You might have noticed, I have taken over the Social Media NZ Twitter account recently to get an insight into how some of New Zealand’s businesses are using their email signature.
Yes email signatures, that boring little space at the bottom of every email that you send. Most people don’t even have one and most organisations don’t realise how powerful they can be.
You would think that most people and organisations would at least include their social media links in their email signature right? Surprisingly, there were a number of people who responded with surprise when I asked: “Do you include social media links in your email signature?”
@SocialMedia_NZ no, no I don’t. Never really thought to. Maybe time to edit email signatures
— Kimberly Jansen (@kimmynz) November 22, 2013
Companies spend $1000’s on building a brand image and one poorly designed or unprofessional email signature can destroy all of that hard work. For example, last week an ex American soldier was stood down from his job at a hospital because he had “god bless America” on his work email signature. Not because the hospital is anti-religious, but because they can’t just have every employee sending random messages on the their business emails. Everything that you say in an email from a business account directly links to the business.
In order to be completely transparent I will tell you that I’m the Marketing Manager for Crossware Mail Signature. The idea behind this research and article was to give some local businesses an insight into the importance of the humble email signature. They don’t need to be too fancy, but there are two very important things that you need to consider: Social Media and Mobile.
Include your relevant business accounts, but be subtle
Including social media links on your email signature is ‘professional communication 101″ for most individuals. But when it comes to business, there is no way that every employee should have control of their own signature. There are still some businesses that allow employees to include personal social media accounts on their emails, I don’t want to see the hundreds of selfies on your Instagram account when your emailing me about a conference. Keep it professional and include your company social media links, but not too big. For example, see mine below. The social media links are in the top right-hand corner, big enough to still stand out but small enough to not be in the readers face.
Have a mobile friendly signature
The number of emails sent from mobile devices has increased drastically over the last 5 years. Make sure that your branding and legal disclaimer is on your mobile emails as well!
You’ll notice in the iPhone screen-shot above that my mobile email signature appears exactly as it would if I sent it from my desktop. Server based email signature software will include your signature on every single email leaving the company, no matter where it has been sent from.
The mobile layout is also important to consider when designing an email signature. Large images will often change how an email is seen on a smartphone, it is best to keep to relatively small images (mine is 500 pixels wide) but make sure to send some test emails before going ‘live’ with anything.
Over the past week I have also been hunting down some email signature examples to help you with some ideas and inspiration.
The first one is from Jose at Mach Media, much like their website you can see that the whole design is nice and clean, with perfectly sized imagery. There is also a link to his Twitter account and importantly, the company website.
GSL Promotus has a notably more detailed signature design. The company social media links are subtle and the company logo is appropriately sized. They also include some company information and a legal disclaimer. Depending on which industry you’re in, a legal disclaimer is always an important thing to consider when designing your email signature.
The final email sgianture that I’d like to share is from the team at ID Technology in the UK. They have designed this signature specifically for the Christmas period. The best part is that it is actually a gif animation and once Christmas is over they simply take that hat off and are left with their usual logo.