Email signatures: They’re everywhere and, they’ve been there since the beginning of the internet. Some are informative and discreet, others are loud and obnoxious. Here are a few tips to stay on the former, better side.
It makes a lot of sense to end your email with a few pieces of useful information. The bottom line: don’t spend too much time on them. All you need is three to four lines with the following info:
- First and last name,
- Job title and company name,
- Social media accounts and other ways to contact you (like a phone number), and
- A URL that you want to promote
For example, Scality’s “normalized” email signature looks like this:
<your full name>
Scality – < title>
<mobile> (m) | <office> (o) | firstname.lastname@example.org
http://solvedscal.wpengine.com | twitter: @scality
No default images, no html decoration. Plain and simple and that’s already enough. One could argue whether adding the email address is useful or not. My rule of thumb to decide is: If it fits, keep it; otherwise, it’s the first to go.
There are some people who also add images and that’s where things can easily get ugly. Here are a few tips.
Keep your signature short and on point
Nobody likes seeing 15 lines of useless details. Think about email threads, where your long signature gets repeated over and over.
Stick to your corporate branding guidelines
Don’t invent your own design; ask a professional to help. The marketing and brand team at Scality are available to create ad-hoc designs for special occasions. Chances are your company has similar policies.
Use one image at a time
If you want to promote an event or a specific landing page on your website, ask your graphic designer’s team to create a good-looking banner. Don’t try to doctor one yourself: email and graphics are complicated— they require specific skills and lots of testing. If you know how to make a good email banner, let the designers know; they may hire you instead!
If there are more things you want to promote, pick one! Don’t pile up banners in your email signature. Just like signature length, nobody wants to scroll down to look at an endless list of images.
Embed the image in your email
Privacy-conscious people will not load emails from external sources by default to prevent tracking. You should embed images in your emails to avoid them looking ugly to this type of recipient. If this fictitious character from the NY Times blog had three image banners below the long signature, it would look like this:
Legal disclaimers have dubious value
Unless your legal counsel tells you otherwise, don’t put legal statements at the bottom of your email. Text like the one below is most likely not enforceable.
“The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain proprietary, business-confidential and/or privileged material.
If you are not the intended recipient of this message you are hereby notified that any use, review, retransmission, dissemination, distribution, reproduction, or any action taken in reliance upon this message is prohibited. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer.”
Don’t give useless advice
All in all, you should focus on clarity and usefulness in an email signature. If you must promote something specific, keep it to one item at a time. If images are needed, stick to a single image, professionally designed. Don’t be that person with the overly-long, image-stuffed email signature; you’re better than that.