We send and receive emails every day, all with signatures at the bottom. Have you stopped to think about your email signature and how effective it is? Here are some tips on creating optimal email signatures.
Format of Email Signatures
Images can be great since you can include your photo, company logo, and other visual elements. You can create colorful yet professional looking layouts. The downside is that images may be blocked by email applications, increase the file size of your email, be converted to an attachment by email applications, or cause your email to be filtered as spam.
Text-based email signatures avoid blocking by email applications. Recipients of your email are sure to see the information in your signature without needing to perform any extra steps. They can be formatted and can include hyperlinks, however, too many hyperlinks can result in your email being filtered as spam. Plain text signatures are really the safest format to use.
Content of Email Signature Files
This is probably the biggest and most important question when it comes to email signatures. Include too much information and your signature will not likely be read or can be annoying to recipients. Here are some best practices…
- Be Concise
Do NOT include every title, designation, responsibility, social media link, email address, etc. in your signature file. It is not meant to be a resume!
- Only Include Relevant Information
If you prefer not to receive phone calls to a particular number, leave out that number. If your email recipients are unlikely to send you a fax, there’s no need to include your fax number. If you are emailing from a particular account, you need not list every other email address that you use.
- Abide by the Rules
Certain industries, such as real estate and mortgage, have rules for what must be included in emails. Be sure to abide by those rules and include the mandated contact information.
- Leave Out Spam
Do not use your email signature to market third party websites or services. This can be viewed as unprofessional and will also increase your chances of being blocked by spam filters.
- Minimize Hyperlinks
It is common to include a link to your business website. Recipients may use that to research you or your company. It is debatable whether you should include links to social media accounts. This really depends on your profession. Overall, you should avoid having too many hyperlinks since spam filters are known to block messages based on the number of hyperlinks included.
- Keep Disclosures to a Minimum
Legal disclosures in email signatures may be appropriate depending on your industry and profession. When needed, keep them short and concise. Long disclosures will be ignored by most recipients. Also, be sure to put the disclosure at the bottom of the signature area and separate it from your contact information.
When to Use Signatures
Most email programs allow you to designate whether to include signatures in replies. It is best not to select this option. Imagine an email string where you and a client have responded back and forth to each other many times. If each of your replies includes your full signature (and disclosures), it makes the email string longer and more difficult to read,… and quite frankly, it can be annoying. It makes sense to have your signature appear in your first message, but it is overly repetitive to have it included every other time in the same email string.
Optimal Email Signatures
To sum it up, optimal email signatures are text-based and include only necessary contact information. Images, hyperlinks, and third party marketing in email signatures can be interpreted as spam. Including too much information can result in your signature text being largely ignored and, in some cases, can lessen your professionalism.