Nobody loves email signatures as much as we do. We get it.
But with your average team member sending over 10,000 one-to-one emails per year, employee email signatures are likely one of the most viewed versions of your brand. Naturally, you want those signatures to be perfect.
This guide will get you there.
That’s a bold promise, so let’s set some ground rules:
Now let’s get into it.
If your email signature is such an important reflection of your brand, then its design should be all about you, right?
You’ve got to start with your audience in mind.
Who is your target audience?
While you want the logo, colors, and fonts to speak to your brand, you want to cater the elements of your email signature to the recipient. This is an opportunity to maximize your brand impression.
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent. What do your buyers want?
Well, they might need to save your contact information, so a vCard would come in handy.
And at some point they’ll probably want to book a showing with you, so make sure to include your calendar link.
Take a look at how much more valuable this signature becomes when you go beyond basic contact info:
What action do you want to drive?
Some elements of your signature convey a potential action. For example, if you include your phone number, expect people to use it to call you. For this reason, it might make sense to group signature designs by department (easily handled in Opensense). This way you can guide communication to the right channels.
If, for instance, your technical support team only handles tickets via email and chat, they can exclude their phone number from their signatures, while your salespeople might choose to keep their business and mobile phone numbers in their signature.
Your signature’s never going to hang in the Guggenheim, but you still don’t want it to become an eyesore. Here’s how you make sure to deliver a beautiful signature every time:
Your recipients should clearly understand who the sender is, what their role is within your company, and how to contact them.
Your email signature is a great place to showcase your brand colors or even font.
Pro tip: Stick to 2 or 3 colors at most, and vary the weight and size of text rather than choosing several different fonts.
Check out this gorgeous example of brand colors carried throughout the signature, including social media icons.
If you plan to use custom fonts, be sure to use one that’s web-safe. If you don’t, it might not render correctly on all email clients. (Remember, it’s about what they see, not what you see. Even if it looks great on Gmail or Outlook, your clients and prospects might be using something totally different.)
Here are some examples you might like, organized by style:
Headshots in email signatures are making a comeback and for good reason. For one, they help remote teams create human connections despite the distance. They also help your prospects, customers, and partners see the person behind the email. Before you decide to include headshots in your signatures, do a quick audit of the headshots and the process of managing them first.
While they do not have to be taken by a professional, they should look crisp, clean, and professional. Selfies are great for Instagram, but you might want to leave them off your corporate email.
Social media icons give people another way to engage with your brand. But be careful not to overload your signature - try to stay near a maximum of 4 icons.
Here’s an example from our customer, Mulesoft:
Has your business won any awards recently? Your signature is a great place to highlight these to build trust and credibility, setting you apart from your competition.
While we’re obsessed with email signatures, sometimes it’s best when they go unnoticed.
When you reply to an email or forward an email along to someone else, it’s a good idea to shorten the signature template you use. Cut out any unnecessary details like contact information that appears earlier in the thread.
This way you won’t clutter the email feed or overload users with too much information during the back and forth email exchanges.
With email, what’s sent can’t be unsent.
Without proper legal protection, some email communication can leave your business open to legal action. Consider adding a disclaimer to every email your organization sends.
Email disclaimers are that block of text found at the very bottom of an email - below your signature and your ad banner. These bad boys give legal protection and demonstrate regulatory compliance and email best practice for various geographies, industries, and functions. We share some more information about disclaimers here.
The most common disclaimer practices include:
There are a few ways to add disclaimers to emails, but make sure you aren’t asking your employees to add the disclaimer themselves. If it gets done at all, it can result in inconsistent or incorrect information displayed across thousands of emails.
Email Ad Banners are those banner blocks found beneath or alongside the email signature ( check our Earth Day banner above). It’s also one of the latest marketing channels that you are most likely...not using.
Why use email ad banners? The short answer: because they work.
Based on our stats, email ad banners have received between 4 - 7% CTR on average. This is a 5x to 15x higher engagement rate than retargeted advertising and 50x to 150x higher than standard display ads.
Here’s an excellent example of an email ad banner our customer, Dynamic Yield, deployed last year.
Possibly the coolest thing about email ad banners is that, similar to your average ad banners; you can integrate them within your CRM to create customer segments and launch targeted advertising right in your customer’s inbox. Keep in mind that these campaigns launched in a human-to-human channel where organic conversations to customers, partners, and prospects are already happening—not convinced? Check out our ROI breakdown.
Banner Size & Best Practices:
Banner resolution pro tip:
Check out some more examples of some of our favorite email ad banners:
Test, Test, and Test
Even once you’ve crafted your email signature, your work still isn’t finished. You might think you’ve built the perfect email signature, but only testing can tell you the truth. Each email client and device has its quirks and you’ll likely want to optimize for both.
Well, there you have it! Now that you know how to build out the best email signature for your team, your one step closer to building a unified brand, targeting your audience, and capturing more leads.
Be sure to follow these best practices and design tips to make the most of everyday emails and if you need some more info, feel free to download the best practices guide where we break down some of the most important components for your team.
If you need support or help to finalize your design, be sure to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.