6 Ways to Optimize Your Email Signature

(Today’s post was guest written by Cody Barbierri, my colleague at Weber Shandwick.  Cody is Weber Cambridge’s new and talented social and digital media specialist.  Cody and I will be working together to help clients make sense of  how to integrate social and digital media into their communications and marketing.  You can follow Cody on Twitter, find him on LinkedIn and also read his blog Social Tab.  I’m also hoping he’ll agree to do more guest posts on HighTalk.)

Not this kind of signature - your virtual one.

Not many of us think all that much about an email signature. Most often, we set it up when we create an email account and then not ever really think about it again. However, an optimized email signature is essential to being successful.

Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of email signatures both good and bad. While there’s no one way to develop and use a signature, there are some universal standards that, if followed, can help you create an informative, easy to digest email signature.

1)      Condense as much as possible – While it’s great that you have a lot of different ways people can get a hold of you. It works best if you only provide the most important and get rid of the rest. Keep it short, but informative (the standard is no more than 4 lines.)

2)      Simple text is best – The use of colors, symbols and special fonts can be a signature killer. People are used to digesting simple text and when unknown characters and colors come into play, it can be confusing and take away from the context of the email.

3)      Use URLs instead of hyperlinks – There are various amounts of email formats on the web and while it’s great to give readers a one click option through a hyperlink; their email format might not support it. If this is so, your hyperlink will be inactive and could potentially be a lost contact or business.

4)      Only include social media that’s appropriate – The debate continues on the divide between personal and professional through various social media platforms. I recommend only including the URLs to appropriate platforms. If your Twitter account is used for business as another channel to connect with clients, then include it. If your Facebook account it used to connect with friends and family, then it’s probably better to leave it out. As we have limited face time, you need to keep a stern business reputation.

5)      Include your email address –Your emails will constantly be forwarded and replied to by contacts. It’s unwise to rely on them to accurately and efficiently include your email address. So, include it in your signature and don’t take the chance of being an email with no header email information.

6)      Test it! – Again, there’s no silver bullet to email signatures. I recommend testing it a few times to determine what works and looks best. First, test with some friends and family to make sure all the formatting is accurate and works. Then, when you’re comfortable, use a your regular email signature.

Think of an email signature as a first impression and reputation builder. By it being effective and efficient, you can set the standard for a business relationship.

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5 Responses to “6 Ways to Optimize Your Email Signature”

  1. Good advice. I don’t like email signatures that include a witty quote or slogan. Especially if you get tons of email from that person, and have to keep reading that silly phrase all the time.

  2. Could backfire, too, if the quote feels too preachy or if it is too political or religious.

  3. Spot on George.

    You just encouraged me to clean up my sig line a bit (though it was already pretty simple).

  4. I’ll pass on your words to Cody. He’s the one with the great advice!

  5. Awesome list. I always struggle to figure out what to include and what to leave out in a signature. I finally ended up making a few different ones depending on who I am emailing.

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