20 Tips for Creating an Effective Email Signature

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This article was written in 2009 and remains one of our most popular posts. If you’re keen to learn more on this subject, you may find this recent post on creating an email signature of great interest.
Yesterday, I identified the four common personality types of poor email signatures. While much of the post was light-hearted, an effective email signature is essential. It can be challenging to the recipient of a message with a very long or overly formatted signature to find your contact information. Not to mention a poor signature can hurt your professional reputation, add unnecessary bulk, and be a distraction from the content in your message. There are many ways you can format your email signature, and while one may not be perfect in all situations, there are some universal guidelines that can help you create a signature that is professional, easy to digest and informative.

Email Signature Tips

1. Keep it as short as you can while providing all of the information you deem most important (four lines is the accepted standard). 2. Condense information into fewer lines by using pipes (|) or colons (::) to separate the text. 3. Remember that simple plain text is best; skip colors, special fonts and graphics. 4. Use the accepted signature delimiter (– ) to help your signature get recognized as such by email clients. 5. Be careful with HTML formatting because it may not appear how you want it to for everyone. 6. Test your signature with as many email clients as you can, especially if you use HTML. 7. Optimize your logo or other graphics, upload the files to your server, and use an absolute URL. 8. Consider using an email signature service if you have specific formatting needs or want to include graphics and other design elements. Here are a few to check out: 9. Provide written out URLs instead of using hyperlinks in your email to ensure the link will go through in the sent message. 10. Avoid including multiple phone numbers and email addresses. Pick your contact preference and get rid of the rest. 11. Only include IM details and Skype account information if you want to be contacted that way by anyone who sees your message. 12. Skip your mailing address — not every recipient wants or should have access to that information. 13. Include links to your most important social media profiles, only if they are appropriate. 14. Include your email address. You can’t rely on various email clients to include header information in replies and forwards. 15. Create different versions, both in length and content and know when to use each version (i.e. use a shorter version on replies). 16. Make sure you update your signature on your mobile device if you frequently use it to send messages. Here are some quick how-to’s on popular devices: 17. Don’t attach your vCard to your messages. Not everyone uses them and even those that do don’t need to receive them repeatedly. 18. Reconsider including a quote; you never know when you might offend someone or give the wrong impression. 19. Avoid including a legal disclaimer unless required to do so. 20. Avoid including a virus-checked message at the bottom of every email. Examples of Effective Plain Text Email Signatures Default version:
— John Smith President | Top Web Design USA 555-555-5555 | john@johnsmith.com | http://www.websiteurl.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/twittername | LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/linkedinname Replies: — John Smith 555-555-5555 http://www.websiteurl.com Forums or Discussion Lists: — John Smith http://www.websiteurl.com If you enjoyed reading this post, you’ll love Learnable; the place to learn fresh skills and techniques from the masters. Members get instant access to all of SitePoint’s ebooks and interactive online courses, like Layout Building Techniques with HTML and CSS. Comments on this article are closed. Have a question about email signatures? Why not ask it on our forums?

Frequently Asked Questions about Creating an Effective Email Signature

What are the key elements to include in a professional email signature?

A professional email signature should include your full name, job title, company name, and contact information such as your phone number, email address, and company website. You can also include your company logo or your professional headshot for a more personalized touch. Social media icons linking to your professional profiles can also be added, but remember to only include those that are relevant to your profession.

How can I make my email signature visually appealing?

To make your email signature visually appealing, consider using a simple and clean design. Use a font that’s easy to read and colors that align with your brand. You can also include your company logo or a professional headshot. However, avoid using too many different colors or fonts as it can make your signature look cluttered and unprofessional.

Should I include a disclaimer in my email signature?

Including a disclaimer in your email signature can be beneficial, especially for businesses. It can help protect your company from legal issues by stating that the email is confidential and intended only for the recipient. However, the disclaimer should be concise and not take up too much space in your signature.

Can I include a call-to-action in my email signature?

Yes, including a call-to-action (CTA) in your email signature can be a great way to promote your business or a specific product or service. The CTA could be a link to your latest blog post, a new product, or an upcoming event. However, make sure the CTA is relevant and not overly promotional.

How can I add a digital signature to my email?

A digital signature can be added to your email by using a digital signature service. These services provide a unique digital ID that can be used to sign emails and documents. This not only verifies your identity but also ensures the integrity of the email content.

Is it necessary to include social media links in my email signature?

Including social media links in your email signature can be beneficial, especially if you’re active on those platforms and they’re relevant to your profession. It provides an additional way for recipients to connect with you. However, it’s important to only include the social media platforms that you use professionally.

How often should I update my email signature?

It’s recommended to update your email signature whenever there are changes to your professional information, such as a new job title or contact information. Additionally, if you’re using a call-to-action in your signature, it should be updated regularly to promote your latest content or offers.

Can I use different email signatures for different situations?

Yes, you can create different email signatures for different situations. For example, you might have a more formal signature for emails to clients and a more casual one for internal communication. Most email clients allow you to save multiple signatures and choose the appropriate one when composing an email.

Should I include my email address in my email signature?

Including your email address in your email signature can seem redundant, but it can be helpful in certain situations. For example, if the recipient prints the email or saves it as a PDF, having your email address in the signature ensures that your contact information is preserved.

Is it okay to include a quote or personal motto in my email signature?

Including a quote or personal motto in your email signature can add a personal touch and reflect your values or personality. However, it’s important to choose a quote or motto that is professional and appropriate for a business setting.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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