It may seem like a small, obvious step in anyone’s set of professional responsibilities, but to create the best email signature for your company’s needs, you have to be smart. With everyone plugged into every social channel available, running two blogs, and building personal consulting company for their soft landing into retirement, there’s a lot of information that, theoretically, could be included in an email signature. Add to that the requisite text that you need to adequately describe where you work, what you do, and how to contact you, and email signatures turn into deeply confused paragraphs quickly.
But like with most other things, if you follow conventions and think about audience experiences, you’ll be just fine. Just ask questions like this, and you’ll find yourself in pretty good shape: How will this display on mobile? Is my contact information easily discoverable? Is it too busy?
In asking these kinds of questions, best-practices will emerge to help guide you. These tips will help you create the best email signature for your company’s needs.
How to create the best email signature for your company’s needs
- Do not use an image as an email signature: While, in the past, this may have been appropriate, images-as-email-signatures create a unique series of problems: 1) they don’t tend to display on every device (leaving someone who’d love to work with you without contact info) and 2) they tend to bloat, making the email appear less professional and, sometimes, rendering it unreadable.
- Unless you have a brick-and-mortar store, you don’t need a physical address: People so often think that it’s important to list every single way to contact them, and it really isn’t. Unless you sell something at a physical location, your contacts aren’t going to care, and the physical address becomes a wasted piece of very precious real-estate.
- List, at most, the 2 best ways to contact you: Typically, two pieces of contact info are enough: email and phone number. Any more than that and you risk overwhelming your potential contact.
- Ditch (some of) the social media links: As much as you and I might enjoy it, linking to every single one of the social channels you leverage (including that cat Tumblr) can take the focus from you. Instead, think about which two you (or your company) takes the most pride in, the one that’s most on-brand and beneficial to your image.
- Don’t make it awkward for your reader: Other posts appear to take a strong position on expressing yourself in your sign-off, in your coloring, etc. While some creativity is welcome, if you say something like “Have a sparklicious day” instead of “Sincerely” or the immensely popular “Cheers”, it’s going to be awkward for some of your respondents. I’m all for creativity in the workplace, but there’s a line. Think about yourself in relation to your company, your reader, and find a happy medium between the crazy, exuberant person you know yourself to be and your work-self.
- Be on Brand: To some degree, an email signature is a marketing opportunity. There’s space for both design (font color and style) and content (a little tagline either about your brand or your professional position within the company), and you have the ability to link out to social channels. For a corporate email signature, make sure your choices are in line with your brand. Pick appropriate color schemes and messaging. Remember that, no matter where you see yourself in the future, your job is currently with X company, and your signature should be to their benefit.
So, see, it’s not so hard. If you start with the basics—name, title, 2 most useful means of contact, a short blurb, and two links to social, you’ll be in good shape. Just, as I said, think of your reader and your company, and please please don’t build your signature as an image.