Email signatures are a quiet but powerful tool in the business world. They appear at the bottom of every single email you and every other member of your company send. Every client, lead, customer, and contact see what is in the email signature, making it a subtle but important marketing asset and a useful way to convey helpful company information.
Given the opportunity, many employees will build a promotional signature of their own to encourage contacts to reach out or show a little brand representation in the signature design. This is great for visibility and for the most part, you absolutely want your employees using their signatures for the betterment of the brand. But do you really want every employee writing their own unique signature?
Not All Signatures are Created Equal
If you think about it for a minute, the answer is most likely 'no'. While it would be wonderful if your employees were all great signature designers, never made typos, and were always on-message, you can pretty much guarantee that they won't be. There always will be someone who has misrepresented the company - typically by accident - through a misconfigured signature. This means that rather than promoting your business effectively through their signature, they are creating confusion and possibly even a liability issue every single time they send an email.
Fortunately, there is a software solution to this problem: email signature management. By connecting to your business email system, you can centrally and easily manage employee email signatures in a way that will keep them accurate, up to date, and in line with your current brand image. Not sure yet? Let's take a look at six very good reasons to manage your company's email signatures (and why you shouldn't leave it to chance).
1) Typos, Misspellings, and Wrong Phone Numbers
The first and perhaps most minor concern about allowing employees to take charge of their own work signatures is the fact that not everyone is machine-accurate when typing a message that will appear thousands of times in the inboxes of coworkers, clients, and friends. Misspelling the company name, their own name, or key contact information can cause a lot of confusion and, potentially, some very angry customers. A single digit transposed in a phone number can lead to missed connections at best and lost clients at the worst.
2) Outdated Information
Of course, even if employees build a functional and error-free signature for themselves, this doesn't mean that you're safe. It's all too easy to build your signature once and forget about it for years if your own personal circumstances don't seem to change. However, the information in the signature could change and it would never occur to most employees to update their email sign-off. This information could lead to wrong phone numbers or addresses, outdated campaigns or promotions, and even suggesting that people are in work positions they no longer hold. Sending around this type of outdated information could negatively impact customer satisfaction, client trust, and overall company credibility.
3) Going Off-Brand
Some employees will get excited and write their own business promotion inside their signatures. They may invite clients to reach out to them, share a catchy brand slogan or inspirational quote, or otherwise get creative with how they build their signatures. While it's great that employees want to promote the company, you can't always guarantee that their choice of promotion will be consistent with your intended brand message. Whether they're still using your old company motto from five years ago or their wording suggests a service you don't actually offer, it's risky to allow employees to promote the business without at least a small amount of oversight.
4) Promoting Other Businesses
Another issue is the fact that many people have more than one financial interest. From Etsy stores to volunteer programs, your employees may feel compelled to promote various projects in their work email signature. Generally speaking, these employees have no malicious intent in doing so, as to them it seems like no big deal. However, there are few things more unprofessional than promoting an unaffiliated business or a personal venture from their business email account, especially when communicating with clients or business partners.
5) Not Safe For Work Content
A truly horrifying option, that doesn't happen often but does happen, is when an employee decides to use their work email signature to share a joke, image, or other content that is distinctly NSFW or Not Safe For Work. This NSFW content could be anything from family information to off-color jokes or even inappropriate images. If they choose to do this, emails coming out of your company will be carrying this content with every message sent. With no oversight over business email signatures, your company and brand could be associated with unsavory content that could impact your company reputation, credibility, and bottomline.
6) Violating Compliance
Finally, never underestimate the harm that unauthorized employee messages can do to your regulation compliance. From violating the GDPR to creating PCI security risks by sharing too much inside information, even well-meaning employees who thought they were being careful can put your business at risk for liability suits, fines, and sanctions for breaking compliance.
Employees almost never intend to cause problems when they build an individual email signature for their work email address, but problems can and do occur despite their best intentions. If you're interested in taking intelligent and organized control over your company email signatures, give us a shout. We'd love to show you how easy it is to get started!