N 3A0
See www.mainstaycomputing.com for our latest projects, prices, testimonials, and Warranty & Policies.
And this is what an email from me looks like on a smart phone. Every critical piece of information is readily turned into an actionable item for instant communication.
Furthermore, should an email from me be printed, all critical information is contained in the printout.
Images add unnecessary bulk to each and every email you send. In addition, new cloud sourced spam filters are becoming significantly more fickle when it comes to filtering, or even blacklisting, accounts and IP addresses that they believe are a source of spam.
Images in your email increases your spam score and may cause your email to be blocked or filtered as Junk Mail / Spam Mail (see this Microsoft security article for more spooky stuff).
Ultimately, even MediaTemple can rarely answer your question: “Why was my email blocked?” because they (like many hosting providers) actually outsource their spam filtering to a 3rd party (Cloudmark, in their case).
Larger emails may not mean much to the desktop user, but your mobile user will appreciate a clean email that does not contain heavy images that only serve to eat up their monthly bandwidth allotments.
In addition, some email clients separate out your images and include them as attachments, which leads to confusion on the part of the recipient as it looks like every single email from you contains an attachment.
And if that wasn’t enough, some email clients have a fairly scary warning that attachments have been blocked.
For maximum viewing accessibility on all devices and by the vast majority of users, keep to simple, standard system fonts, with black text on a white background.
Avoid excessively large or small fonts and understand that the way your email looks on your computer, is unlikely to look the same on another computer.
Do you have any tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments section below.