No matter how many phone calls and text messages we send, as business owners we tend to send and respond to emails more frequently than ever. Even in 2012, email continues to be the most preferred way of communication. Unlike social media, an email is not transient and teh recipient will certainly open it and read it. This alone makes customizing your email to promote yourself or your business more important. This brings us to the topic of optimizing email signatures, which most business owners, entrepreneurs and even employees find difficult to do so.
Why Is An Email Signature Important?
An email signature allows the recipient to know what your brand is, where you can be reached and how important you possible are. Before we discuss how best we can customize our email signatures and optimize them, we must understand what should be included in an email signature.
What an Email Signature Should Consist of
An email signature must contain the sender’s complete name, contact details, social media details and business information. Most importantly, an email signature should not have a lengthy tail and must contain as little information as possible. The lengthier the email signature is, the more likely you will not be taken seriously. It is just not professional to provide 3 telephone numbers and confuse the email reader when only one can do the job. Likewise, there is no point in including unnecessary details that serve the purpose of boosting your ego and vanity but will likely turn off the email recipient. When it comes to the content of email signatures, the most basic information is what is required.
Email Signature Styles
Apart from the actual content, the way that content is presented, the unique style in which it is presented is also very important. For instance, if you run a start-up that is design oriented, you would want your email signature to be customized accordingly. If you run startup that handles accounts, audits or programming, you will need to use an email signature that reflects trust and reliability than creativity. The key is to identify where your business or organization belongs in a spectrum and design your email signature accordingly.
Optimizing Email Signatures at Creative Organizations
Creative organizations that handle web designing, typography, fashion, art or performance should make sure that their email signatures are optimized to express their uniqueness, style and non-conformity. In fact, a creative startup’s design ethos should be reflected in the email signature. You could get a typographic professional to design a custom font that looks very professional or you can choose to include a quote that expresses your company’s ethics. You might want to include a link to your Behance, Pinterest or Tumblr account along with your usual social media links.
Optimizing Email Signatures at Professional Organizations
Business and professional organizations that offer confidential services like auditing, legal services and counseling must make sure that there is no distraction allowed in the email signature. The font must be Calibri, Helvetica, Ariel or Times New Roman so that a sense of comfort and trust is created. Fonts can have subliminal effect on the reader and it is very important to choose the one that they can identify with. Bottom-line is, keep the information as short as possible and present it in a non-intrusive manner.
Optimizing Email Signatures at Social Organizations
Social organizations and startups can give themselves more freedom and choose to present information in their email signatures the way they want to. They can be more personal and present information in a less stiff upper-lipped manner. Nonetheless, the information must be as little as possible, and must be presented in a manner that is not only professional but also useful to your business and to the recipient.
Things to Remember
It is important to make sure that your email signature is not more than 3 lines, At most, you can have a 4th line if you think that it is impossible to avoid. It is also important not to use strange fonts, colors and symbols. Even if you are a creative organization and want to use a unique font, ask the typography designer to create a very professional and classic font. Logos can be avoided and complete URLs can be written instead of hyper linking. Hyperlinks are sometimes thought of as spam. Mailing address is not very relevant in an email and thus sticking to digital contact information would suffice.
A Few Email Signature Optimization Tools
Some of the tools that help in optimizing emails are Wise Stamp, which helps to being your online personality to life. It allows you to include your social media activity within your email but we recommend not doing so. Email Signature Pro is an iPhone app that lets you add a photo, text, footnote and social media information. Sig Buzz is a free service that offers several templates to choose from. There are no hard and fast rules but the best approach is to be minimalist, simple and professional.