An email signature is like a digital business card. Think about it this way: many people don't maintain their digital address book very carefully and will often just look up their last email from you to figure out how to contact you. Your contact information (including your phone number) is one of those important pieces of information that helps your customers and clients get ahold of you when they really need to.
When you add a phone number you appear more trustworthy and show that you are available when you are needed. While email has many benefits, some people would prefer a quick phone call to get a task done faster than waiting on emails to go back and forth.
How do I add a phone number to my email signature?
Email signature generator
Most email signature generators (like Signature.email) will allow you to add a phone number into your signature. You can type in your phone number and usually it will handle all of the complexities of linking it and keeping its color consistent. These types of tools will usually help you make a signature that is more compatible across all email clients and usually something more professional than you could put together on your own.
With your email clients signature editor
Of course, you can always use the editor that comes with your email client. Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail all have options where you can start typing up a simple signature and do some basic formatting. Most of them will include a link field. Generally they work like this: You select the text you want linked, and then hit the link button and a window will pop up asking you where you want that link to go. This is where you can enter a phone number like I describe below. That said, the options can be limited, so if you are looking for something with multiple columns and greater control over colors and spacing, then you may want to stick to a signature generator.
What format do I use to link a phone number to my email signature?
To make the phone number automatically dial someone's phone you need to link it in a specific format. Web address links always should start with https: this tells your browser and your computer that this is a website link. In the same way when you start a link with tel: you tell your browser and device that this is a telephone number that can be dialed. This way the link should end up looking like this:
(You can alternatively start the link with sms: to have the device automatically open the text messaging app.)
What HTML should I use to style a telephone link?
If you are developing an email signature in HTML then you may be looking for the correct way to include a link to a phone number in your HTML signature. Generally it works the same way as any other link. Use the typical A tag and within the HREF attribute you will want to include the tel:999-999-9999 as we mentioned before. Finally you will probably want to include an inline style so that you can custom color the link with the color of your choosing. See our example below:
<a href="tel:999-999-9999" style="color:#6abdbc;font-weight:bold;">999-999-9999</a>
Can I remove the underline in a phone number link?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately many email clients will show an underline style for a link no matter what. It cannot be removed. Email clients like Gmail and Outlook will always force there to be an underline on a link, even if you include style declarations telling them not to!
Should I link my phone number in my email signature?
It can be helpful to make your phone number a click to call link. For example on a mobile phone like an iPhone if someone sees your email signature with your phone number, notices that it is a link, and clicks on it, it will immediately open their phone app and offer to start a phone call. This is a handy feature that removes the annoying barriers like having to manually select the phone number, copy it, and paste it into the correct place.
On a desktop computer this can be a different story. Since most desktops don't include a cell phone antenna built in, this means they have to rely on some other technology to use for that calling ability. On most modern desktop computers though (both in Windows 10 and Mac OS) clicking on a linked phone number will launch an app and attempt to make a call for you. On Mac it tries to use Facetime using a nearby iPhone. On Windows it can connect to Android phones or using an App like Skype. Some users may find this helpful and other may find it frustrating.
What if I don't want my phone number to be a link?
I have bad news for you: In many email clients your telephone number will be linked whether you like it or not. Outlook, Apple Mail, and iPhones automatically detect phone numbers just by looking at the length and pattern of the numbers. They then transform the plain text phone number into a link where the email recipient can click on it to dial their phone. As far as I know there is not a way to prevent these browsers from making your plain text phone number into a link.
Generally this is a good thing, the only problem with the default behavior is that they add the link in their default blue underlined style. If this doesn’t match the rest of the links in your email signature it can look bad. For that reason generally I recommend linking your phone number in your email signature if you don't want it to be bright blue.
What phone number(s) should I include in my email signature?
That depends on your position and the company that you work for. The first question to answer is whether you want the people you are emailing to have your phone number? If you are in sales, the answer is often yes! If you are in customer support, the answer may be no. (Maybe customers are supposed to call the main support line or start a ticket instead). Having a direct line to a person within a company is hugely helpful and can often get work done faster once the right connections have been made. If you are willing to include it, its presence can help build trust with those that you are corresponding with.
Your company should probably have a main line that people can call and get directed to the correct person (especially if you are gone!). The rule of thumb here is whether including that number would be helpful and/or important for those people whom you are emailing. If it is, then I think an email signature is a great place to include generic information like that.
Potential phone numbers to include:
- Your cell phone number
- Your home phone number
- Your office phone number
- The company main phone number
- Support or sales specific numbers
Different signatures for internal vs external emails
One thing to know is that with most email clients you can switch between multiple signatures. If you are in a larger company you may want to have a different email signature for those within your company (including more information about your title/expertise as well as direct lines to contact you) whereas you might want to have a little less information on an email signature that would be sent out to those outside your company that wouldn't need or understand that information.
So there you have it, that's everything I know about putting a phone number in an email signature. If you'd like to try out the signature.email generator you can find the phone number field under the Add Field > Contact tab. It's easy to add and you can choose to color the link however you want. Good luck!