We live in a technological world and we expect everything to be at our fingertips. I’m totally dumbfounded every time I have to “look for someone’s phone number” and I can’t find it.
I search their LinkedIn profile—it’s not there. Next, I search my inbox for a recent email from them, but I can’t find their phone number because it’s not in their signature. I wish I was joking, but I see this ALL the time. So today’s post is dedicated to the power of a good email signature.
To this day, one of the most-read posts on my blog is my 5 Tips for a Professional Voicemail Greeting. Effective communication is a cornerstone of every successful business. In email communication, there are many opportunities for vagueness and miscommunication, so having a consistent, informative, neat, and clean email signature has a big impact on how people receive your business communications.
What are the key components of a good email signature, then?
Name / Title / Company
This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway! Start the signature with your name as you prefer it for professional use, followed by your official title and your company information. Including your company name isn’t about advertising; it’s just good information to have.
If you only use one phone number, then you don’t need to define whether it’s your mobile or your work line, but if you use more than one line, make sure to define each and list them in the order you want people to use them.
If you want people using your mobile, list that first. If you’d prefer they call your work line, list that first. If there is a main line at your office, but you don’t really want people to use it, then don’t list it! If you have a fax number…wait, what year is it again? Unless you regularly use your company fax number, get it out of your email signature.
Your physical mailing address is helpful but not necessary (unless customers and partners regularly come to your location). Your email address is also very helpful. You may think it’s not completely necessary (you are emailing them after all!), but it can function as a very useful shortcut, allowing people can click on it to instantly begin composing an email to you. When emails are forwarded around, the addresses in the “to” and “from” sections can get lost, so it’s nice to have it as a clearly visible part of your signature.
If you want to add your company’s website url or the link to your blog, that’s great, but remember to check any hyperlinks to ensure they’re still working and going where you want them to go before adding them.
Social Media Links
A lot of people include social media links in their signatures these days. If you do that, make sure all the accounts are accessible and actually useful. If I click on your Instagram or Twitter link to find them private and locked or your Facebook page hasn’t been updated in six months, that gives me a really bad impression of your professionalism. As you would with anything else, consider your brand and the message you are sending by including those links in your signature.
You may be asking, “Should I use the same signature line when replying to an email that I do when composing a new one?” Absolutely! If you’re going to have a different signature when you reply to someone, make sure that it still includes, at minimum, your name and phone number (because that’s what people are looking for the most).
For reference, here’s my current signature:
Get Some Help
If you’re having trouble creating a good email signature (and your company doesn’t have a template for you), consider using an email signature builder tool. Exclaimer, WiseStamp, and Hubspot all have free tools—or you can google “email signature builder” for more options.
I can’t overstate how vital it is that you have a good, clean, functional signature on all your emails. It speaks volumes about who you are as a professional. If after reading this, you’re worried yours isn’t adequate, I’m happy to check it for you. Send it on over, and I’ll give you some pointers from an outsider’s perspective!
Until next time—go sell some stuff!