The Top 10 Email Signature Branding DOs & DON’Ts
Brought to you by Exclaimer
Let’s face it, if you were sent an email that had appalling email signature branding, would you think highly of the organization that sent it? You need to apply the same care to your email signature as you do with every other aspect of your corporate branding.
1. DO treat emails like all other forms of corporate communications
Professional email signature branding is designed to reflect a company’s ethos and credibility. When a signature is designed well, it easily promotes your brand in a positive manner.
We recommend going beyond using one uniform email signature template and varying your branding according to the sender’s department, i.e. give customer services one signature and the sales team another.
2. DON’T let everyone design their own email signature
Create an email signature policy and enforce it so everyone uses the same email signature branding. Otherwise, end users could present incorrect contact information, use their own personal branding, and do reputational damage to your organization.
If in doubt, use a dedicated email signature management solution so users can’t modify the design. You’ll then be assured that all employees will always have the right email signature branding.
3. DO use brand guidelines to inform your signature design
Any email that reaches someone who is not part of your company gives an immediate representation of what you stand for. The quality of your email signature branding plays a large part of this. A substandard design will mean a substandard organization in the eyes of many people.
Having a branded email signature accompanied by your company logo and contact information makes you look legitimate and helps to build brand recognition among your contacts.
4. DON’T use custom fonts
Some people think that choosing a ‘fun’ font is a great way to showcase their individuality in an email signature. Invariably, it just makes them, and their organization, look very amateurish.
You should always choose a font that closely matches the message body of your emails. If your organization uses Verdana, this should be the font you use in your signature.
In any case, choose a clean font that is easy to read such as Tahoma, Arial or Sans-Serif (no Comic-Sans!). Also, don’t make the font size bigger than 12 points to ensure easier visibility.
5. DO code signatures properly
Make sure you use a web designer to code your branded email signature template in HTML. However, be aware that signatures don’t work like a web page, so should not be designed in the same way. If you run a small business and no one knows HTML, create a plain text signature instead.
Also, make sure to do lots of testing before deploying the signature companywide. An email signature that works in Gmail might not necessarily look the same in Outlook or on an iOS device.
6. DON’T make your signature a full image
Unless you are using email signature software, don’t design your signatures as a full image. A branded email signature design like this can cause messages to get marked as spam due to the image-to-text ratio being too low. It will also cause you numerous problems when you need to update the template at a later date.
Also, images increase the file size of an email, which also increase the time it takes for a recipient to open your messages. This could cause complications if some of them have slow Internet connections.
7. DO embed or host any signature images
If you want to include images such as social media icons, either embed them directly into the design or host them externally. Don’t just copy and paste them directly into your template!
If you aren’t sure which method to use, consider how your recipients view the messages you send them. If a large percentage use email clients like Outlook, then use embedded images. If, however, you know that a lot of recipients view emails on mobile devices, use hosted imagery instead.
In either case, never forget to add the appropriate Alt Text for all images. This way, if a recipient is unable to view them, they will at least know what they represent.
8. DON’T forget about mobiles
Over 50% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. This means your branded email signature needs to be optimized for smartphones and tablets. If a recipient can’t easily put their thumb on a link in your email signature, your message might get deleted.
Also, reading speed on a mobile tends to be slower than on a computer. This means you'll want to use a font with a point size of 11 to 14. In the end, usability has to take precedence over design.
9. DON’T include irrelevant information like quotes
No one is interested in any personal quote you put at the bottom of your email signature. A quote should only ever be used if it is representative of your brand strategy and values.
It’s important to note that not all people’s values align with your own. You could very easily end up offending someone by mistake. Most of the time, you’ll just end up annoying people, which will not be your intention.
10. DO keep your email signature branding simple
An email signature really doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to have a clean design, look as professional as possible, and be easy to read. Once you’ve got this right, you include additional elements such as display banners for marketing campaigns and social media icons.
If all else fails, reach out to Exclaimer. We’re the market leaders in email signature software and we can help you take away the pain of email signature management. We’ve even written the official Email Signatures for Dummies guide, so we know our stuff!
If you're looking for an easy way to design and manage professional email signatures across your whole organization, we're here to help. Find out more or start your free trial today!