How to Make Your E-Mail Signature Stand Out
E-mail is known for being highly impersonal. The stale, black-and-white background that is a standard on nearly every platform encourages conformity, stifles creativity, and is generally overlooked. But rather than treating every outbound e-mail with a sense of dry professionalism, why not seek to spice yours up just a little so that it stands out from the others your recipients will undoubtedly receive?
If you’re like most U.S. office workers, you most likely send anywhere from 40 to 50 e-mails every single day. While the content may be different, nearly all of them will most likely include the same signature line: name, title, a point of contact, and if you’re really feeling spunky, a five or six-word quote that is meant to inspire others.
Here’s a tip: most people ignore those.
If you want your signature to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have to put a little effort into it. However, once it’s done, you can forget about until it’s time for another change.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Optimize for Mobile
This doesn’t just go for your email signature, but for your website as well. If you haven’t optimized every single digital piece of your brand for mobile, you could be missing out on some serious potential clients. Google claims that 61% of their users are “unlikely” to revisit a mobile site they’ve had problems with in the past, and 40% of those customers will go to a competitor’s site instead.
The same holds true for mobile e-mail. A 2016 Litmus study surveyed nearly one billion emails and showed that nearly 56% of the emails were opened on a mobile device — an 8% increase from 2015. Bottom line? If your emails aren’t optimized for mobile, people won’t be able to open them or even know who you are.
One of the best ways to fix this is to use large text that is easy to read and make sure the buttons are spread out enough that people don’t accidentally click on the wrong one. Use very clearly defined colors and try to not get too fancy with your graphics.
2. Link to Social Profile
By this point, everyone should have an account on at least one social media profile, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Pinterest. This is not only a great way to network with other industry professionals, but it can also keep you abreast of any news that you and your company may want to know about.
Believe it or not, the people that you interact with through e-mail may also want to connect with you on social media, so make sure you put linked icons at the bottom of your signature. Using icons instead of text takes up less space and gives your recipients a visual to focus on instead of processing words, which takes the brain longer to do so. Try to cap the number of profiles to five, as more than that will look cluttered.
3. Prioritize Information
Not all words are created equal, so when writing your email signature banner, focus on the information that is most important for your recipient to see and position that at the top. Guide your reader’s eyes from your name, which should always be at the top, and then choose pertinent information from there to go underneath it. Your name should be bolded, with the contact info directly underneath. Attach a link to your personal or company website, with the social media icons directly underneath it. Try not to get too fancy with various color schemes or else you’ll confuse your readers more than actually informing them.
4. Ask them to Do Something
If you have something you’d like to promote, even if it’s a company blog, include a call-to-action at the end of the email signature banner. While some people go over the top and make their CTA bigger than even their own name, try to make yours as non-intrusive as possible. Also, make sure it’s current; there’s nothing more unprofessional than asking people to check out a website that doesn’t exist.
CTA’s are a great way to drive extra traffic to a campaign that you’re specifically pushing at that time, so check in on it whenever you have something new to promote. Videos and images work great too. Be creative, but remember to keep it simple.
5. Don’t Go Overboard with Design
If you’ve ever seen a five-year-old with a paint set, you know what color overload looks like. You don’t want that in your signature. While colors are nice to add and can do wonders for building up your brand, too many colors can be distracting and make your e-mail appear childish. Best practices are to keep it to a few colors at most, in addition to simple, black text, and keep the scheme consistent.
Also, if you have a lot of information, or just prefer to make the signature more horizontal than vertical, consider using dividing lines to break up the text. Placing a straight, bold line between your icons and contact information or a border around your picture is a great way to signal a definite break between various pieces of information.
6. Track Outbound Links
Not only are e-mails a great way to communicate with clients and customers, but they’re also fantastic for doing some laissez-faire market research on what they’re interested in as well. Make sure your social media links are trackable so that you know which platforms your clients prefer and track the results of different CTA’s to see which ones they’re engaging with. This information will be vital when you start running paid advertisements, or when it’s time to promote something else.
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