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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?