Don’t Embarrass Yourself with These Rookie Email Signature Mistakes
The first mistake people make in regard to email signatures is to not think enough about them. The second one is to think too much. The reality is that creating a “just enough info” email signature, and staying away from the land of overkill, requires more than just dashing off something in five minutes. The unavoidable reality is that the little tagline (or absence thereof) at the bottom of each email you send says a lot about you. Is it simple, professional, and informative? Excellent. Have you included a sampling of your favourite inspirational email signature quotes or maybe a song lyric from your favourite rapper? Maybe not so excellent. More on that later.
Somewhere between Flashy and Bland
When it comes to creating an email signature, it’s safer to err on the side of safety. If you’re not feeling especially creative, go for the basic three or four lines of text that include your name, title, company (with a link to a website), and phone number. Of course, you can move beyond that, but don’t make the mistake of creating a multi-hued, infinitely long piece of literature that looks like a circus playing at the bottom of the screen. If you’re wondering how to successfully tread that fine line between flashy and bland, here are some ideas.
#1. Image/Logo: In most cases, a small graphic with a splash of colour such as a logo or headshot is an excellent way to personalize your email signature. The key in that last sentence is the word “small.” Nothing flashy, oversized, or with movement. It might be hard to believe, but it’s not 1995 and your sig line is not the place for an animated GIF. Keep in mind the important design principle of blending, which is what your graphic should do.
#2. Promote New Content: Content is king. Google says it so it must be true. Actually, your email signature is a great place to include a short promo about new content you’ve produced like a blog post or eBook. Not only does it keep your signature from getting stale, but it’s a great way to position yourself as an authority in the field. A clickable banner graphic below your contact information is a great way to draw eyeballs.
#3. Taglines: Maybe you don’t have new content. That’s okay. It doesn’t make you a loser. Instead of a graphic that leads the reader to an eBook or blog post, consider placing your company’s tagline in that spot or an invitation to visit a website or attend an upcoming event. Even a piece of company-related news would be appropriate. Make it stand out with a different font or colour from the contact information. Once again, don’t make it stand out too much though – just enough to draw eyes down the page.
#4. Social Media Links: These days, building a brand often includes a handful of social media platforms. It’s actually a good thing to include them as long as they are solidly professional and tie in to your overall brand. Personal social media links are a no-no. This diminishes your brand and leaves you wide open to accidentally sharing personal stuff with clients. The bottom line is that, if you use social media in conjunction with your business, don’t be afraid to include them in your signature.
#5. No Need for Email: Maybe this seems obvious, but don’t waste valuable sig line real estate by including your email address. Seriously. They can look up at the top of the screen to find it, hover the cursor over the sender’s name, or, easier still, just hit the “reply” button. It’s fine to include your email address on a business card, but leave it off your email signature. Yes, yes. So many people do it. So many people should stop also.
#6. Sent From My iPhone: It might seem silly but Stanford researchers have concluded that leaving the default “Sent from my iPhone” line in place is a good idea. The results showed conclusively that readers are more forgiving of spelling and/or grammar errors if they know it came from an iPhone. The reasoning is solid. We’ve all spastic-thumbed our way into sending a message with mistakes. Leaving this line in could keep your credibility from taking a hit.
The Bottom Line
Let’s review best practices for an email signature. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t include personal links or every way in the world to contact you. Pick a few good ones and go with them. As far as email signature quotes, include one only with much care. A perfectly-tuned quote is a thing of beauty, but there are so many ways to go wrong. Run it by a few friends or colleagues before including it. A final thought. With more than 54 percent of all email opened on a mobile device, make sure your signature still looks good when scaled down significantly. Another reason to keep it short and sweet.