Making an email signature usually isn’t too hard, but it can be tricky to know what elements to include and how to format it. We pooled our collective wisdom and came up with some of our favorite email signatures that we have seen come through our inbox. Most of the time we changed the names and contact information to protect the person, but looking at these examples for comparison to figure out what you need to include in your email signature may be helpful.
What should be in my email signature?
The best email signatures are those that work perfectly for what their organization needs. Think about the purpose of the email signature for you and your brand, what are you trying to communicate with your email readers once you have sent off that email? How can it be both a beneficial tool for you and your email recipient?
This article gives you ten tips with examples of email signatures displaying how you could accomplish that goal in your email signature. If you think you have a better example, feel free to send it over, we would love to include it!
The full list of email signature tips and examples:
- Keep it simple, don’t include too much
- Make your contact information helpful
- Use color to grab attention
- Use the right fonts and sizes
- Use your photo, people will remember it
- Include a really nice looking logo
- Include a call to action or special offer
- Spacing is crucial
- Include a customer testimonial
- Include your company social media profiles
1. Keep it simple, don’t include too much
An email signature should be scannable allowing the reader to glance at it quickly and get the information they need. Good design is often about restraint in knowing what to include and what not to include. Some people feel the need to include the kitchen sink in their signature but it ends up being too much. For the contact information just choose the most important items, leave out unnecessary stuff like your email address or fax number, do your recipients really need those?
Limit yourself to just one or two images/logos because anything more than that can clutter up your signature quickly. For marketing messages just try to communicate a single thing. When you try to say too much you end up saying nothing at all. Whether that’s a promotion, company tag line, or customer testimonial, those are all great things but you probably can’t afford to include them all or the signature will just become overwhelming.
2. Make your contact information helpful
Think of it like a business card, one of its purposes is to be a tool you are providing your reader to quickly look up your contact information at a later date. It might be on their way to you office (when they are running late) or it might be seconds before they have a call with you the next time. Put yourself in your recipients place, what can you do to make your signature helpful for them?
When a signature is a mishmash of unimportant information it can take longer for the viewer to find what they are looking for. The best email signatures are organized by keeping like information together and using white space to clearly create groups of information. You can also use color and font size to highlight important information and diminish the importance of other text in the signature.
Another way you can be helpful is by linking things that the user expects to be able to click on. For example a logo should always be linked to your website if you have one. Your phone numbers should be linked so that on a mobile device they can easily click on them and have the phone dial automatically. Those kinds of things will make people appreciate your signature and the thought you have put into it. Consider what "quick actions" your readers and customers do with your company often? Can they schedule an appointment online? That is a perfect opportunity to put a button or a link in your signature for that purpose!
3. Use color to grab attention
Color is a powerful design tool to bring attention to certain elements, give context, and call out emotion. Check out some of the words that are commonly associated with colors in a design, what are you communicating?
- Red: Excitement, Strenth, Love, Energy
- Orange: Confidence, Success, Bravery, Sociability
- Yellow: Creativity, Happiness, Warmth, Cheer
- Green: Nature, Healing, Freshness, Quality
- Blue: Trust, Peace, Loyalty, Competence
- Pink: Compassion, Sincerity, Sophistication, Sweet
- Purple: Royalty, Luxury, Spirituality, Ambition
- Brown: Dependable, Rugged, Trustworthy, Simple
- Black: Formality, Dramatic, Sophistication, Security
- White: Clean, Simplicity, Innocense, Honest
Don't overdo it on colors either. Less is more here. Ideally you would just choose a single color, your primary brand color that represents you or your company. Your logo would include this, your name might be in this color, and some of your links or important text might appear in this color. Two colors is ok, and more than three gets to be too overwhelming. Stick with black or grey for the rest of the text preferably. Ensure that the text isn't too light to be readable in a variety of situations.
4. Use the right fonts and sizes
Your email signature needs to “fit” in the environment it is in. It's easy to start making your signature too big, even using 16px - 20px fonts can feel quite large in the midst of an email. Remember that most emails are viewed around 12px or so depending on the user’s preferences. Having too large of a signature can feel garish and obnoxious to the receiver. On the other hand, some people go the opposite way and decide that their email signature should be tiny and unobtrusive. This results in a hard to read email signature that can frustrate the viewer as they squint to dial your phone number or write down your address. This article about font sizes may be helpful.
In addition, choosing the right font/type is important as well. It needs to be readable and clear. Using a script font might look kinda cool, but if your customers can't read your phone number then it definitely isn't worth it. It's ok to be a bit boring here, let your branding shine through your logo and color selction since you are limited in what fonts you can use.
5. Use your photo, people will remember it
Using your photo in your signature can be a great personalized way to show that you are a real human. You are friendly, relatable and not some corporate entity. It also will help people to remember you! Humans are great at remembering faces and names together, having those two elements beside each other in an email can help to fix them in your reader’s mind. Many people would prefer not to have their photo in their signature. The common fears are that they:
- Don’t like their photo or way they look
- Are afraid that they will come off as pretentious.
But these are probably not accurate fears. Most of the time you make yourself more relatable as well as being vulnerable and open to connecting with your reader. Maybe try it out as an expiriment at first and you can always remove it later if you don't like it. Or maybe you just need a nice new photo taken of you that you can be proud of!
6. Include a really nice looking logo
There are not many companies that include a perfectly formatted logo in their email signature. Often someone grabs a small blurry logo from their website and throws it into the signature, resizing it again. This makes your organization look unprofessional! The logo’s size is important. If it is too large then it just ends up being obnoxious, especially if the file size ends up being huge then it can be a pain for everyone to download. The best quality will come when you start with a high quality version of your logo (preferably a vector file like like .AI, .PDF, or .EPS if you have it) and then save it as a JPG or GIF at exactly two times the size it will appear in the email signature. This means that your logo will still look amazing on mobile devices which have higher resolution screens. It also means the signature hasn't been resized over and over again, degrading it's quality.
We have an article with more tips on email signature sizing you can read. Some companies opt to not include them at all, either out of laziness or worries about the logo being an email attachment. Logos in email signatures do not need to be attached to the email! Rather they should be included in the HTML as a remote link, loading the logo file from your website or another server.
7. Include a call to action or special offer
Email is one of the primary ways you will interact with your (potential) customers. They may know everything about what you have to offer, but they may not. Having a few quick links that show what your services are can be hugely beneficial to those companies that include this in their email signature. Are you offering a sale? Put that in there! Do you have a free resource you can offer to people? Put that in there! Giving them something of value like an offer like that can be helpful for them, and increase sales for you. Getting your customers to learn more about you and your company is always helpful.
8. Spacing is crucial
Good white space is tricky in email signatures because different email clients tend to treat those spaces differently. But spacing is one of those things that can make or break your signature. The tendency is to jam a bunch of your contact information together into a big blob of a signature. But this makes it hard to read, visually jarring, and unhelpful to readers. Good design is all about giving enough space for an element to stand out to the viewer's eye. Think about using spacing to group like information together. Start by grouping your name and title together. Maybe group your office phone and mobile phone together, and then put your website and social media links together. These groups of similar information make it easier to read and the white space around them makes it easier for the eye to quickly process the data. Read more in this article about white space.
Make sure your logo has adequate white space around it too. Many companies have brand guidelines which recommend a certain amount of white space around the logo, but in general it is just important that it has space of its own and doesn't get crowded from any other elements in the signature. Sometimes its best to remember the more white space the better. Its often better to have too much than too little.
9. Include a customer testimonial
According to this article from Boast, "72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business". Words have a powerful effect on behavior. Knowing what your other customers thought about working with you and their experience will make a difference as they consider their options. They give you legitimacy and help your customers to be more comfortable with you and your services. Hearing you say something is one thing, but seeing another customer's quote is 10x more powerful. Knowing that they are this important, then why not include them in an email signature?
You may even want to consider asking for your clients to reply with a testimonial or feedback about working with you within your signature. A short question like "I need your feedback, let me know about your experience working with me!" might be all that you need to gather some amazing customer testimonials.
10. Include your company social media profiles
Sometimes your customers just want your contact information, but at other times they are more curious about you and your organization. They may have already looked at your website and gotten the buttoned up PR version of who you are and what you do, and now they want to know your personality. What are they like when they have fun? What kinds of causes do they support? What are they like in real life? Social accounts are much better at communicating this with your customers than your website. So point your customers to them in your email signature. It’s a great jumping off point and can create conversation talking points that your customers may bring up to you on the phone at a later time.
A good email signature will mention 1-4 of the social media accounts they are active on. This isn't a competition to see how many social media icons are you in your signature. If you aren't active on that site or don't plan to use it within your marketing mix, then there isn't any point in directing your customers there.
You might not be able to accomplish all of these in a single email signature!
Putting together an email signature is a careful balancing act. It would probably be impossible for a single signature to do all 10 of these recommendations that are mentioned here, it's up to you to decide which of these items would be important for you and your business to keep in your signature. Some are more relevant than others, and only you can know that! Try creating a few different types of the signature with various elements. You can "try out" a signature for a short time and then modify it. Just like a website it can evolve and change over time. It doesn't have to be a lifetime decision! You can always gather feedback from customers or coworkers once it is sent off.
If you are looking for an easy way to make an email signature, we would recommend software like an email signature generator. These tools allow you to fill in your contact information and upload various logos and graphics to complement the information included. These are often free but they may have premium features than can be added to your signature. Our email signature generator is a powerful drag and drop tool that can be used to make email signatures in almost any design or configuration.
So now you know everything you need to go create a great looking signature that will impress your clients and bring the professionalism of your business up a notch. If you need a way to make a signature, we may be biased, but we think signature.email is the best. Try it out today!