Business professionals all over the world send and receive dozens of emails each day, most of which have email signatures that don’t quite hit the mark. Today, we’ve compiled a list of the most common email signature mistakes, so you can make the most of your email signature.
Most of us engage in over 1000 unique email conversations each year and that’s why it’s important to utilize the best practices of email marketing. Whether you like it or not, your email conversations are an extension of your brand. We can tell a lot about someone’s business simply by examining the way they format their emails. Courtesy and grammar aside, there’s one thing most of us overlook: email signatures.
Your email signature tells a lot about your brand. It contains valuable information such as your personal contact information but it also serves to maintain a consistent brand aesthetic. Most of us won’t bother with our email signature, and that’s exactly why those who do can make a huge impression. If you want to stand out, put some effort into your email signature.
Here are the most common email signature mistakes people make as well as some useful tips to make your email signature look more alive and vibrant.
1. Not Having an Email Signature
Would it surprise you to learn that most people don’t have an email signature? That’s a huge mistake, especially if you are a business person representing a brand.
An email signature can do amazing things for your business — it can boost sales and drive engagement. There are no downsides to email signatures unless you make too many mistakes to a point where it has a negative effect on your brand.
2. Too Much Information
Keep it simple, stupid. The KISS principle should always be followed when designing email signatures, as people tend to get carried away at times.
Although email signatures are used to provide information, your recipients don’t really care about the 10 different social accounts you may have. The same goes for websites and phone numbers.
Here’s a fictional example of an overstuffed email signature from The New York Times:
As you can see, there’s very little clarity in those 16 lines of text. To avoid making this mistake, as a start, you can include the following:
- Personal information (name, position)
- Company information (company name, office address)
- Contact information (phone number, social media account)
And that’s it.
This is very simplified but it’s nonetheless a good place to start. You can always improve this format using some of the tips that we’ll discuss in this article, such as including your image.
3. Not Including Your Email Address
You don’t have to include your email address in your signature, but there are some really good reasons to do it. For example, not all email clients will show your email address in the “From” field. Most of them will instead show your name there instead, and this can make it hard to find your actual email address.
Another reason is that its easier to simply click on your email address in your signature to create a new email, instead of finding the address, copying it and pasting it in a new email.
Contrary to popular belief, having an email address in your signature is actually a good thing.
4. Using Outdated Information
It’s always a good idea to put some effort into your email signature, but don’t forget to update it.
Broken links will lead to situations like this:
Professional life is always active and things change as we go about our business. You can change your phone number, your company title can change, and your social account URL may also change. All of this information should be regularly updated in your email signature.
Every now and then, do a quick check over your signature to make sure everything is accurate and all links are working as they should.
5. Font Choice & Size
One of the most common email signature mistakes is using multiple fonts and sizes throughout your signature. Limit yourself to only a couple of different sizes and only use one font family.
A simple rule for email signature fonts is to keep it clean and modern. Arial is one of those fonts. The font size also matters, too small means unreadable and too large means distracting. A size of 10-12 is decent and translates well on mobile devices.
One exception to this rule is using a font that matches your brand aesthetic. For example, if you are a professional artist you might consider a specific font that matches your style but always make sure it is a web-safe font.
If you don’t use web safe fonts, your email signatures may not look right if the recipient’s computer doesn’t have your custom font installed.
6. Don’t Forget Social Links
At a minimum, an email signature should include your name and your phone number. However…the world is changing, and more and more customers prefer to conduct business over social media. Some may prefer to contact you via Facebook rather than call your phone.
Today, it’s good practice to include some social links in your email signature, such as your LinkedIn account. Include only the socials that you use & update regularly.
Including social icons in your signature also shows your clients that you’re connected with the community.
7. Not Having an Image
Personalization goes a long way and the same can be said for email signatures. Personal images can make a big difference if you want to make people warm up to you. The good thing is that there are so many email signature generators today that allow you to easily create signatures with an image.
Here’s an example of how images work with email signatures:
8. Forget Corny Quotes
Creativity makes a huge difference when making an impression, however, some simply go too far. A good example of this is professionals using quotes in their email signature. This is simply redundant and has no actual use to the other person. The only exception to this rule is if the quote is part of the motto or branding.
Of course, if it’s a personal email signature you’re making, go ahead and use whichever quote you desire.
9. Don’t Forget to Utilize CTA Links
A short call-to-action (CTA) in an email signature can make a big difference. You’re using email to reach out to hundreds of people, and they are all prospects. Just to clarify, CTA text is different from social media links. It’s usually pointing to something unrelated to your personal information. Usually, a CTA button is situated inside a banner which explains the offer.
If you’re a marketer, you might include a CTA link saying:
‘Learn more about customer retention here’
Email is an extension of your brand, and it’s a good opportunity to share some of your work. The idea here is to keep it as short and simple as possible, don’t waste any space.
10. Not Considering Co-Worker Signatures
Have you considered how your company-wide email signature would look when someone with a long name has to use it? Would the name word-wrap to the next line, making the signature look awkward?
When creating an email signature which will be used by the whole organization, it’s important to factor in possible scenarios:
- Long or hyphenated names
- Long job positions
- Everyone using different social platforms
- If using headshots in the signatures, do you have a professional image of everyone’s face?
It’s super important to consider all the variables in your company that may affect the visual aspect of your signature. This is one of the most commonly overlooked email signature mistakes.
11. Always Check for Compatibility
You can create the perfect email signature but it won’t perform if it’s not optimized for all devices and platforms. If a certain graphic element works with Gmail, it may not with Outlook and vice versa.
The same goes for mobile devices where the viewport is much smaller, resulting in the signature looking slightly different. This is why it’s important to test your signature to ensure it looks right on all devices.
If you’re using one of the many email signature tools, usually they will take care of this for you.
Your Email Signature Matters
Your email signature is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal and it deserves attention. If you keep an eye out for these email signature mistakes, you will likely end up with a great looking signature.
All things considered, there are enough benefits here to make the effort worth it.
About the Author
Roman is the Chief Marketing Officer of Renderforest․ He’s a Content Marketing Specialist and an Expert in SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Link Building. Roman enjoys sharing his experience gained along working as a Marketer and helping other entrepreneurs succeed. He has his works published on some of the most renowned blogs and mediums like Crazy Egg, Forbes, Upwork, ShareThis, etc.