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What’s an email signature?
Most entrepreneurs and small-business owners tend to use two emails; one for personal use and the other for professional use.
Email is the only communication source that hasn’t shown any decline in use whatsoever for the past 40 years. Instead, it continues to grow each year even when there are so many social networks and online forums available.
Emails are so important that you need one to create social profiles or sign up for an e-commerce site.
You can find hundreds, if not, thousands of articles written about the importance of email campaigns, how to design your emails, how to choose a compelling subject, and etc. But today, we are going to talk about something different, email signatures.
If your emails are already being opened and read, that’s great. A compelling email signature will not only make the email look more professional, but will also spread brand awareness among recipients.
Be careful though. If implemented wrong, your email signature could ruin your image and that of your brand’s.
It is a great opportunity to market your personal/business brand to potential customers, but going too overboard with the content or design will just hurt the performance of your email campaigns.
But don’t worry, this guide will walk you through the nits and grits of creating a compelling email signature that both, spreads brand awareness and makes readers take action.
By now you may be thinking, “Since email signatures are so important, doesn’t that mean everyone, except me, are already using it? Am I far behind?”. Surprisingly, the answer is “no”.
According to Radicati’s email statistics report, 48% of entrepreneurs and small-business owners are not using email signatures, and the ones who do haven’t formatted them properly. That’s exactly why you should do it. Make use of this overlooked marketing opportunity.
The important elements of an email signature
You now know what an email signature is and why it’s so important, but what exactly should it contain? The elements listed below are seen in any good email signature.
- Name, Job title and company name
Readers would want to know who they are communicating with, title held by that person, and the name of the company he/she is working for.
- Company logo / Photo
The human brain processes visuals much quicker than text, especially colorful ones. So if you are an owner or employee of a company, you may consider including the logo in your email signature to make it more appealing.
If the email isn’t strictly for business use, a better choice would be including your own photo. After all, research says the most memorable visuals are ones that represent a person.
Not just any photo though. It must be professional, not a selfie or a photo cropped out from a group photo with your friends. Ideally, the photo must be a high quality headshot, not a bodyshot.
Make sure you are well-groomed and professionally dressed since it will tell a lot about you, from your choice of clothing to your financial status.
And keep in mind, high quality doesn’t mean a bigger picture. That will actually ruin the whole signature since the photo may not load fast, even after some seconds. So be sure to scale the photo before you add it to the signature.
Finally, make sure your background is neutral. Busy backgrounds may distract the user and may deflect their attention from you.
- Company address
The address isn’t required for online and briefcase businesses. However, it’s worth mentioning if your company requires face-to-face involvement with customers/clients.
If your company is located at a prestigious address such as, one ending with Silicon Valley, mentioning it would make whatever it is that you are selling or promoting, more credible and trustworthy.
Generally, the address is mentioned before any other contact information.
- Phone number
Include your phone number. Not just any number but the one you use for work-related calls and messages.
Avoid mentioning multiple phone numbers, since that will just annoy your readers and make them confused as to which number to call first.
Make sure that the number included in your email signature is always active and runs a post-paid package. This is important because you need to be able to call-back potential clients as soon as possible, without wasting time loading your phone through a website or store.
If you are not comfortable with sharing your private business number, simply mention the company hotline.
Personally, I don’t recommend this since most hotlines make clients go through a complicated and time-consuming phone tree before you can actually talk with a support representative. And will just ruin the mood of your potential clients.
- Social media
Most people tend to overlook including links to their social profiles in their email signature. And that’s a huge mistake.
Today, it’s hard to find a person who isn’t using social media. In fact, it has become so popular that certain big brands use their social profiles as their main source of communication, other than their official site.
Including them in your email signature will not only give readers another way to contact you, but also let them observe you better by analyzing the things you post, share and etc. However, just like anything else, don’t overdo it.
If you have 20 social media accounts, include only the top 3-4 profiles you use the most. And instead of just adding them as generic links, turn them into clickable icons, where each social profile is depicted by its logo. This makes the signature less cluterred.
For businesses that have a blog or website, there is another added benefit, social shares. Readers who clicked through to your social profiles may see and re-share the blog content on their own profiles.
This will not only put whatever you shared in front of as many eyes as possible, but will also help those content rank higher in search engines.
This is a button that allows readers to take some sort of action. The Call-to-Action or CTA will differ from business to business, depending on the sales and marketing model they use.
Including the button on the same row as your social icons will make it more professional and stand out from the rest.
For example, if you own a blog, your email signature may contain a Call-to-Action with the text “Visit my blog” or “Subscribe”.
If you want to be more sales-oriented however, a CTA that allows readers to download the first part of your e-book may be a better choice. You could then sell the second part for a few bucks if they are interested.
Tips to follow when creating an email signature
- Make it mobile responsive
According to ExpandedRambling’s email statistics report, 68% of emails are being opened in mobile devices. Yes, that’s right. Not tabs, not laptops, but mobiles.
Therefore, always keep mobile users on the top of your head while designing the email signature. Make sure it can be seen clearly in mobiles and that each element has enough space around them to breath.
Spaces are important especially around links since you want the readers to be able to link on a link easily even with fat fingers.
Another important thing to look out for is the font size. What’s “decent” in a laptop may be too big for a mobile. So check the design on all devices before finalizing.
- Avoid including the email address
This is a major waste of space. Don’t even bother to include it, since it’s already visible next to the sender’s name. Even if it’s not visible, why would they be interested in seeing your email address when they can easily click the “reply” button?
You must use the extra space for something more valuable such as the CTA or the URL of your blog.
- Put trackable links
Say you created a beautiful email signature and initiated a large-scale email campaign. How will you know whether or not people are clicking on your social media links or CTA?
Google Analytics allows you to check the number of unique visitors that visited your blog from Gmail and Outlook, but what if you want to dive deeper and track the number of clicks the emails of your campaign generated? You can’t, at least not by default.
You need to make the links inside your email signature trackable by including UTM parameters using the Campaign URL Builder.
- Say no to multiple phone numbers
Multiple phone numbers will irritate and confuse readers. When one number doesn’t work, they won’t bother to dial the rest. Therefore, only include a single number that’s active.
- Clean up your social profiles
Be sure to review each social profile carefully before including them in the signature. Delete anything that’s inappropriate and unprofessional. You don’t want potential clients to find out matters that are too personal.
If you don’t want to delete them, just limit their visibility to only you and a selected group of people.
- Use colors wisely
One of the easiest ways to grab readers’ attention to your signature is by using vibrant colors. Pick one or two colors that match the theme of your website or email campaign, and use them interchangeably.
Don’t use too many colors, since it will make your brand look childish and unprofessional. One exception is if you’re running a design agency of some sort. Here, clients will expect you to use range of vibrant colors in your designs.
For some businesses, a black and white theme would be more appropriate and formal. The colors you use really depend on the nature of your business.
- Be globally available
The phone number you include in the email signature must be formatted for international use along with the country code. This is important if your business deals with foreign clients.
- Choose a fast and reliable resource manager
A common issue in email signatures is, mages not loading fast enough or at all. This is because your resource manager is not fast enough, which is why you need to rely on fast online storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Use the shareable URL in your email signature, and your email client will automatically replace the URL with the image.
- Be consistent
If you have people working for you, send them the source code of the email signature so that their emails are consistent with the rest of your team. Don’t confuse the user with different variations of the same email.
- Use an email signature generator
Typically, to create even the most basic email signature design, you would need to know how to code HTML and CSS. And that isn’t the case most of the time.
You may consider using one of the free email signature generators that are available online, to customize the signature according to your needs, and finally export the design to your email client.
The most popular ones are MySignature, Exclaimer and WiseStamp. They allow you to customize their templates to match your personal/professional brand and make creating an email signature simple and easy.
The coolest thing is, most, if not, all their templates are mobile responsive and are supported by all major email clients such as Gmail, Outlook and etc. If you still have any questions, check out their FAQ section.
Do note that some generators make it a requirement to include certain elements even if you don’t want to, such as an email address, multiple phone numbers and etc.
If you aren’t able to find a free generator that meets your requirements, either go to a paid one or hire a freelancer to custom-build an email signature from scratch. You can find freelancers easily in Freelancer.com and Upwork.com.
An example of an email signature
Let’s now see what an actual email signature looks like. For this example, I created a signature using HubSpot’s free email signature generator. The only downside is the email address being required.
Now you know what an email signature is, why it’s important and the elements that are truly needed to make it complete and professional.
You also read about the generators that you can use to create and export your own custom email signature, which you can then set up in email clients such as Gmail and Outlook.
A better solution however, would be to shop in Envato Market for an email signature template that meets all your requirements.
Say that you have already created your email signature. Is that it? No. You must constantly check for outdated information and links within it. For example, if you change your phone number, the signature should updated with the new number.
The last thing you want is for a reader to end up in a 404 page and leaving with a bad impression on your brand.
As a final tip, I suggest that you include details about your e-book, event, offer, case study, and other content to get the most out of your email signature.
If I failed to cover something or if you have any questions/doubts regarding email signatures, let me know in the comments section below.