How many emails do you send each day? If you are like most professionals, the answer probably lands somewhere in the dozens. While a sizable number of those messages are probably back-and-forth exchanges with bosses, co-workers, and other established contacts, plenty others could be people you are reaching out to for the first time. Making a first impression with your email communications, therefore, is a must, and a great email signature can help you to do that.
Many people don’t pay much mind to the email signature. After all, it’s not the first thing your email recipient sees, which means it isn’t necessarily making or breaking the first impression. However, an email signature can act as a professional topper for your email, something that tells recipients who you are, why you are worthy of their time, and how they can reach you. Said another way, your email signature can improve the chances of you getting a response from your recipient.
So how can you craft an email signature that gets results? The first step, of course, is to include the appropriate content. Different people include assorted items in their signatures, from inspirational quotes they like to silly GIFs. Signatures of this nature are fun, but as you might expect, they don’t create the most professional impression. For a work-related email signature, you should include your company name, your job title, your phone number, and your email address. Some professionals like to include physical addresses of the companies they work for, but this kind of inclusion isn’t essential in the modern, digital world. You’d be better off providing a link to your company’s website so that your email recipients can learn more about your business and find your address if they feel so inclined.
Another important strategy is to keep your signature aesthetically appealing. Most experts recommend that you include no more than three or four lines of raw text in your signature, simply because too much text becomes overwhelming. Since four lines might not be enough space to fit everything you want into your signature, you need to be creative with how you present information.
For instance, including links to your social accounts (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) is a widespread practice. Social sites give your recipients a way to learn more about you, as well as a few alternative means to get in touch. However, the last thing you want is for your signature to be crammed with URL links. The solution is to include social networking icons instead of URLs or hyperlinks. This strategy serves a dual purpose, spicing up the aesthetics of your signature while also fitting a lot of information into a compact space. If you are going to include social links, though, you should ensure that you are active on social media. A link to a Twitter account you haven’t used in two years will do more harm than good.
Other ways to add visual spark to your signature include incorporating your company logo into the design or uploading a professional headshot. In most cases, you will want to choose one option or the other. Don’t do both, as too many images can crowd your signature and make it look messy—especially on mobile devices. Either option alone will add credibility to your email and increase the likelihood of engagement and response.