Optimizing an Email Signature

Modern email client

An Email signature is your digital business card, and can be another tool in your strategic marketing toolbox when used effectively. After all, the average office worker sends or receives more than 121 emails daily. And each email sent is an extension of the company brand—eye-tracking studies have found a branded signature and banner are what receive the most engagement. Here’s how and why you should optimize your Email signature.

Why is Your Email Signature Important?

Often, your Email signature is a first impression in today’s virtual business world. In fact, your Email signature should be thought of as prized real estate. It's an easy way to market yourself and your business, giving visibility to both your personal brand and your organization. It is a powerful, low-cost way to extend your brand reach and visibility every single day. Yet as a marketing and digital communications firm, we often find Email signatures to be a missed opportunity. If you are in corporate marketing, developing and executing an Email signature across your company is indeed a worthy project.

What does a great Email signature look like?

An Email signature should be professional, easy to decipher and with a clean appearance. When done right, it provides another avenue to consistently extend the look and feel of an organization while furthering credibility and trust for an individual. The Email signature should follow brand standards or build upon a logo and website presence.

What should be included in an Email signature?

What to include in an email signature

  1. Your Name—has the most emphasis
  2. Logo—color should be minimal and build off your logo or brand
  3. Font—use the logo font when possible. Otherwise, select a common sans-serif font like Arial or Helvetica so it's compatible and legible across all digital platforms. The recommended font size is 11 to 13.
  4. Contact Information—prioritize supporting contact information
  5. Phone Numbers—office and cell, include international prefixes if you work outside the U.S.
  6. Dividers—use space dividers or glyph dividers (vertical) to break up information
  7. Social Icons—icons are neat looking, save space and are recognized by recipients; linking to either corporate or individual social profiles makes getting in touch easy
  8. Strategic Partnerships or Certifications—easy and subtle way to remind customers and prospects about your expertise; makes for a quick read instead of adding a line to every email
  9. Meeting Scheduler—save everyone countless emails and let your customers and prospects book time at their convenience—this post lists several apps, and here's another option from Cogsworth.

In general, there is no need to include your Email address in the Email signature—it’s redundant as a recipient can just hit "reply."

You also may want to consider including a headshot.

In some industries your signature must comply with the law and include disclaimers for regulatory, legal or transnational trade requirements.

What should be considered in the design of the Email Signature?

Email signature design considerations

  1. Specify Height and Width Attributes—Without specifying height and width, your elements will be resized by the recipient’s Email program causing it to look incorrect. It is also important to set a width for the entire signature—we recommend not to exceed 300px.
  2. Contact Details Proportionate to Logo—As a general rule of thumb, contact details should not go beyond the size of the logo.
  3. HTML Programming—Make HTML programming as simple as possible. Your signature should look great in a modern email client and it should hold together in older or less sophisticated email programs, also—we’ve found tables to be the most compatible container across platforms. This will likely involve an “expert” to code your Email signature; it’s a small investment with a big return.
  4. Mobile Friendly Design—Given 41% of emails are opened on mobile, ensure scale is good, text is readable and the live area to tap is large enough for fingers (we suggest 50 pixels vertical).
  5. Testing—Test it on various browser platforms and devices before finalizing to ensure optimization.
Take Advantage of Updating Your Signature

When warranted, include a Call To Action (CTA) with the signature that will advocate your business. The CTA may feature:

  • A milestone, such as a company anniversary
  • An award
  • A new product launch
  • New marketing materials (website launch, a timely eBook or a new video)
How to Execute an Email Signature

There are many email generation services and software available that can  be used to create an optimized email signature, such as HubSpot or WiseStampIt’s best if Marketing controls, develops and manages the Email signature, with IT helping to distribute the optimized signature to employees. Remember to have IT employ the signature to employee phones or tablets so the signature is delivered consistently, regardless of the device used.

Tap into the potential of optimized Email signature. It’s a valuable way to standardize your corporate visual identity, intentionally extend the professionalism of your staff and even promote your firm’s latest and greatest offerings.

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