Email signature has always been not only a matter of business etiquette, but the way to represent the company or individual, give necessary information to your addressee. As social media became the popular source for communication, emails with their specific ‘rules’ were lost in the shuffle.
Too often, email signatures get overlooked and correspondence through traditional email becomes something of an afterthought. These days it’s not uncommon for many company representatives to send responses with no email signature or with just the name – something which was seen as being absolutely unacceptable only a few years ago. Have email signatures become obsolete in the age of tweets, posts and pins?
Email Signature Still Matters
When email signatures were originally developed, they were simply an easy way for people to include their name and contact details at the tail end of an email. But, since then, it’s evolved into something akin to an electronic business card. Generally speaking, people don’t want to go back to your website in order to find out who they need to speak with or how to reach that person best. Instead, they refer back to the email and scan to the bottom, looking for the details we’ve become used to knowing will be there. It’s an easy, reliable and consistent way to ensure your customers know how to reach you and a way for them to go back and refer to the specific people who have helped them.
Beware of Mistakes!
Email signatures should contain more than a person’s direct contact details. They should also include information about the company and businesses. But in your effort to be unique and stand out with your signature, you can make one of the following common mistakes.
1. Forgetting About the Small Screen
Today more and more people use their email on the go which means your signature needs to be easily read on the small screen and easily accessed by a thumb instead of a mouse pointer. Fonts that compress the clickable space on a link can make it difficult for people to interact which often translates into business lost. Use serif fonts in 11 or 14 point so they are more compatible with manual swiping and touch screen tapping.
2. Image Overload
Using images as a part of an email signature is becoming increasingly common but it can also pose a problem. Some email clients automatically remove embedded graphics in emails as a security feature which means people will never see your details if you only include them in your graphics. Photos can also detract from your email if they are especially bright, distracting or large in relation to the rest of your sign off. Using a company logo is fine, but don’t rely on graphics to relay your information.
3. Wrong Use of HTML
Using HTML can be a nice way to add a bit of personality to an email signature but, as with graphics, it’s important not to overdo it, and to test the signature across different email clients and operating systems to determine how it will be seen by clients, customers and the public.
4. Clashing Colors
Adding color to an email signature is a common practice but sometimes people go overboard and use colors which may look good in your own email client but which aren’t well supported on the web. What looks like a nice, rich salmon color on your screen could easily become a garish neon pink on someone else’s.
5. Links Overload
You might be tempted to include links for all your social media or a direct link to your blog as a part of your signature but too many links and lines of text is a surefire way to turn readers away. Instead, include links to relevant social media or a specific and current blog post. Worried about what exactly to include due to diverse customer needs? Create several email signatures which can be swapped out easily through drop-down menus in most email clients.
6. One Signatures For All
Swapping out email signatures for direct emails is one thing, but also consider the signatures you use on group replies, forum posts and other online interactions. Formal emails give you the most leeway but all other signatures should be kept as brief and discrete as possible. There’s no need to include your full mailing address, phone number, and social media links when chiming in on group discussions via email or when posting replies or topics on message boards. In those cases, simply use your most basic forms of contact including your name, email address and phone number.
7. When in Doubt, Call in the Pros
With so many potential pitfalls to creating an effective email, it’s easy to see why some people think they won’t bother. But an effective email signature can improve your business and your interaction with present and potential customers. As a result, there are a number of freelancers and dedicated companies who work to create email signatures for companies.
Quick Tips For Your Signature
Creating an effective email signature can help spread the word about you and your company, build strong relationships with customers or partners, and help people learn more about your online presence. Creating this type of signature requires a bit of planning, some tweaking and testing across different email clients and computer platforms, making it a service well worth investing in for many companies.
Simply put, ‘less is more’ is the name of the game when it comes to email signatures. They are meant to be simple and effective to leave your details with others and not something that will distract or detract from your overall message. If all you want is to convey your contact details, these three simple rules will get the job done:
- Use text only and keep lines less than 72 characters long. Many email clients have an 80 character cut off so this will prevent awkward wrapping.
- Limit text to 5 lines or less. Combine contact details, such as your phone numbers or full address onto one line by separating them with pipes ( | ) or a hyphen ( – )
- If you use a logo, keep it in under 50 x 50 pixels and keep it limited to one or two web compatible colors. This will ensure it loads quickly and doesn’t distract from the rest of your email.
Email signature should not be overlooked, as it is a finishing touch of your email, and can influence the general impression from your message. If you’re going to spend time crafting an email that follows all the best practices, take some additional time and make it look professional. Follow the rules and sign it right!
About the author: Haley Osborne is a copywriter and contributing blogger at EssayTigers.com, a professional writing service. Haley is also an expert in content and email marketing, as well as business writing. You may contact her via Facebook or Google+