In this post we’re going to walk through the essential yet often neglected piece of digital marketing that is your email signature, and how you can maximize this opportunity to connect and communicate with your audience.
In my experience as both an in-house graphic designer and outside marketing consultant for a many companies varying in size and in industry, I have been tasked with creating email signatures for individuals, teams, and organizations.
Your email signature should provide readers with relevant information that is helpful to them, match your visual brand, and be used consistently across your communications and throughout your organization. This consistent and uniform presentation of your company’s information and brand elements send signals of thoughtfulness, trust, and reliability.
An email signature can be as basic as a few lines of succinct contact information or as a detailed combination of text, links, images, tag lines, and disclaimers. You can regularly and spontaneously customize your email signature with a mini-advertisement carrying an important message to every external contact you communicate with. This can be a subtle and dependable way to invite everyone you email to hear a special, directed, timely, relevant message.
Here are important things to remember when creating your branded email signature.
What information should I include?
Keep it simple and use thoughtful contact information.
- Include information that your contacts will need, and leave out irrelevant details that would be better communicated over a phone call, within the body of an email, or on your website
- Don’t sure too many fonts or colors – stick to 1-2 or 3 maximum of each
- Include lengthy disclaimers if required, but go easy on the catchy slogans
Compact, simplified information
Proofread and be consistent.
Pay close attention to capitalization, number formatting, degree and salutation styling, etc. especially within an organization.
Create hierarchy of information.
Use alignment, spacing, and dividers to create hierarchy and organization to help direct the reader to important information, and minimize or subdue less important info.
Icons properly spaced, simple colors, dividers, headshot for a personal touch
What about including logos, images, icons, and other graphics?
For images or graphics, consider using your logo, headshot, handwritten or stylized signature.
Keep it simple; you don’t want to overwhelm or confuse the viewer, and make sure that anything you include is visible or legible on mobile.
Use Live Text As Much as Possible.
Make sure important words that appear in graphics also appear in live text, in the event that the graphic does not come through, properly load, or must be activated by the user. And definitely refrain from creating a graphic that contains all of your text.
Don’t create an image containing all of your texts, links, and graphics.
Include social media links/icons.
If you have a strong and consistent online presence, include your most powerful social media icons. Don’t use too many (more than 2-3) unless you consistently provide value on each of those platforms and you think a direct line to those channels would be truly beneficial to those you email.
If you must include more social icons, try to simplify your email signature by removing other info that may be unnecessary or strike balance by using fewer colors, fonts, or graphics.
Use a billboard graphic to highlight something special or increase brand awareness.
- Have a general graphic for regular times
- Highlight special occasion, upcoming events, products to promote
General branded banner for everyday use
Special event banner used for a set amount of time
What about the techy stuff?
Make sure your email signature scales well for mobile.
Keep the graphics simple and ensure clickable icons are spaced apart enough that they are accessible. “Fat fingers” are a real thing and small tech annoyances like these won’t go unnoticed.
Use links and test, test, test.
Send yourself test emails to make sure that images load and that all links are working properly.
How to edit in your email client – for Gmail, Apple Mail, & Microsoft Outlook.
- Open Gmail.
- At the top right, click Settings. See all settings.
- Under “General,” scroll to “Signature” and click the signature you want to edit.
- Use the text box to make your changes. To change the signature name, click Edit.
- At the bottom, click Save Changes.
- In the Mail app on your Mac, choose Mail > Preferences, then click Signatures.
- In the left column, select the email account where you want to use the signature.
If “All Signatures” is selected when you create a signature, you’ll need to drag the new signature to an email account before you can use it.
- Click the Add (+) button below the middle column.
- In the middle column, type a name for the signature. The name appears in the Signature pop-up menu when you write a message.
- In the right column (the preview), create your signature.You can use the Edit or Format menus in Mail to change the font or layout, turn text into links, or check spelling. To add an image, drag it into the preview area.
If you want your signature to appear after the original text of messages you reply to or forward, deselect the “Place signature above quoted text” checkbox.
- Click File > Options > Mail > Signatures.
- Click the signature you want to edit, and then make your changes in the Edit signature box.
- When you’re done, select Save > OK.
Web App Version:
- On the nav bar, choose Settings > Options.
- Under Options, choose Settings > Mail.
- Under Email signature, in the text box, type the signature you want to use. Use the formatting mini toolbar to change the appearance of the signature.
- If you want your signature to display at the bottom of all outgoing items, including replies and forwards, select Automatically include my signature on messages I send. If you don’t select this option, you can manually add your signature to any message.
- Choose Save.
What if my company is ready for the next level?
Email Signature Campaign Systems & Services for Enterprise
For companies that have large staff, different departments and divisions, or in more corporate settings, it can be even more imperative to make use of a consistent email signature for cohesive brand recognition and uniform contact information throughout the organization.
Here are some companies that help mid-sized and larger businesses maximize the power of email signature with metrics-focused automated email marketing campaigns.
- Sigstr: “Sigstr’s email signature marketing platform allows you to standardize brand consistency and drive marketing ROI with every employee email sent.” – https://www.sigstr.com/
- Opensense: “Centrally manage email signatures across all devices. Works great with Office 365, G-Suite/Gmail, Salesforce, HubSpot, Outreach and more.” – https://www.opensense.com/
- Exclaimer: “Get HTML Email Signatures On All Devices. Award-Winning. Easy-To-Use. Protect Your Brand. For Office 365, G Suite & Exchange. 75+ Million Users Worldwide.” – https://www.exclaimer.com/
- Templafy: “Create Perfect Business Documents and ensure 100% brand compliance with Templafy. Templafy secures a productive, on-brand, and enterprise-friendly document culture. Easy implementation.” – https://www.templafy.com/
Whether it’s comprised of just two thoughtful lines of contact information or expanded text plus a digitized signature, social media icons, and a monthly banner advertisement, your email signature is an element of your digital marketing and brand that cannot be ignored.
Without the use of an intentionally branded email signature, email recipients can become confused, feel obligated to do additional information hunting, or gloss over you and your company’s information; with it, viewers quickly find relevant information that they need, grow to recognize your brand, and pay attention to your targeted messages.
What changes are you thinking of making to your email signature?
Join the Glambeau Design School Community Facebook group where you can share your work to celebrate and get feedback, gain access to helpful resources, and connect with other learning designers and creative explorers. Consider this your special invitation. Can’t wait to see what you create!