Better email - part 3: signatures - PRR Computers, LLC

by Matt Kelland
8 years ago

 Your signature is a useful place to hold standard information. However, they’re often unnecessarily long and badly formatted. What makes a good email signature?

1. Use a simple, clear structure

Your company email signature should contain just three things: your name (and role), your company name, and your contact details. The following is all you need.

Jane Doe, Department Coordinator
ACME Widget Corp
T: 555-1234 x345 (office) | 555-4321 (cell)
Suite 99, 456 Roadrunner Blvd, Toontown, FL | |

You can add in web site and social media links if you want, but keep them short. There’s no need to include an email address in your signature – if someone’s getting an email from you, they already have that. You can fit several items on a line – don’t feel you have to create a long signature.

Don’t bother with fancy fonts and layouts. They may not come out the way you intend anyway, and the results will look messy. And you can skip all the company advertising blurb too. Nobody’s going to read it, and it’s just clutter.

Streamline your signature and make sure the information is clear and easy to read.


2. Don’t embed images in your signature

In our last post, we talked about the problems with embedding images. They don’t always work as you intend, and the results look untidy and unprofessional.

If you’re going to use an image, place it on a web site and create a link to it.

3. Don’t bother with an excessive disclaimer

It’s common for companies to insist on some sort of disclaimer to do with confidentiality. These can sometimes get ridiculously long. The truth is that most of the time they have no legal validity, so they’re just a waste of space.

They can be useful in very specific circumstances. For example, marketing emails may include unsubscribe instructions, or sales emails may include a note that quotes are only valid for 30 days. Otherwise, you might as well not bother.

One that does seem to work well is where you’re sending from a mobile device. You can get rid of the default one that brags about what phone you have, but people will be a lot more tolerant of errors if you append something like “Sent from my cell phone – please excuse typos and autocorrects!”

If you need to indicate that something is confidential, then it’s probably better to put that at the start of the email or in the subject line, rather than in the small print at the bottom.

Next time, we’ll look at subject lines and how to make sure people know what to expect from an email.


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