6 TIPS FOR CREATING A GREAT EMAIL SIGNATURE

  • By Luke Stephenson
Luke Stephenson
According to statistics from radicati, the average office worker sends 40 emails per day.  If that's true, our agency could be sending in excess of 1000 emails per day, - a figure that is hard for marketers to ignore! Knowing this, we took the opportunity to revisit the design of our email signatures and search for ways to better utilise all of that marketing potential.  

Before the re-branding took place, this is what my email signature looked like…

Email Sig Old
I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a pretty uninspiring way to end an email. It’s certainly not the end of the world if this is what your email signature looks like, but it’s probably not doing you too many favours. So after performing some detailed research, and talking to our UX design experts, we came up with this:


Email Sig New

There are a number of subtle changes which make the second email signature a lot more powerful than the first - Allow me to talk you through them:

1 – Small details matter

Let’s start with the basics. At a minimum your email signature will need to include the following:

Your name – My signature includes the words “Kind regards, Luke Stephenson”. I find it saves a lot of time to add it as part of my signature, since it’s the way that I would sign off on any and every email. If you do the same, I recommend you use the same font as the body text. Appearances are deceptive!

Your job title – customers like to know who they are dealing with.

Telephone – Your direct dial where possible, and your country code (+44) is especially important if you sell internationally. 

Email Address – if they’ve got your email in their inbox, the chances are they already have access to your email address, but it’s always a good thing to include it there in case documents are printed or you've been copied in to an email and your email client hasn't pulled your details through.

Address – This is especially helpful if you have a physical retail store or office. In our case we have 3 separate offices, so it’s handy to have to save clients turning up at our London office when I’m based in Reading.

Website address – This doesn’t have to be in the form of a hyperlink (ours is hidden in the company logo)!

2 - Keep it simple

This might seem like an annoyingly obvious tip, but after reading this post, you’ll probably be surprised at the number of overly complex designs that you come across. Ironically, the subject of simplicity is broken down into 4 subsections:

LOGO


Your email signature may not always lead to traceable conversions, but at a very minimum it will help to instil a sense of brand recognition in the recipients mind.  For that reason, your company logo must appear in your email signature.

COLOURS

The reason you’re able to recognise Cadbury’s Purple and Coca-cola’s red  is because they use it on all of their marketing material. Colour is a wonderfully powerful marketing tool, so utilise it well! Here are 3 steadfast rules on the use of colour in your email signature.
Ensure that colours are consistent with your company branding.
Use no more than 2 statement colours. Overly colourful signatures can distract your audience from the meat of the email.
Use dark text for good visibility.

HIERARCHY


Help your readers understand the importance of each element by providing some sort of visual hierarchy. Hierarchy isn’t just the vertical positioning of each element. It has a lot to do with whitespace and font styling.

Choose which element of your signature is the most important to you, and try making them stand out with a larger font size, bolded lettering or with the use of colour.

…In our case, we wanted customers to know that we are Experience Technology Experts. It was also important that our logo stood out.

3 - Add a call to action (CTA)

This isn’t the time or place to stand on a box and start shouting “two for a pound”, but if your email signature doesn’t have a CTA at the end of it, you could be wasting a good opportunity to drive traffic to where you want it.

Insert a subtle CTA below your signature. You might choose to hyperlink to your latest marketing campaign with text such as, "Sign up for our Business Breakfast". If you aren’t currently running a campaign which is applicable to everyone who might receive the email, direct them to your blog or social media profiles.

Update your call to action regularly, and think about testing one CTA against another to see which gets you the highest level of engagement.

4 - Track everything

This tip is for the data junkies out there. Did you know you could track your signature link clicks? It’s a great way to gauge the effectiveness of the CTAs and social links you’ve put into your emails! If you’d like to set up tracking in google analytics, you can follow these instructions on the Kissmetrics website.

…You can also achieve this through Sitecore (if you have it), but we’ll cover that in another post. 

5 – Be more sociable

If you aren’t already using your social links as a Call to Action, you need to make sure they’re included separately. Social links are typically displayed underneath your direct contact information. They provide a secondary method for customers to get in touch, and they’re a great way of driving traffic to your blog content.

However, if you’re not updating your social profiles with fresh and relevant content on a regular basis it’s probably a better idea not to include them at all, but you really should be….

6 – Make it client / device friendly

According to Litmus, 56% of opened emails were opened on mobile devices in April 2016, marking a significant rise on the previous year. Keeping your design simple will help to make your signature viewable across more device types, but however simplistic your design may seem, always test it!

What looks good on the PC could easily look terrible on mobile. Font sizes and white space could appear incorrectly, and buttons which are easy to click with a mouse may not be so accessible with the touch of a finger.

It’s also important to check how it looks across different email clients – Gmail won’t necessarily look the same as outlook. Outlook wont display background images, and a lot of email clients wont load images by default.

Other considerations

USE TABLES

Take the pain out of positioning and layouts through the use of tabular design. Using a table will ensure that the individual items appear in the correct order …at least that’s what you’d hope anyway!

IMAGES

Some people like to include their head shot as part of their signature. Personally, I think that adds a nice touch because it makes the email more personable, but it's not an "absolute must" in my opinion. If you are gong to include images, Jpegs and Gifs should be chosen over PNGs – and it’s important to remember to add the ‘-nosend-’ tag on all images, so that images appear as part of the email (and don’t end up as pesky attachments).

PLAIN TEXT VS. HTML

If you’re using your signature in a plain text email (rather than a HTML) it won’t look the same. Plain Text does not support any type of formatting and image links will be converted to plain text links with the typical blue highlight and underlining. We recommend that you create a separate plain text signature if you ever want/need to send one!

LEGAL

It's worth noting that we also include a disclaimer underneath our signature but we decided not to include it here. We advise that you speak to your legal department to determine exactly what you do and don't need legally. Just remember to keep that signature as lean as possible! 

MISC

There are a number of other methods which can be used to spruce up your email signature. For example you might choose to give your recipients the opportunity to access your calendar (through a service like Calendly and  YouCanBook.me). Like all things in marketing it’s not an exact science. It’s worth trailing something new every now and then, but this list of guidelines should help to make things easier for you.
 
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