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Capitalize on your email signature
By Kim Harrison,
Consultant, Author and Principal of www.cuttingedgepr.com
Recently I have been reviewing my business email signature block, and some thought is needed to capitalize on the impression it gives. Some email signatures look professional; others look like an after-thought.
I find it discourteous when people don’t bother to use their name to sign off an email – they just use their signature block or template, which means in effect they don’t bother signing their emails.
There are many tools and apps available, paid and free, to create personal and business email signatures. Most of the large email programs – Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, MacMail – include tools to create signature blocks.
A good looking email signature is a marketing opportunity. Keep your signature simple, and include key contact details. You may want to add links to your website, your latest blog posts, and/or recently published articles. This can drive additional traffic to your website, increase your social following, encourage revisits, and enhance your thought leadership at no cost.
Creating a professional email signature
The following tips will help you create a professional, functional email signature.
Don’t include a proliferation of details. Your name, your title, direct line, your company name and website should be sufficient in an email signature.
Tips: You don’t have to include your email address in the sig block because your receiver can already see your email address in the email. Remember that telephone numbers shown in smartphones are tappable links. Don't include any social media links – because you want people to contact you via the most direct methods – by email or telephone.
Once you've gathered and organized your data, create visual appeal by varying text alignments, fonts, point sizes, and color as you would on a paper business card. Your basic business e-signature should now be ready to use.
Avoid these mistakes:
1. Too much information!
Too much information can overwhelm or confuse readers. Just show your key information, not all forms of contact.
2. Take care when using an image as your signature
For business email signatures, images are important to represent the brand. It is worth considering email signature software to apply on all emails across the business. One example of this is www.crossware.co.nz.
3. Not designing for small devices
At least half of people read email on mobile devices, so ensure your signature will be legible on a smaller screen. And all links should be "thumbable." If the recipient can't easily put his or her thumb on your link, they may not bother to click on it. I have that problem with the contact list in my iPhone 6 – the letters of the alphabet shown on the right hand side of the “All Contacts” screen are so small I find it very difficult to accurately tap on a specific letter.
Legibility is key with small screens, so pay close attention to font selection. Because reading speed on mobiles is slower than on desktop PCs, consider using a sans serif font with a point size from 11 to 14. Usability always takes precedence over design.
4. Including irrelevant information
Of course you want to increase your blog readership or drive more traffic to your business website. Although it's a good idea to include a link to your site in your e-signature, make sure the content on that page is relevant to the person receiving the email.
If you are still confused, or if you doubt your design abilities, there are many software applications to help automate the process. Several are Email Signature Rescue, an affordable subscription service, and programs like Graffiti, for Apple OS products.
Based on an article by Len Stein
About the Author
Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website, www.cuttingedgepr.com, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.
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