How to create an email signature in 8 steps

6

Min Read

Ardith Stephanson

Electronic communication is clearly entrenched in the way we do business, and besides contract templates and scope of work templates, it's one of the most powerful tools for freelance business. We put time and energy into ensuring the content of our email communication is professional, clear and timely, among other things.

After all, the emails we send are the face of our business.

But how many of us think of the signature to our email the same way?

A professional email signature is as important as all the other components of a brand. After all, there can be hundreds of people looking at those emails every day. 

So we need to spend time and energy ensuring our signature puts forth the right image for our business as well. 

You might be wondering:

What is the right way to create a personal email signature? What are the essential elements?

We’re here to help with eight steps for creating the ideal email signature.

1. Establish goals for your signature

While this may sound like overkill for something that seems as simple as an email signature, it’s important to consider some key goals for your personal email signature.

To start, spend some time thinking about the audience for most of your emails. For instance, will they be customers, potential customers, or investors?

Once you determine that, consider the key information you will want to share with those recipients. You can’t tell them everything in a signature, so what are the most important messages you want to convey?

It could be sharing information about your latest book or e-book. Maybe you want to highlight your freelance portfolio website.

The most straightforward goal of the signature is to convey professionalism, provide a place for recipients to get your contact information, and for them to engage with your brand, through website or social media links.

Consider your goals, and keep those in mind as you peruse the remaining considerations. 

2. Don’t over-complicate it

While it may seem like a good idea to include everything about your business in the signature, it’s better to keep it simple. Three or four lines of text is sufficient.

Provide the information people really need - your name, your title (if relevant), the name of the business and a phone number. If you need to attach your electronic signature, you can use an online signature maker.

If a physical address is something that would be useful to your customers, you can include that as well. But if a customer would never need to visit your office, there’s no need to include an address.

The same is true for phone numbers. Will a customer ever need your fax number? Does the customer need an office number and a cell number?

You shouldn’t include every piece of information about your business. Choose what’s most important, and go with that.

As for additional content beyond the basic business information, read on.

3. Consider other content carefully

After that basic content, there are a few other components you can consider including:

If your website is a key facet of your business, you can include a direct link to the website. This will also allow customers to click for more information about the business, like a physical address if they really need one, or a fax number. 

If you have a product or content that showcases your expertise, provide a link with a brief explanation. For example:

  • Author, best-selling e-book "How To Write A Professional Email Signature”
  • Read my latest blog post here - but remember to keep that updated!

If your goal is to increase subscribers to a newsletter or blog posts, you can include a call to action with a button to sign up.

Once again, don’t choose all three! If one of them fits with the goals of your business and for your signature, use it. But just one.

4. Don’t include your email

Here’s the kicker:

People are reading an email from you. So they don’t need an email address. They can simply hit “reply” if they want to email you.

So don’t bother with this extraneous content.

5. Do include social media

If you’re active on social media, and this is an important part of your business, include buttons with links to your active social media profiles. 

Some social media sites may be more important to your business than others, so you can choose which are the most relevant, or include them all.

6. Think before using your logo

While it may seem like a no-brainer to include the logo for your business, that isn’t always a good idea.

The logo may take time to load, for instance, causing frustration. Depending on the realities of your receiver’s technology, the logo may appear as an attachment. 

That can end up being counter-productive to your brand, particularly if your email includes an attached document that you want the recipient to read. If you’re sending a freelance invoice, or a proposal, for instance, two attachments can complicate things.

The same is true for a photograph of yourself. If you decide to include a logo, or a photograph, don’t include both! It will make your signature too busy. 

Rather than the logo, consider using one or two colors from your logo, and replicate the font and typeface of the logo - as long as they aren’t too complex.

7. Ensure it works on mobile

Like everything you do in an electronic environment today, you have to be sure it’s compatible with mobile.

Avoid a signature that is too long, too wide, or takes too long to load. Test it on multiple mobile devices. Everyone is using a smartphone these days, including to conduct business.

8. Make it the same, every time

Now that you have your content figured out, an email signature generator will help you create a professional email signature that’s the same for every single message.

An email signature generator will ensure the design is balanced, the typeface is consistent, and white space is used effectively. Different elements of the personal email signature will be distinct, and the signature will look professional. 

Final thoughts

Every business sends hundreds, if not thousands of emails every day. They can range from auto-generated in response to a newsletter sign-up, to a personalized note to a prospective client.

As a result, the content of each email is vital to the business, and the email signature is no exception.

The tag at the end of your emails sends a message to everybody who reads your note. In fact, sometimes it can be more important than the message itself.

Our eight steps for creating the ideal email signature will ensure your business presents the best image, every time.

Ardith Stephanson
Ardith S. is a freelance writer and communications professional who has some fun with her personal blog theardizan.com

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