The average office business worker sends 40 emails per day. That’s at least 40 chances every day to market yourself and your company, not to mention dozens of opportunities to reach out and expand your professional network when recipients read the email signature.
Unfortunately, many people don’t think very much about email signatures. This makes these signatures a real missed (while totally free!) marketing opportunity, “…to make it clear who you are, make it easy for people to reach you, and give people a place to go to find out more—either about you, about your business, or about something you’re working on,” says Hubspot.
That means if you’re just putting your name and a point or two of contact information in your signature (or not inserting a signature at all), you’re not taking full advantage of the opportunity to connect and engage with the people you’re emailing.
It’s really easy to set up your own email signature that includes important information about you and your business and is on-brand. So, there’s no reason to miss out!
Why it’s important to include an email signature
First and foremost, it’s free advertising for you and your business, whether you have a traditional job, own your own company, or are a freelancer/consultant.
Plus, it acts as a virtual (digital) business card. It’s a way to connect with customers and convey your sincerity and openness to communication. Instead of digging through old messages to find the one where you mentioned your phone number, people can look at your email signature and see all the contact details they need.
Don’t forget about the legitimacy and professionalism that comes with a consistent email signature. Creating a cohesive image displayed throughout your company shows that your business is well established and trustworthy.
Of course, an email signature supports your branding efforts, as well. A signature is the perfect opportunity to brand every message you send. It establishes and reinforces who you are as a company. By creating a cohesive email signature for each employee on your team, you create brand recognition in every person to whom your employees send emails.
You also can use it to promote your projects. Contact details are great, but your email signature can include much more. Consider including at least one link that encourages people to find out more about you, your projects or your company. For example, you could insert a link to your website, a recently written e-book, a social media feed or an upcoming event, to name a few. Providing visibility in that way gives the impression that you make continual efforts to grow your business and your career.
It gives people a face to go with the name. Email is convenient, but it lacks a personal touch. There are cases when people talk back and forth through email for months and never see the faces behind those messages, for example. You can change that with an email signature that includes a headshot. If you opt for that route, make sure to choose a picture featuring you standing against a clean backdrop, such as a white wall. Also, wear attire that reflects the image you want to convey. (Keep in mind that an email signature with a picture is an extension of your brand.) Adding a picture to your email signature is the cherry on top! It will allow the person receiving the email to make a personal association and connection with you.
Eight tips for creating a helpful and professional email signature
- Emphasize your name, affiliation and secondary contact information, along with your company logo. Your name comes first, followed by your company name, company logo (optional), job title, phone number, email address and website URL.
- Keep colors simple and consistent with your brand. Adding color to your email signature is a nice touch that’ll help it stand out from the rest of your email. But if you do choose to use color, be sure to stick to one or two in addition to dark text.
- Include clickable icons linking to your social profiles. Your social media presence is a major part of your personal brand, because it helps you gain a following in your space and shows people what you care about. You can tell a lot about a person by what they post and how they portray themselves. Or you can drive traffic to your online social content.
- Include a call to action (and update it regularly). The best email signature CTAs are simple, up-to-date, non-pushy, and in line with your email style, making them appear more like post-script, and less like a sales pitch. They can link to a specific landing page for an event or product or to a video or to whatever you’d like to promote.
- Make links trackable. This tells you if anyone is clicking on your CTAs and social icons, or if you should change them.
- Include an international prefix in your contact number. If you work with people around the world, don’t forget the prefix for your country’s code when you list your contact phone number.
- Make your design mobile-friendly. The more people who read email on mobile devices (three times more often than non-mobile users), the more you’ll want to keep mobile users top-of-mind when you’re writing emails—including your email signature. That’s why you make everything “thumbable.” According to Fast Company, “The thumb is the new mouse. If the recipient can’t easily put their thumb on your link, your email will get deleted.” And, pay attention to the font. “Use san serif font with a point size of 11 to 14. Usability always takes precedence over design.”
- Avoid making it into a laundry list. When you design your email signature for the first time, you may be tempted to list every possible way someone could contact you. However, providing an overwhelming amount of information is one of the most common rookie mistakes. When you share too much, you confuse people and make reaching out more difficult, leaving the other person to wonder how you’d actually prefer to be contacted. So, pick the top two to three best means for getting in touch (i.e., office phone, cell number and email address).
It only takes minutes to create a new, professional email signature
Simply sign into your email account and open a new email message. Then, find the signature setting, enter your personal information, format your information, add links, add any images (photos or logos), and save your new email signature. That’s it!
If you use an iPhone, iPad, you can also enhance your signature with rich HTML formatting. You can use any app that can create rich HTML text, but probably the easiest way to do this is to use the HTML rich text signature from the email app on your Mac or Windows PC.
What are you waiting for? Start creating your own email signature right now.