Emails are still the official online communication channel. Billions of messages are exchanged every day. While there is no convention about the composition of casual messages that you exchange with friends, business emails usually follow certain unwritten rules and recommendations, such as how to address the other party properly, or what content to include in the message body. In this article, we will look at one part of the email messages that is often neglected – the signature. Whether you use a standard hosting plan and send emails occasionally, or you use an email-only service and exchange emails with other people on a large scale, you should pay attention to the details when you send messages to clients or partners.
Many people simply add “Best regards” in the end of a message, others try to fit as much information as possible in their signature. Below, you will see some Dos and Don’ts that you can follow if you want to create a good signature. This way, it will stand out and will give your partners all the information they need without being too obtrusive. An email signature should look professional as it will be your digital business card. An inappropriate or a missing signature will leave a bad impression, and this is not something you want.
- Add your picture. This isn’t something common, but adding a small photo in your email signature will show the other side they are talking to a person, not a bot. A small, professional photo will build trust in the email recipient.
- Add social media links. There is no doubt that social media are important these days. If an email will be your first contact with a potential partner/client, they may want to find out what other people think about your products or just to find out more about your business apart from looking at your website. Add a few social media buttons to save space, and do not add full links unless they are short and easy to remember. Do not add too many links either, two or three will suffice.
- Include your full name and position. When you send a message to a client or a partner, they should know who you are. Add your full name, not a short name or a nickname people know you by. Mention your exact position in the company, so that the other side knows who they are talking to and what matters they can discuss with you.
- Add your phone number. Online communication suggests exchanging emails or chatting, but some people may prefer to contact you on the phone. They may prefer this method of communication or they may not be able to reply to your email in written form for some reason. This is why, you should always have your phone number listed in your signature.
- Use colors (but not too much). While this is not something universal, in the general case you can use a couple of solid colors to make your signature visually appealing and to make some elements stand out. Of course, don’t overuse colors as your signature may become unreadable. A good approach is to use the same colors as the ones in your company/brand logo.
- Add your brand name and/or logo. The more people see your brand name or logo in a non-intrusive way, the better. This will increase your brand recognition. If you add a logo, make sure it is not too large and it fits well with the other elements in the signature, including your own picture.
No logo? No problem.
- Preview your signature in mobile view. More and more people use a phone or a tablet to check their emails. Make sure that your signature looks good at least with the most common screen resolutions. If the signature is not mobile-friendly, all your messages may look unprofessional on mobile devices.
- Choose the right closing. While “Love” is a great way to end a personal email, any business communication should end in a professional way. Surprisingly, “Best regards” is not always the best choice. If you expect a reply, using “Thank you (in advance)” is the best. Such a closing will be more likely to motivate the other site to reply to you.
- Test it. Make sure that you preview your signature on different devices, double-check for spelling mistakes, check if all links work properly. Misspelled words or links that open an error page will look extremely unprofessional.
- Don’t add a full image instead of text. Some people may have blocked the display of images in their email clients, so they will never see your signature if it consists of only one large image. If you do use images, add an ALT text attribute in the HTML code. This is a short description that will appear instead of the image if displaying images is blocked:
<img src="image.jpg" alt="The image information goes here" width="500" height="600">
- Don’t include your email address. While a business card should include at least a couple of contact options (phone, email, fax, instant messenger), adding an email address in an email signature will be a waste of space. If your partners and clients read your email, they can see your email address.
- Don’t add too much information. If you want to add links to a website, a blog and a social media account, for example, it may be better to add a few icons instead of several long links. If you have too much information in the signature, it is likely that people will not bother to read it.
- Don’t add irrelevant information. While some people suggest the opposite, it is not a good idea to add irrelevant content in your signature. If you want to inform your clients and partners about an upcoming event, to promote some content or to offer a service trial, your signature is not the place for that. Keeping the signature simple is what makes it look professional.
- Don’t use animation. This is valid for almost any part of an email or a website. Flashing text or animations are a distraction and they can be quite annoying.
- Don’t use different fonts. Mixing fonts will make your signature look unprofessional. After all, your signature will be one of the first things people will see when you communicate with them, so it is not the place to try to be original. This is a good place to mention that if you run a company, you should make sure that all employees use the same template for their signatures.
- Don’t add quotations. Some people are tempted to add a witty phrase or a quotation in their signature. As good as the phrase may be, this is not where it should be, unless it is a part of your brand name or it is somehow relevant to your email.
- Don’t use bullets. They can be rendered differently by different applications, so they can break your signature. Instead, you should use a transparent table that will give you more control.
Following the tips above will make your emails look more professional and stylish. This can drive additional traffic to your website and social media profiles, and boost your brand awareness. A good signature will also leave a positive impression on everybody you communicate with.
There are different ways to create a signature. If you know HTML, you can write the code from scratch. You can also use the text editor of your favorite email client, if one is available. Alternatively, you can use a signature generator. You will find lots of generators online and you will see a few of them below. Do not use text editors such as MS Word, even if they have an option to export the content as HTML, because they add unnecessary code, which may affect the way your signature looks in different webmail and desktop email clients.
- https://www.hubspot.com/email-signature-generator - a great tool that will allow you to create a signature in a few simple clicks. You can select one of a few templates, add your images, names and social links, then just copy the HTML code that the platform generates.
- https://webapp.wisestamp.com/editor - another tool that is very easy to use. It comes with several templates to choose from. It brands the signature, but you can remove the branding since you will be able to edit the HTML code the tool generates.
- https://signature-generator.com/email-signature-generator/ - one more generator that you can use for free. It is easy to use and you can preview your changes in real time.
Adding a signature in email clients
Once you have created a signature, the only thing left is to add it to the webmail or desktop application you use. Some applications come with a text editor you can use to edit the code; others only allow you to paste text or code in a box, without any editing options. We have listed a few popular applications below, so you can see how you can quickly add your signature in them, provided that you have created it with an online generator or in some other way. If you have a hosting plan with ICDSoft, you will see how you can add a signature in Roundcube or Webmail Classic – the two webmail options we offer with all our hosting packages.
- Roundcube (webmail) - Log in to your mailbox and go to Settings -> Identities, select the identity you want to edit, and you will see the Signature box. You can enable an HTML editor with a click, so you can create your signature or paste the code for an already generated one.
- Webmail Classic (webmail) - When you log in to our Webmail, go to Options -> General options. There, you can paste your signature in HTML, or plain text. You can select whether the code you paste to be treated as HTML or as plain text.
- Horde (webmail) - Go to Preferences -> Mail -> Personal Information. The application offers you the option to create an HTML signature or a text one. If the former is not set, the latter will be used by default.
- Gmail / G Suite (webmail) - If you use G Suite with a custom domain name for your mailboxes, you should go to Settings -> See all settings -> General, and click on Signature -> Create new. You can create multiple signatures and set a different one for new message and for replies/forwards. If you use Gmail as an email client to check your messages from other mailboxes, you can create a separate signature for each one.
- Yahoo (webmail) - Log in and go to Settings -> More settings -> Writing email. You can enable the signature option and a text box will appear, so you can paste the HTML code for your signature.
- Outlook (webmail) - You will find the option in Settings -> View all Outlook settings -> Compose and reply. You will find a rich text editor and options to use the signature only for new messages, only for replies and forwards, or both.
- Outlook (desktop) - Select to compose a new message and click on Message -> Signature -> Signatures. You can create multiple signatures and select which one to be used for new messages and replies. You can also download about 20 email templates for MS Word that you can use for Outlook: https://templates.office.com/en-us/email-signature-gallery-TM55682965.
- Thunderbird (desktop) - Open the application and go to Tools -> Account Settings. Click on the mailbox you want to edit in the left pane, and you will see the Signature box in the right pane. Thunderbird allows you to paste HTML code, or to load a file to be used as a signature (HTML, text, image). It doesn’t have a rich text editor.
- Apple Mail (desktop) - open the application and go to Mail -> Preferences -> Signatures. You can add your signature there. Similar to other apps, Apple Mail does not have a rich text editor, so you will have to paste code you have generated elsewhere.
The subject and the content of an email message are important, but you should not neglect your signature either. Many people create one without giving it much thought. The email signature is your digital business card, so you should spend enough time to create the perfect one. Add your picture and contact information, but keep it short and don’t use funny fonts or flashing images. If you believe you don’t have the skills, you can use a signature generator and following our tips above, you can add the signature to your favorite webmail or desktop email application.