email

The Little Email Tip That Can Make A Big Difference

Often I find myself searching for someone’s phone number, address, or website, and I look to email signatures as a way of locating them. With a simple search of my email, I can find a message they have previously sent me and grab the information I’m looking for there. But all too often I find that people have not included their contact information at the end of their email. It surprises me when I encounter this because a signature line can hold so much valuable information that makes reaching that person much easier.

The simple task of setting up your signature block in your email account settings to include all of your contact information is something everyone should make the time to do. Think of your email signature block as being like your business card. Email signatures not only provide your contact information, but they also provide an opportunity to extend your company’s brand and deliver a sense of professionalism.

Here are some helpful tips to creating a professional email signature block to make you look like a superstar!

Make it Concise:
When setting up your signature block keep it to no more than 4-5 lines. Limit the information to your name, title, company name, phone number, and website link. It’s also a good idea to include your company logo under your signature for branding purposes, but be sure not to make it too large.

Make it Easy To Read:
Using an easy to read font and setting the text to an appropriate size and color should be considered carefully. Black, dark gray, and navy blue are always great colors for readability. It is best to use 10 or 12 point type size, as to keep readers from squinting to read your text or being overwhelmed by large text that can look unprofessional. Use easy to read fonts. I recommend using a SANS SERIF style font such as such as Arial, Century Gothic, or Helvetica. These fonts have been found to be easiest for the brain to interpret on-screen as they are more minimalistic in style. Stay away from unprofessional, whimsical, and playful looking fonts such as Comic Sans, Courier, or any script.

Include a vCard:
Providing your vCard with all of your contact information in your signature block is an excellent way to allow your clients and colleagues to add your contact details to their address books. To add a vCard, just export your contact card and copy and paste it (or drag and drop if you are using a MAC) into your signature block. Another option is to do this is to download your vCard file and save it to Dropbox. Copy the link from to the Dropbox file and create a hyperlink in your signature block. Add text for the hyperlink to let users know what the link is for and what to do such as: “Click here to download my contact card.”

A Word on Logos, vCards, and Other Attachments:
When many people set up their email signatures, they include a JPG of their logo, their vCard, or include icons to social media links, etc. The troubling part about this is that each of these elements become “attachments” to your email and this can be frustrating to recipients. For instance, if you have attached a business document to an email you’ve sent, and the recipient goes to save that attachment, all of the other images that are a part of your signature come across as attachments too. This can be confusing and annoying – leaving the reader with having to choose not to save your logo and social media icons along with the important document you have sent them. So, a word of warning, think before you add too many non-text elements to your signature.

HTML Signatures:
One way to keep from having attachments like your logo come over in your emails is to set up an HTML email signature. This embeds all of the graphics into the signature file, so you no longer have to worry about those pesky attachment files.
Here is one resource to set up your HTML signature for MAC Mail, and this one is for Outlook.

When creating your HTML email signature, I also suggest using a free email signature generator to create the HTML file you will need to set it up in your mail program. I used HubSpot’s. I was also able to include my vCard by adding it to the “call to action” section in the generator. There’s also an option to add in your social media account profiles, as well as customize the colors, layout, and look.

Setting Standards:
I always like to see cohesiveness in all business communications, and I encourage clients to have clearly defined brand guidelines. Email signature standards should be a part of this. Establishing a company-wide email signature template is an excellent way to keep your brand looking polished, and it gives the recipient a feeling of cohesiveness and professionalism.

In Summary:
Something as simple as setting up a professional looking email signature with all the important information people need to reach you or learn more about you can make a huge difference in how you are perceived as a professional. So, don’t wait. Use these tips to set up yours right now!

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