Many organizations don’t get as much value as they might out of the lowly email signature. They are typically created, configured and set by the IT department, so they are not given a second thought. Surprisingly, as the Anatomy Of An Email Signature infographic below illustrates, only 52% of professionals actually use an email signature, showing how little thought is really given to this under-appreciated aspect of email marketing.
[Tweet “INFOGRAPHIC: Only 52% of professionals actually use an email signature #EmailMarketing”]
We recently updated our own email signatures, providing me an opportunity to share some email signature best practices with you.
First, let’s take a look at our email signature before we updated it:
As you can see, we employed a fairly straightforward, traditional format. We separated the body of the email from the signature with the traditional dual dashes. And we include nearly all the elements that are most commonly included:
- Name – 70%
- Landline Phone – 60%
- Organization – 58%
- Organizational Role – 43%
- Email Address – 39%
- Postal Address – 29%
We did not include an email address because that seems redundant. If you are looking at our email signature, that means you’ve received an email from us, so you obviously know our email address. We had included our fax number, which is no longer frequently used in our profession.
We included a link to our website followed by our logo.
Here’s what our updated email signature looks like:
As you can see, we re-arranged some of the elements and added a few new ones. Let’s examine each element separately.
Logos In Email Signatures
We used the lion image from our logo to made it an eye-catching focal point of the signature. People are visual creatures, so images grab our attention and we consume visual information instantaneously.
We use the enlarged lion image to draw attention to the email signature. With the lion’s head pointing at the signature block, email recipients’ eyes will be drawn to the information in the signature itself.
Be sure to host the images you plan to include in your email signature remotely at a URL that will not change to ensure your images display consistently.
Names In Email Signatures
Standard practice in email signatures is to bold the sender’s name, and we do that. But as you can see, we have added a hyperlink to our names. We launched this blog last Summer, so we wanted to put our updated email signatures to work in service of the content we are creating.
Therefore, the hyperlink for each of our names leads to our author pages on the blog, so our email recipients can click the link to get a list of all of our individual blog posts. This tactic will not only create awareness for our blog content but also reinforce our own individual areas of expertise.
Another common way organizations hyperlink names is by pointing them to biography pages.
Organization Name, Title, Address & Phone Number In Email Signatures
This information is standard fare for email signatures.
As a public relations agency, it is especially important that the media we interact with know who we are, our roles, and always have a telephone number where they can reach us at a moment’s notice. You can see we’ve removed the fax number to save space, since it is seldom used these days.
Other industries may be different; regulated industries, for example, that require certain documents be faxed to governmental bodies may want to keep their fax number in the signature.
Organizations that have only a website and no blog, will often link to that website from the company name.
Links To Website & Blog In Email Signatures
You can see that we link to our website, our blog, and our newsletter as well.
- The website link goes to our home page, where visitors can get a quick take on who we are.
- The blog link obviously goes to our blog, where visitors can see our most recent posts.
- And the newsletter link goes to our signup page, where visitors can subscribe.
Even if recipients don’t click on these links, their very inclusion in our email signature builds awareness that we publish a blog and an email newsletter.
Social Media Icons In Email Signatures
Finally, we added social media icons to the bottom of our email signature.
Just as with our lion image, we used social media icons rather than simple text links so as to catch the eye and allow recipients to instantaneously consume the information.
- The orange RSS icon links to our blog.
- The black email icon links to our newsletter page.
- And the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn icons link to our respective pages on those social channels.
Again, the mere inclusion of social media icons builds awareness that we are active on those channels. Twitter is particularly important for us because it is an essential channel for journalists and editors. Given the volume of email we exchange with members of the media, our email signatures are likely to drive followership among reporters.
Finally, we begin and end with images. We start our email signature with our lion logo and draw the recipient’s eye through the signature information to the social icons. Our email signature is designed to prompt the eye from the beginning to the end of our signature block.
Email Signature Tracking
Lastly, we track the links from our email signatures to our website and blog via Google Analytics by using Google’s URL Builder tool to tag links. Prateek Agarwal has put together a helpful How To guide for using the Google URL Builder.
We do this so that we can understand the volume and type of traffic to our website our individual email correspondence generates.
I’ll leave you with this infographic that illustrates the various elements of email signatures.
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