[Update]: This article was first published on September 15, 2015. It was completely rewritten to reflect current trends and changes in email signature branding best practices.
We’ve seen how professional, visual-identity-compatible email signatures have evolved from a new trend to marketing and branding basics. Now, only the most conservative companies stick to the old ways and insist on including only first and last name in their email signatures. Most companies have recognized the potential of email signatures for marketing and branding purposes. I’ll show you how best to realize this potential.
The cost of unprofessional email signatures
Email signatures have become more than just a regular, tiny detail of corporate identity. They’re included in every single email every employee sends. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a tech company or not – as long as you send emails, people will judge you based on what your company’s email signatures look like. It shows how much attention the company pays to communication with prospects and partners.
In other words, if your email signature includes, for example:
- broken links,
- social media buttons linking to dead profiles or platforms (G+, anyone?),
- outdated contact info,
- broken images,
- movie quotes,
- just your name,
- broken layout,
recipients will automatically assume that this aspect is out of your company’s control. And it’s quite natural to take assumptions a step further and think that it may not be the only thing beyond control. You lose trust and valuable marketing opportunities. But let’s not focus on what you can lose – let’s see what you can gain.
Advantages of professional email signatures
For ‘not convinced’ ones, let’s see what kind of information you may disclose when you send an email with your optimized signature.
- Basic contact details, such as your name, job title, branch, company, phone number, email, location, etc.,
- Your professional photo,
- A logo of your company,
- Links to websites, blogs, profiles, etc.,
- Social media buttons.
The above-mentioned options stand for who you are, who you are working for and what you do. But that’s hardly all you can do with email signatures. You can also include:
- banners and logos for your marketing campaigns,
- adverts of key products and services,
- information about upcoming events,
- social media content,
- information on business partners and projects,
- logos of gained certificates and awards, commercial videos,
- other significant information about your company,
- customer-satisfaction surveys,
- quick meeting/scheduling links.
While adding all of those elements into one signature at the same time is not the best plan, the above list should give you an idea on how much you can do with each email your employees send. The elements you add to signature should go with what you want to focus on and who is the final recipient of your message. Keep in mind that a potential customer will use the signature to gain insight about you (as a company). This might be a point where they decide to engage or withdraw from further interaction.
Enhance your company’s visual identity
In general, visual identity is a base on which you build your brand trust. It’s the message you want to send to everyone who interacts with your company. If you want to boost your branding, the signature needs to communicate the same message and comply with your business identity.
Marketers have come to a point in which effective brand promotion is harder than ever. Your target audience often turns a blind eye to advertisements as a rule, use ad blockers, or the campaign simply doesn’t reach them. And there’s no point in great promotional offers if nobody knows about them. Fortunately, email signature marketing lets you bypass those limitations. Most of your recipients are not random people – you know which campaigns can be of their interest. And if you set up the email signature right, marketing banners will always be noticed.
As for the specific elements, your choice will depend on what you want to achieve. Social media links, article links or feeds could show your audience that you provide valuable content on a regular basis (hope you do!). This less direct way of promoting your services or products tends to be effective, since recipients aren’t feeling they are forced to click on your links.
Where to start with email signature branding?
Every journey starts with a single step. In case of email signature marketing, you need to design the signature before doing anything else. There are quite a few difficulties you might face at this point.
After reading the first part, you probably have some ideas on what to include in this branding-friendly and visually optimized email signature of yours. You have the visual identity sorted out and all the needed images are sitting there, ready to shine. Now comes the specific layout of the signature – how to arrange all this data, so that it looks good? And then, you need to convert this signature into HTML, making sure it won’t break in various email clients.
For most people that’s a bit too much. That’s why we’ve brought to you a completely free email signature generator. It lets you easily create professional HTML email signatures, even if you don’t know what HTML code is. And if you just need some inspiration, our signature template gallery lets you download pre-made templates and re-design them however you see fit.
After you’re done, you get a well-designed template for email signature branding purposes. The thing with visual identity and branding is that it doesn’t apply to a single employee only – for the good changes to take an actual effect, they need to be company-wide. So, the final thing is to get a personalized version of this email signature for everyone in the company.
How to set up email signatures for the whole organization?
When setting up signatures for an entire company, you might face some challenges, as the video below shows:
Now you can see, it’s not as simple as it sounds. So, if you need to manage email signatures for all employees, you might need to use a dedicated tool. This way, you could, for example:
- ensure unified company-wide branding with no end-user interaction required,
- deploy email signatures for all email clients and mobile devices with a few clicks (no HTML knowledge needed),
- make sure your branding and marketing content always gets through, thanks to embedded images,
- customize signature rules, so that different departments can have different signature elements (while following your visual identity guidelines),
- make instant updates to all email signatures at once.
It might be the right time to take your email signature branding to the next level with award-winning solutions.