An E-mail has become a communication hub for businesses. It will most likely be the channel to contact your prospective customers and your go-to vehicle for conducting daily conversations with existing clients.
Therefore, your e-mail signature is as important as anything. However, it is an often overlooked extension of your brand. Just as you would avoid mailing a letter printed on old paper stock, you should pay equal attention to making and implementing a standardized company e-mail signature.
While the e-mail signature serves you as your electronic business card, it doesn’t abide by the same branding rules that govern your website design, stationery, or even participation in social media networks.
So, the following are five misconceptions that can confuse you when making your e-mail signature:
1. If I have to represent my brand, then a logo is a must.
As per traditional thinking, your company’s logo and brand are the same. However, as absurd as it may seem, it is preferable not to include the logo in your e-mail signature. For instance, if you are an electronic components distributor, you can’t include a circuit board in your e-signature.
Why? Because it becomes difficult to control how images are displayed by multiple e-mail clients. Many e-mail applications either save images as attachments or block them. This results in a broken image.
Therefore, if you make your signature keeping logo in your mind, that image is not displayed. It compromises the professionalism and consistency that you are trying to achieve.
The best alternative is to attach your corporate colors in your e-mail signature. For instance, you may choose your company name to display in one of your corporate colors. That will make it a more prominent element while employing one of the primary elements of your visual brand.
2. Personality! It’s all about personality, right?
In marketing, it’s all about personality. On Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you can’t get anywhere without personality. However, in terms of e-mail, you need to make sure your messages are personable and friendly. However, keep your e-mail signature strictly professional.
The only purpose of an e-mail signature is to force the recipient to know who sent the message. Also, provide them a way to get in touch with you. You may think it will be fun to include a quotation in every e-mail. However, in doing so, you carry the risk of offending a prospect or client.
Also, never include non-company information in your corporate signature. Avid giving link to your personal blog, URL of your side-project website, Twitter, Facebook, or Skype details. If you do so, you will be asking for trouble.
3. It’s vital to create a lasting impression.
The only impression your e-mail signature can make is of professionalism. If your customers remember your signature and not the message, there’s a problem.
Don’t get tempted to experiment with bold, large, or multi-colored text. Don’t try the typeface from your brand logo. More often than not, it will not be displayed by the recipient’s e-mail client. Go for plain, simple, web-safe fonts in the same size as your message body. You can’t go wrong in this way.
Coming back to the example of mailing a letter, there is a reason why you can’t print your correspondence on multi-colored fluorescent paper. Similar to letterhead, your signature must reflect the gravity and legitimacy of your business-related communication. It must never compete with your message or the information you need to convey.
4. I have to make sure my clients can reach me by each and every means available.
There’s no doubt great client service gives you a key competitive edge in today’s marketplace. It’s understandable to giving your customers your cell phone, direct office line, IM handle, fax number, and LinkedIn profile is important to convey you are accessible at their convenience through any given channels.
However, the best way to serve your customers is to give the one contact method through which they can reach you always. Rather than jumping around dozen of different communication means, it will be right to park them in one solid area.
As a rule, you are not bound to include your fax number or mailing address in your e-mail signature. In an unlikely event, your client needs to send you something by mail or fax, you can include this information in your message body, or they can visit your website, where the details should be readily available.
5. I want to grab traffic to my blog / I should encourage people to follow me on Twitter or I should promote a limited-time offer.
These are perfect marketing objectives. However, you should always bear in mind that e-mail is the foremost platform for communication between human beings.
You wouldn’t conclude a telephone conversation with your customer by asking them to be your Facebook friend. Also, you won’t wrap up a sales meeting by making a blatant plug for your blog. Don’t take your emails as billboards for your marketing message; always keep it professional.
Including a website URL in your signature is a good way to promote your business indirectly. If your prospect or customer clicks through to your website, they should be greeted before they leave the cover page.