When you're a small business, you live by the mantra that EVERYTHING YOU DO IS SALES. Keeping that in mind, email Signatures are easy to do and can help represent your business with personality and professionalism....but it can be easy to get it wrong! Let's get it right with Qlixite!
Why do I need an email signature?
It may seem menial that you need to re-state who you are to the person you are sending an email to but your business email signature will affect the tone of every email you write. Think of it as virtual professional letterhead from your company. Here are some tips to making a professional signtaure that sets your business apart.
Start Off on the Right Foot
Is your email address professional?
First and foremost, the sender’s header (the “From” field) should have a name, and you should use a company email address if you can. If someone sees firstname.lastname@example.org, they’ll suspect it’s spam or a personal email. If the sender’s header reads, “Susan Jones - ABC Enterprises” <email@example.com>, they’ll know it’s a professional email from a business person.
Is your website a link?
Make it as easy as possible for people to get to your website. Many email clients convert email addresses and websites into links automatically, but not always. You may need to make sure 'http://' or 'www.' appears to ensure the link will work properly. Instead of linking text like “My website,” type out the URL, which will be useful for those who want to copy and paste the address.
Is you signature longer than your thumb?
Okay it doesn't need to be an exact measure of your finger but an email signature should be clear an concise (three to four lines is usually enough). Don’t get into your life story here. The purpose of a signature is to let them see who you are and how to get in touch with you - you don't need to give every phone, fax, cell or email you own - give your preferred method of contact.
The Meat of Your Email Signature
• Your Name
• Your Company Name and Position
• How to get in touch with you
Do NOT include...
• Personal links to Twitter, Facebook, IM or Skype sites
• Your home phone number or address
• Random quotes at the bottom
• Your entire skill set or resume in bullet form
Random quotes are fun for friends, but you risk offending business associates with whom you don’t have a personal relationship. Unless you want clients contacting you while you’re watching Lost, don’t share your home details. Also, don’t share your personal contact information with your business partners. They certainly won’t be interested in it, and you may not want them to know certain details about you. However, mentioning your business Twitter account or alternative means of contact in your signature might be useful, in case your correspondent is not able to get in touch with you by regular email.
Example of an Unprofessional Email Signature
Steve Stevenson, Web Designer
|Our Qlixite Email Signature through Email Ideas.com|
55 Drury Lane
I specialize in:
“Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is
worth the price.” -Amelia Aerheart
Images and Logos
As much as you may want to get fancy with your email signature, there are downsides. Your entire signature should not be an image. Sure, it will look exactly how you want, but it is completely impractical. Not only does an image increase the email’s file size, but it could be blocked before being opened.Plus it's impossible to copy information from an image. Any images should be used with care and attention. If you do use one, make it small in both dimensions and size, and make it fit in aesthetically with the rest of the signature. 50 x 50 pixels should be plenty big for any logo. If you want to be taken seriously as a business person, do not make it an animated picture, dancing dog or shooting rainbow!
Most email clients store images as attachments or block them by default. So, if you present your signature as an image, your correspondents will have a hard time guessing when you’ve sent a genuine attachment.
The best way to include an image is to host it on a server somewhere and then use your email client to display the html at the bottom of all of your messages. This can also allow you to make the image linked with a website. Qlixite uses a third party company called EmailIdeas.com which creates easy to use and clickable email signatures. We'll will be reviewing this company very soon as part of our new review series.
Use vCards with Caution
While vCards are useful and convenient way to share contact information, they add bytes and appear as attachments in emails . Using a vCard for your email signature can be helpful the first time you correspond with someone but receiving it every time after that gets annoying. Besides, the average email user won’t know what it is. Look at the example below. Would an average user know what that is?
Personality is OK!
While your signature should be useful and straightforward, it's okay to make your email signature reflect your business. This can also help seperate your email signature from your email content. Whether you use a line, color or spaces - your email signature should be easy to identify.
Working with Your Email Client
Here's a great set of links from Smashing Mag which offers resources to help implement email signatures in Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo etc.
Changing Outlook’s signature is a real pain, but here‘s a guide that teaches you a few things. If you use Outlook 2003, here‘s another tutorial on custom signatures.
Microsoft’s mail for mac works differently. Here’s a tutorial on how to set it up.
Want just one basic signature? Here‘s how to change the text. You’d think Google would allow you multiple signatures, links and a bit of formatting. If you’re looking for something a little more designed or wish to choose between multiple signatures, here are five ways to do it in Firefox.
Tips on custom images and more for Hotmail can be found here. If you use Windows Live, here is a tutorial on adding images and HTML. The detail is helpful, even if the images are awful.
YahooHere‘s how to change your signature using rich text.
Apple MailHere is a pretty decent tutorial, with some inline HTML for formatting. It then explains how to implement it in the application. You even get some hints on how it will look on the iPhone.
Learn how to customize your message on your Palm Pre here.
Customize your “Sent from my iPhone” message here.
Some information on how to change your message on BlackBerry smartphones here.
Steve Stevenson, Web Designer
www.misterstevenson.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do want to provide a vCard, just include a link to a remote copy.
If your emails include confidential information, you may need to include a non-disclosure agreement to prevent information leaks. However, good practice is never to send sensitive information as plain text in emails because the information could be extracted by third parties or forwarded by recipients to other people. Thus, including a non-disclosure agreement doesn’t make much sense if you do not send sensitive information anyway.
Keep in mind, too, that the longer a confidentiality clause is, the more unlikely someone will actually read it. Again, check your country’s privacy laws. Some big companies require a disclosure with every email, but if you’re at a small company or are a freelancer and don’t really require it, then don’t put it in. The length of such clauses can be annoying, especially in short emails.
Your email signature is important! Even as I have been writing this article I am recalling all of the times my signature was incomplete, sparse or missing entirely. If you need help or would like some feedback on your business email signature - we're here for you! Let's start 2012 off right by making your business more successful! Call or visit Qlixite 800-596-6218