We don’t like to think that we judge by appearances, but if you were to receive an email with a hot mess of an email signature at the bottom (or none at all), what would your impression be of the company or individual that sent it? Just as we spend time and money perfecting other aspects of our corporate branding, we should also pay attention to the branding we send back and forth with every email. Your signature should represent the ethos of your company, as well as demonstrating your expertise and credibility – promoting your brand in the best possible light. And they don’t have to be complicated, in fact, the simpler the better.
Email is about relationship building – so be real
Step 1: make your email signature personal. That doesn’t mean telling the recipient how you’re feeling today or what star sign you are. But it does mean making the most of your personal brand, which you can do by including links to your social media profiles – certainly LinkedIn and possibly one or two others, depending on where you’re the most active. Two to four social profiles is plenty – any more than that is overkill.
If you’re a writer or thought leader, consider including a link to a blog post you’re particularly proud of that demonstrates your expertise in a particular area. You may wish to include a call-to-action of some kind that invites the recipient to visit your blog, schedule a demo, or download an ebook. Show them the options they didn’t realize they had. If it’s getting busy, focus on one thing – an overstuffed email signature is off putting.
Finally, be sure to include an image of yourself. People remember visuals better than text, and color photos containing people are shown to be the most memorable of all. Be real and put a face to the name, as in the examples below:
Social proof and credentials
Your email signature is essentially free advertising space. Including social proof in your signature is a useful way of demonstrating to potential new clients how pleased others have been with your services. Including an ‘as featured in’ blurb flaunting big publications you’ve been published in, or mentions of any awards you’ve received, helps to build trust and prove that you’re the real deal.
Alternatively, you may wish to include case studies, testimonials, or snippets of any positive press you’ve received. Your email signature is the ideal place to feature anything important you have going on that you want to draw attention to – you could link to your latest music video or recent photos from your Instagram feed, for example. See how this might look below.
Email signatures can become a particularly valuable marketing tool during the holidays. You can use your signature to communicate timely or seasonal messages – if you have a special offer or event coming up, for example. You can also take this opportunity to incorporate seasonal branding into the design, such as festive social buttons.
Create a standard seasonal signature template and distribute it among your team to ensure a cohesive brand front, and if you include promotional banners in your signature, be sure to give them a seasonal twist. If you have holiday-specific content being published on your blog, showcase this in your email signature – this is the time to encourage people to read it.
Depending on the size of your seasonal email signature, consider having a scaled-down version that clients receive when you’re replying to an email thread, otherwise it’ll get messy. Use the full signature for opening conversations only. The other important thing to remember is to switch it back to your standard signature as soon as the holidays are over.
Check out these seasonal signature examples for inspiration.
Email signature UX
When it comes to email signature UX, the main thing is to be readable and accessible. We’ve all seen instances of people treating their email signatures like a life story, stuffed full of links, yards of contact details and inspirational quotes. Remember, it’s quality not quantity. Your signature should showcase your best assets and get to the point quickly.
This also applies to color. Using too many colors can swiftly tip the balance between jazzy and overwhelming. If you have a branded color palette, consider sampling one or two (maximum) colors from here to maintain consistency. Alternatively, if you’re sending an email blast, take inspiration from your choice of email template and adopt a complementary color scheme.
Likewise with your choice of font, the same principle applies. Too many fonts will render your signature difficult to read, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Think clarity, simplicity, and minimalism.
Finally, consider the information hierarchy. Use of font weight, scale and color will naturally draw the eye to certain elements first, so approach this in a logical way that brings harmony to the overall design. What do you want recipients to read first?
In the example below, the eye is strongly drawn to the ‘latest guitar show’ section at the bottom because it’s accompanied by an image, and to the name Dillon Geoffrey because it’s large, bold, and brightly colored.
Including a disclaimer in your email correspondence is the law in some countries, including North America and Europe. This mostly applies to registered limited companies, who must provide a company registration number, registered address, and VAT number. To avoid having too many lines of text at the end of every email, some choose to include just a few details that link out to more information.
This can be a sensible approach, because long disclaimers can quickly clutter an email chain and make it difficult to read the actual message. It’s worth putting your disclaimer at the bottom of your email signature after any branding or marketing messages. After all, though you may have to include it, you don’t necessarily want to draw attention to it. They don’t have to append every email – the first in a thread will suffice.
Feel ready to start creating your own branded email signature? You’ll find some great examples of branded email signatures here. Simply remember these key takeaways:
- Make it personal
- Use social proof to your advantage
- Make the most of seasonal upgrades
- Be readable and accessible
- Ensure you’re legally compliant
Ready to implement these steps into your email signature? You can create yours for free in under 15 minutes with the WiseStamp email signature generator.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to supporting startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest entrepreneurial news and side hustle tips. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.