10 mistakes to avoid when writing your email signature
Improve the quality of your email signatures by avoiding these 10 pitfalls lots of people make when creating custom email signatures.
Tiffany studied Language and Economics, and now likes to write about business topics and conduct interviews with interesting people. She spends her free time looking after her plants and with her dog.
Email signatures are an essential aspect of any successful email strategy. They show off your brand, convey professionalism, and most importantly, help conversion rates.
But what's the best way to ensure your email signature is as good as it can be, whether in Outlook, Gmail or Apple Mail?
It's all down to the correct design.
To make sure you're creating a signature that is as good as it can be, we've detailed some common mistakes to avoid when making an email signature
Firstly, make sure you have an email signature!
A rookie mistake regarding email signatures is not having it in the first place. There are various reasons why it is essential for a business to have an email signature, the most important being that customers can quickly and easily see your relevant information.
Including more detailed information about the company can help increase the response rate, and email signatures can also be used to provide customers with alternative options to reach out to the company.
Moreover, including an email signature also adds that personal touch to the email being sent.
Customers will feel like they're talking to an actual person and not a robot if they see the name and surname of the sender.
Almost all clients, including Outlook, Apple Mail and Gmail, provide some form of email signature, but if you want more control and professional signatures, try Mailbutler.
Font, size and type in your email signature
The font you use is an essential part of making sure your email signature is professional. It's not the place to try out any creative, difficult-to-read fonts!
For example, curly fonts that are nearly unreadable or large sizes can make the signature look unprofessional.
The colors you use on the text also matter because brighter colors can make your signature difficult to read.
We have a few words of warning regarding fonts. Your colors should fit with the branding of your business, and rather than trying to make your fonts really colorful, pick a neutral, professional color, like black or grey.
Don't include quotes in your email signature
You need to keep your email signature clean and professional-looking. Therefore, it's in your best interests to eliminate any unnecessary text, which includes motivational quotes. Less is more in this case because if you add unnecessary text, your signature can look clunky, particularly on mobile devices.
On top of this, when a business includes a quote that is favored by a certain religion or culture, it might be offensive to some customers.
That is why it is best to avoid including quotes, no matter how inspirational you think they are.
Besides the risk of offending some of the customers, inspirational quotes can seem corny and unprofessional to others. Better to keep it simple!
Don't add too many links
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube are all social media channels that you might be using for marketing purposes.
There may even be others that are not included on this list like Snapchat, TikTok, and so forth. But your email signature isn't a place to include links to every single platform you're active on.
We surveyed a lot of digital marketers saying that when you try to add social media links to all these channels, the email might wrap to the next line or start looking unprofessional.
If you add too many social media buttons, the email might also start taking a lot of time to load.
A good example of including a few social media buttons in email signatures is Investopedia.
The company only includes buttons for two major social media networks, which are Facebook and Twitter.
Don't forget your contact information
The purpose of a business email signature is to provide more information about the company. For this reason, you should always include your or your company's contact information, including your Outlook, Gmail or Apple Mail email address.
One of the most important pieces of information to include in the email signature is the contact number. Never forget to include the business’ contact number because some customers might need to get some urgent clarification on some matters.
For example, if the email requires a response about something the customer does not know, they might prefer to call and get clarification.
If there's no number, the customer might not bother responding to your email.
Also, when including the contact number, remember to include the international calling prefix, in case a customer from abroad wants to reach you by calling the business.
Don't use an image signature
There are various ways of creating and using a signature on the emails you send to customers. You can get various themes from providers, or even create your own from scratch.
Other businesses make the big mistake of creating their email signature and saving it in JPG or PNG format. Never save your email signature as a picture because of three main reasons:
1. The first reason is that images can dramatically slow down the loading speed of the email.
2. An image signature doesn't look as professional as a regular signature.
3. Email signatures saved as images won't always appear the way you want them to - they might appear as an attachment on certain devices or other email providers.
Don't forget to update your email signature
Like it or not, your business will face some changes and developments as time goes on. Make sure you always update your email signature whenever these changes happen!
The signature must be kept up to date at all times and with the latest information just in case your recipient decides to respond with an on-site visit or call.
This is the same if you rebrand your business: don't forget to rebrand the email signature also. You need to maintain consistency throughout all marketing channels the business uses, including on your email signature.
In Gmail, Apple Mail and Outlook, you can update your email signature quickly and easily - or improve your signature game by using Mailbutler.
Don't add unnecessary images to your email signature
Images are a tricky one. On the one hand, images can be useful as they show your recipient your company's logo and a picture of the sender, which can add a nice personal touch to an email.
However, images can impact the loading speeds of emails, meaning they might not even show by the time your recipient has closed your email.
Having no image in your signature is far superior to having an image that doesn't load in the inbox of a person with a slow internet connection. Moreover, sometimes images can get squashed or scaled down on mobile devices, making them look terrible.
If you do decide to use an image, make sure it's one you've taken yourself and you have all the relevant copyrights too.
Adding pictures from Google Images is usually a bad idea, as they are generally copyright-protected.
Don't assume the email signature will work the same on all providers
So you've designed your email signature in, say, Microsoft Outlook, and everything looks great. Your sign-off is beautiful and professional.
But there's a problem - whenever you send an email to a person who uses a different client than you, such as Gmail, your signature is distorted, especially the pictures.
Everything is squashed and looks terrible! Even the font size and the line spacings are out of whack.
Having an email signature that doesn't show correctly in all email providers is a real problem.
One way of fixing this is to do tests after you've made your signature - send it to some of your own email addresses on different clients and make sure it works.
Alternatively, you can just use a responsive email signature template that will adapt to almost every app and provider. Mailbutler offers just that!
Don't include too much information in your email signature
Email signatures are not a personal statement or a place to list all of your skills, job titles, and social media channels. They're a digital business card, meant to provide your recipient with an easy means of knowing who you are and finding your contact information.
Therefore, keep the information you share in your signature to a minimum, and put the most important information first.
Contact information should be included but only one number and one address.
Older means of communication, such as fax, can simply be removed - the few people who still use it will, unfortunately, have to call you or head to your website for your fax number. They'll survive!
Email signature mistakes FAQs
What should be avoided in an email signature?
When it comes to creating a professional email signature, you should avoid:
- Using fonts and colors that are hard to read
- Including motivational quotes (it doesn’t look professional)
- Adding links to all of your social media profiles (it might negatively impact your email loading times)
- Including too much contact information (for example, two or more phone numbers, two or more email addresses, etc.)
- Adding unnecessary images (it might negatively impact your email loading times and make your email signature visually overwhelming)
What should an email signature include and not include?
A professional email signature should include:
- Your full name
- The name and address of the company or organization you represent
- Your position at the said company or organization
- The official website of the said company or organization
- Important contact information (phone number, email address, active social media profiles)
- Your company logo or a picture of you
- A polite closing sentence
A professional email signature shouldn’t include:
- Irrelevant information like pointless certifications or inspirational quotes
- Unreadable fonts and colors or colors that don’t match your brand identity
- Too many images
- Out-of-date links
What is the best practice for email signatures?
The five best practices for creating a professional email signature are:
- Use standard fonts like Arial and Times New Roman as your recipients might not have any custom fonts on their devices
- Include important contact details: your first and last name, the name of the company you represent and the position you hold at it, your or the company’s phone number, your email address, and the company’s website and active social media profiles
- Add your business logo or a photo of yourself but keep it relatively small
- Keep the email signature design brand-consistent by using your brand color palette
- Use a mobile-responsive email signature template so all of your recipients can see your email signature regardless of the device they use to access their mailbox
The bottom line
Email signatures are very important and can really help to improve the quality of your emails and increase the number of responses you receive from your clients and leads.
Making sure it's properly designed is essential, so we hope this article has helped you avoid a few common pitfalls of email signature design.
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