Email Signature Best Practices

Photo for Email Signature Best Practices post

You likely don’t get as much value as you could out of your lowly email signature.

They are typically created, configured and set by the IT department. You don’t give them a second thought.

Surprisingly, as the infographic at the end of this post illustrates, only 52% of professionals actually use an email signature, demonstrating how little thought is actually given to this under-appreciated aspect of email marketing.

How To Optimize Your Email Signature

I recently updated my PR firm’s staff email signatures, which provides an excellent excuse to share some email signature best practices with you.

First, let’s see what our email signature looked like before I updated them:

Screenshot: Email Signature - Before

As you can see, we used a fairly straightforward, traditional email signature format.

We separated the body of the email from the signature with the traditional dual dashes. And we include nearly all the elements that are most commonly included:

  1. Name – 70%
  2. Landline Phone – 60%
  3. Organization – 58%
  4. Organizational Role – 43%
  5. Email Address – 39%
  6. Postal Address – 29%

We did not include an email address. That’s redundant.

If you are looking at our email signature, that means you’ve received an email from us, so you obviously know our email address. We had included our fax number, which is not really used much anymore.

We included a link to our website followed by our logo.

Here’s what the updated email signature looks like:

Screenshot: Email Signature, After

As you can see, we re-arranged some of the elements and added a few new ones. Let’s examine each element separately.

Logos In Email Signatures

I used the lion image from the logo to made it an eye-catching focal point of the signature. People are visual creatures, so images grab our attention. Because people consume visual information instantaneously. So including the logo is branding opportunity.

I used the larger lion image to draw attention to the email signature. With the lion’s head pointing at the signature block, email recipients’ eyes will be drawn to the information in the signature itself.

Be sure to host the images you plan to include in your email signature remotely at a URL that will not change to ensure your images display consistently.

Names In Email Signatures

The standard practice in email signatures is to bold the sender’s name, and I do that.

But as you can see, I have also added a hyperlink to our names. I wanted to put the updated email signatures to work in service of the content we post to our blog.

Therefore, the hyperlink for each employee’s name leads to their author page on the blog. Email recipients can click the link to get a list of that person’s individual blog posts. This tactic not only creates awareness for our content but also reinforces each employee’s areas of expertise.

Another common way of hyperlinking names is to point them to biography pages.

Organization Name, Title, Address & Phone Number In Email Signatures

Organization name, address, employee title and phone number typically accompany a person’s name in email signatures.

As a public relations agency, it is especially important that the media we interact with know who we are, our roles, and always have a telephone number where they can reach us at a moment’s notice.

You can see I’ve removed the fax number to save space, since it is seldom used these days.

Other industries may be different; regulated industries, for example, that require certain documents be faxed to governmental bodies may want to keep their fax number in the signature.

Organizations that have only a website and no blog, will often link to that website from the company name.

Links To Website & Blog In Email Signatures

You can see that I link to my agency’s website, blog, and email newsletter as well.

  • The website link goes to the home page, where visitors can get a quick take on the agency.
  • The blog link obviously goes to our content, where visitors can read our most recent posts.
  • And the newsletter link goes to the signup page, where visitors can subscribe.

Even if recipients don’t click on these links, their very inclusion in the email signature builds awareness of the content the agency creates.

Social Media Icons In Email Signatures

Finally, I added social media icons to the bottom of the email signature.

Just as with the lion image, I used social media icons rather than simple text links so as to catch the eye and allow recipients to instantaneously understand in which social media channels the agency is active.

  • The orange RSS icon links to the blog.
  • The black email icon links to the newsletter page.
  • And the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn icons link to those respective social channels.

Twitter is particularly important for public relations agencies because it is an essential channel for journalists, editors, producers and anchors. Given the volume of correspondence PR agencies have with members of the media, our email signatures are likely to drive social media followership among reporters.

Finally, I begin and end with images.

The updated email signature begins with the lion logo and draws the recipient’s eye through the signature information to the social icons.

The email signature is designed to lead the eye from the beginning to the end of the signature block.

Email Signature Tracking

Lastly, I track the links from our email signatures to the website and blog via Google Analytics by using Google’s URL Builder tool to tag links. Prateek Agarwal has put together a helpful How To guide for using the Google URL Builder.

I do this so that I can understand the volume and type of traffic to the website the email correspondence generates.

Anatomy Of An Email Signature Infographic

I’ll leave you with this infographic that illustrates the various elements of email signatures.

Infographic: Anatomy Of An Email Signature

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