Your email signature may not have been something you have thought about much; however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It can actually matter a lot.
I cringe every time I get an email from someone in business who has a bad email signature, and unfortunately, I see a lot of them. What constitutes a bad email signature? Listing too little or too much contact information at the end of your message.
Having too little information is when your email signature does not clearly indicate who you are, the company for whom you work, and your necessary contact information.
Not only are you missing the mark for branding and professionalism, but it’s also an unnecessary irritation and time-waster if the reader must hunt down your information to follow-up in some way. If you want to do business with someone, make it easy for them.
Having too much information is when you have gigantic pictures, logos and crazy-long personal messages, quotes, etc. All of this just becomes clutter.
Having “too much” in your email signature line can also make it hard for people to effectively read through a string of emails for the information they need, and/or it can cause a lot of wasted paper and ink if the email needs to be printed. A long-winded email signature can also appear to be a little egotistical to some as well.
So what should your email signature line look like? Actually, you should have at least two email signature messages: one for originating email messages and a different one for reply email messages.
A good original email message signature should include your name, company, title, phone number and active website link. (You can also include an active email link if you choose, however the reader should be able to quickly email you by just hitting “reply.”)
IF you have and wish to include additional key information and/or your company logo, that is fine, but keep it reasonable!
Reply signatures should be different. If you send someone an email and they respond, then you respond back, etc., it is not necessary to keep including all of your original signature information with each reply. Again, this can cause the important information to become lost in long strings of repetitive email signatures.
Instead, your standard reply email signature should simply be your name and your phone number. Let me say that again: Always include your phone number. A couple of other tips: use 11- or 12-point font and avoid fancy script fonts.
Your company should have a standard email signature policy for all email users. Doing so helps with company branding, presents a more professional image and improves the overall effectiveness of the email communication.
While we are on the subject of information to include/exclude, allow me to also suggest that there also be a standard and consistency in place for your actual email address. First name with last initial, first initial with last name, etc. are good examples.
An email address should be easy to read, recognize and remember. If you are an entrepreneur/self-employed make sure that your email address connects you with your business in some way using your company name and/or purpose.
Keep it professional, simple and easy to read. If your last first or last name is long, unusual, or difficult to spell, avoid using it. As a productivity expert, take my word on this. Sometimes it can be the little things that can affect your business in a big way.
Kimberly Medlock is a Productivity Expert who consults and works with organizations that want happier, healthier and more productive employees and workplaces. See why and how she does it at http://www.kimberlymedlock.com.
©Kimberly Medlock – January 2012 – firstname.lastname@example.org / 662-893-7933