Your email signature is a key facet in identifying yourself to your friends, colleagues, and prospects in the digital arena. Email signatures are often referred to because they include the best contact information for you – or do they?

My email signature is simple without being an entire directory of information on how to reach out to me: I have my name, my job title, phone number, and email.

I once got an email with only two words: “Sounds great.” It sounds simple enough, but for whatever reason, the scroll bar in my browser appeared. What else am I having to scroll for?

Oh. The CVS receipt version of an email signature. Of course. The email signature that appeared in front of me displayed multiple fonts, colors, quotations, testimonials, outdated graphics, and a multitude of phone numbers with differing area codes. It seemed completely unnecessary. If I wanted to contact John Smith, I should have the most pertinent information in front of me, and only the pertinent information in front of me. Let me elaborate:

Your Name: Your name should be listed as your preferred name. Your first name is Charles, but maybe you prefer to go by Chuck or Charlie. Your prospect wants to communicate in the best way possible, and they shouldn’t be hung up on what to call you.

Your Job Title and Email Address: It may seem redundant to put your email in an email signature, but it’s important because you may not know the final destination of said email. Your email and its signature could be forwarded along to decision-makers or other heads of a business, and they’ll want to know how to get in touch with you or others if you aren’t the person they’re intending to speak with.

Phone Number: This is a big one. Only list the best phone number to reach you at. You don’t want to list an entire register of phone numbers as if you’re leaving little Jimmy at home with a babysitter for the first time. Don’t include numbers that get routed to call centers, or numbers operated by an automated system. You also don’t want to list a fax number because you’re already on email, and if we’ve learned anything from bad Morgan Freeman crime movies from the 1990s, there’s nothing scarier than receiving an surprise fax from an unknown sender.

Additional Text and Graphics: A testimonial or a quote from the founder of your business is appropriate, but only if it doesn’t read like a book of testimonials or quotes. Make sure your additional text and graphics are the best you have to showcase. A low-resolution graphic of your company’s logo looks sloppy, and multiple testimonials can make you seem desperate.

Advertising: Email signatures can morph over time due to the holiday season or because you have an offer that wasn’t previously available. A simple “Happy Holidays from XYZ Company” message in your signature for the month of December is polite and cheerful, but if your message is along the lines of ‘HEY GUYS RIGHT NOW WE HAVE THIS EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR THE HOLIDAYS AND WE KNOW THIS MESSAGE IS IN ALL CAPS BUT WE DECIDED TO MAKE ALL OF OUR LETTERS UPPERCASE SO THAT YOU KNOW THERE’S SOMETHING ELSE TO READ IN THIS EMAIL SIGNATURE” you may want to forgo email all together. A simple “check out our holiday offers” link will do just fine.

Social Media: If you have links to social media, feel free to use them in your signature to help build your web presence. However, stick to using the “Big Four” in regards to the links you share: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Unless your business directly handles digital photography or video services, don’t link Instagram, Vine, or any other service specializing in tiny dogs or comedians.

Signatures are just that: a signature. When you sign a check, you don’t include the best thing anyone has ever said about you and a little drawing of your logo on the memo line. A simple John Hancock can go a lot further than you may think.

Liz Donehue
Prospectr Marketing