The days of having a strong handshake and a matching pantsuit to make a great first impression are over. Research done by the Missouri University of Science and Technology shows that it takes only two tenths of a second for a person to develop an opinion of your brand based on your website, and just 2.6 seconds to reinforce that first impression. What does that mean for you and your business? It means that most of your first impressions are created online. How does you make sure that you are giving accurate impressions online? One way is to have a killer email signature! This is so important that we’ve actually written about this before. Follow our guides to create a personal, professional email signature that will put your best foot- err, email- forward.
Is it really necessary to have an email signature? Yes, it is. Email signatures are like electronic business cards. They embody you and your brand, and they give all of the information that a potential client would need to contact you. Ocreative gives six reasons as to why email signatures are important:
A put-together email signature shows that you are professional, established, and trustworthy. Just like having a professional website show legitimacy, so does a great signature. You want your signature to be slick, eye-catching, and clean. As the saying goes, less is more, and that is true when it comes to email signatures. Don’t overdo or overcompensate. Remember, this is your online first impression. Show that the client can trust you by building a professional online presence through your signature.
Email signatures help build and reinforce a strong, cohesive brand. When styling, try to tie in common themes and colors found on your website. It’s a fantastic idea to implement the same template for every person in your company. Consider the fact that the average employee sends 38 emails a day to customers, prospects, investors, and partners. Even if your team only has 5 people on it, that’s almost 200 emails a day. 200 chances to reinforce your company, image, and brand.
This goes hand-in-hand with branding. Email signatures reinforce your brand message, especially everyone on your team has the same format. Is there a better way to remind people of your business than by every employee signing off with the same signature that includes your company logo and website?
We touched on this before. Signatures are like digital business cards - they connect you with customers and encourage open lines of communication! That’s why it’s imperative to have the right information in your signature it might be your client’s go-to contact info source!
Email signatures are great because they really make a personal connection. Pictures and logos are the perfect way to put a face to the name, or to reinforce your company’s image.
Think about who you’re emailing. Are they a potential client? Maybe link to your product (or service) page, or a relevant blog post. Are you corresponding with a business partner? Perhaps linking to your portfolio would be more effective. Tailor links in your signature to who you’re communicating with.
We’ve established that email signatures are important. They are your digital first impression, your electronic business card. They reinforce your brand and give your correspondance an even more personal touch. Now, let’s dissect different aspects of the perfect email signature.
We’ve spent so much time going over how great email signatures are that it might be tempting to jump right in and put all of your information out there so that people will be able to reach you in any way, shape, or form. However, signatures are best when they are short and sweet. You have quite a bit of leeway as far as styling goes, but there are a few non-negotiables that must be included, no matter what your personal style is. These include your name, title, company (at least a website link, if not a street address, fall under this umbrella), and phone number. You can add in other information when applicable, of course.
Now that you have the basic information, it’s time to put your personal spin on it. Adding a picture or logo will make you stand out from the crowd and will put a face to your name (or, in the case of a logo, to your business’). Color shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Be creative with your use of whitespace, and make sure to bold any information that you want them to remember.
You’ve added all of your contact information, and made it look pretty with a picture and color. Now it’s time to add any extras that you want. Additional information can include your, or your company’s, social media handles. This can be done by adding icons or simply @YourName (no matter the style you choose, make sure they link directly to your accounts!). You can also take the opportunity to promote content, whether you have a new blog post or a great e-book. Another option is adding in a call to action. Encourage your correspondent to read your blog, take your survey, or go to an upcoming event.
54% of emails are opened on a mobile device. Keep this in mind when you are designing your signature because you will want yours to be easy to read on an iPhone. More and more of our online marketing materials need to be mobile friendly, and email signatures are no different!
There are a few things that you want to avoid when it comes to crafting your perfect signature.
One thing to avoid is putting your email in your signature. You might consider it an essential part of your contact information, but here’s the thing: if you’re emailing them, they already have your email address. Slate gives this analogy: imagine putting two return addresses on an envelope. Or, introducing yourself to someone.
“Mary, this is Kevin.”
“Hi Mary, my name is Kevin.”
When you put your email in your signature it’s redundant and unnecessary. You only have so much space, don’t waste it. Which brings us to the next no-no…
Don’t overdo it by putting too much information, videos, quotes or gifs. We’ve all seen these email signatures, and they’re total overload. Not only will many email services not play gifs or video, but no one wants to pick through useless information or inspiration quotes just to find your phone number. The perfect email signature should be between 3-5 lines of text. Remember, a little goes a long way!
If you’re adding an individual signature for yourself, it is easy to do through Gmail or Outlook. However, if you are looking to create a corporate, company-wide design and format (as we suggest you do), it can be helpful to use a third-party program such as WiseStamp or Xinx. With WiseStamp, you can create a professional email signature that is supported by all mail platforms and available for all employees. It makes managing your company signatures very easy. You can also measure the effectiveness of your signature directly through WiseStamp (although this can also be done through Google Analytics as we explain below).
There are also a lot of resources that help with the design of email signatures. Hubspot and NEWOLDSTAMP both have great signature generators that you can then add to Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and more! It makes adding images, linking to social media accounts, and customizing design elements very easy.
Your email signature can be used as an effective sales or marketing tool. If crafted correctly, your signature can turn prospects into clients. Exlaimer outlines three ways that you can use your email signature as an alternative sales tool.
We mentioned before how email signatures present the opportunity to add a call-to-action. This is big, because it’s often times very difficult to get your marketing material into the hands of potential (and current) clients. With email signatures you’re able to customize your marketing message and craft it to influence whoever you’re corresponding with!
Marketing campaigns are only as successful as their results. That’s why it’s imperative to have systems in place to measure and analyze data in order to figure out what drives traffic and, ultimately, revenue. You can have multiple prospects, but if you don’t know exactly what people are clicking on and what is bringing in your sales, then it isn’t much help to you. Use this Campaign URL Builder in Google Analytics to track your links, clicks, and engagement. When the campaign is over you’re able to analyze the results by logging into your account and going to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns.
Again, this was mentioned before, but that’s just how important it is. Every email sent by a person in a company reflect the brand, build recognition, and give credibility. As the same article by Exclaimer says, “Using a corporate email signature as a sales tool marries everyday emails with interesting marketing content to produce qualified revenue opportunities. Instead of spending lots on other marketing channels, you can turn the humble email signature into a low-cost high-volume tool that is guaranteed to reach thousands of people a day.”
We went over a lot of different things in this article. Why email signatures are important, what the information perfect signature has (and what it doesn’t), how to add a signature to not only your email but to messages company-wide, and how email signatures can benefit your business! Let’s review and go over some key points.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t overlook or misuse this great business tool. Go create your corporate signature and enjoy the opportunities it presents!