Setting Up the Right Email Signature

Email signatures are extremely important for the small business—for any business, actually. Your email signature makes it easy for you to provide your contact information to whomever you are emailing and reinforces your brand on a continuous basis.

Always Include a Signature

You should include your email signature on all emails. I mean all. That includes responses. Don’t assume that someone will scroll down to the original message to find your contact information or that they will even remember that you sent the first email. Make it easy for someone to find your contact information should they need it. If they have to search, they may just as well give up or be frustrated. You want neither of those.

Limit What You Include

Email signatures should be concise and easy to read. Recipients don‚Äö√Ñ√¥t need 20 different ways to contact you. Include your office, fax and mobile numbers. That’s sufficient for someone to reach you. If you use another communication medium a lot, say Skype or IM, you may want to include that, otherwise keep it to the basics.

You may consider adding links to your website, Twitter account, Facebook page, and LinkedIn company page. Again, if your have a stronger presence on another network it makes sense to add that. Just keep the number reasonable. Sticking to the top 2 or 3 networks that you use is best. Write out the URLs instead of using hyperlinks.

Keep It Simple

Keep your signature simple and uncluttered. That means no special fonts, icons, logos, or other extraneous information. This makes it easy to scan and find your contact information without distractions. Some email programs turn images into attachments. If someone is not anticipating an attachment, they may think it’s spam or contains a virus. There is no guarantee that the recipient’s email program will render the special font you use, so stick to standard fonts. The default font is usually fine, though you may consider a monospaced font like Courier New. It renders well in nearly all programs (it’s what I use). Keeping it simple will ensure that you email signature always displays properly.

Information should be kept to 2 or 3 lines with no more than 72 characters per a line. Seventy-two characters is the default wide of most email programs so this ensure that there will not be any funky wrapping. Use pipes ( | ), colons ( :: ) and slashes ( / ) to help condense information on one line. The first line should be your name and title, often in bold. The next line or two are for you contact information. Some countries, such as those in Europe, have requirements for what should be included in email signatures (for example, address and VAT number). A fourth line is fine under those circumstances.

An additional line may be used to call out a tagline or other special information. We add an additional line to email signatures to indicate when we may be out of the office. We also recommend that some of clients add a call to action in some instances. If used appropriately, the extra line doesn’t distract and can add value. Make sure you have a space between it and you main contact information.

What to Avoid

A few things to avoid in your email signature…

  • If at all possible, avoid HTML in your emails. It doesn’t always display properly and can make your signature a mess and difficult to read.
  • Avoid personal links, personal social networking accounts, etc. You want to keep everything strictly business.
  • Do not include quotes, cutesy icons and images, or other random and superfluous information. It’s distracting and unprofessional.
  • There is absolutely no need to include a confidentially statement (unless required by law, which is rare). This statement is meaningless and won’t read it. Besides, you should not be sending confidential information over email anyway as email is inherently not secure, so you could end up annoying your recipient and diminishing your credibility.
  • Don’t include vCards in your email signature. It may be great for the first email, but after that it just becomes annoying.

Example Email Signature

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Jason Stearns
Managing Partner
Amprewave Media, LLC

+1 206-801-6343
jason@amprewave.com

amprewave.com | twitter.com/amprewave
facebook.com/amprewave | linkedin.com/companies/amprewave

Check out our blog: http://www.amprewave.com/blog

Don’t Forget Mobile

As a reminder, if you use your iPhone or other mobile device to send emails make sure you update the email signature for that as well. I have multiple accounts and so I use a simple signature for mine that works for them all. I add a tagline that indicates it is being send from a mobile device so that people know why it is short and may have typos. Of course, pay attention to what you send before you send it to avoid any embarrassing auto-corrections.

Jason Stearns

** Written from my mobile; please excuse brevity and typos.