The 5 Limitations of Free Email Signature Generators
Brought to you by Exclaimer
Regarding email signatures, two of the most common search terms are « free email signature generator » and « email signature software. »
They sound exactly the same. After all, they are both designed to create email signature templates. However, when it comes to deploying signatures on an organizational level, there are distinct differences between a « generator » over « software. »
What is a free email signature generator?
An email signature generator is a tool that lets someone create a professional email signature template without writing HTML code or being a graphic designer. There are many free email signature generators to choose from online, but they all work the same way.
You choose a pre-designed email signature template from a library and then add the following:
6. Any other calls-to-action (CTAs)
It is now possible to create a signature template without an email signature generator. However, designing email signatures is much more complicated than many think and can often not render the way you expect.
This is the main reason why so many decide to use a free email signature generator. Once you have created your design, you push it to your email client.
The benefits of using an email signature generator
Using a free email signature generator enhances the credibility of your email conversations in the following ways:
1. You convey professionalism
An email signature accompanied by your company logo and contact details makes you look legitimate as a corporate organization. It also helps to build brand recognition among your contacts.
2. People can quickly contact you back
Having all your contact details listed at the bottom of your email makes it easy for recipients to contact you. They won’t have to trawl through your website or search online for your phone number or email address.
3. You can access a new marketing channel
Email signatures are the perfect channel to promote special offers or big news you want to share with a large audience. Adding a simple banner to your current signature will provide you with many marketing opportunities at little cost.
How does email signature software differ?
Email signature software does everything a free email signature generator can but offers much more than simple design functionality. The need for manual updates becomes a thing of the past, and the design process is massively simplified. Once you’ve set up an email signature template, all updates are managed centrally. You can even give ownership of all email signature designs to your marketing department without worrying about this affecting your IT infrastructure.
Email signature software eliminates manual labor and gives companies centralized control over organizational signatures. All this is with fast implementation and a wide range of features at a company’s disposal.
Choosing a free email signature generator or email signature software
Now you might believe that a paid solution offers more than having the ability to create professional email signatures for free. So, with this in mind, let’s look at five ways free email signature generators can’t compete with email signature software.
1. Individual input over central control
An email signature generator will work fine if you’re a small company of about five users. You can design a signature template that everyone manually adds to their email clients. The problem occurs when you try to do this at scale.
You rapidly lose control when you rely on an email signature generator in larger organizations. Giving every person free rein over their email signatures leads to many issues. These include inconsistent branding, problems with contact information, and essential elements getting missed. Free email signature generators also don’t always let you add important content like legal disclaimers.
With an email signature solution, designated admins get the final say over the companywide email signature rather than uninterested end users. You can offer some flexibility by providing a choice of templates while retaining central control of designs and deployment. Editing the signature is managed centrally and won’t require other people to implement or enforce this. This reduces any likelihood of disagreement.
This significantly reduces the strain on IT, which continues to control the information system aspects of signatures. It involves minimal and manageable effort from end users.
2. Standard templates over signature customization
Using a manual method to update email signatures is never easy. Whether arguing with IT or sifting through emails to scan for errors in the signature template, they all pose a significant demand on time. Using a free email signature editor is no exception.
There’s also the question of whether the templates offered within a free email signature generator will comply with your brand guidelines. Branding is essential, and conforming to brand guidelines must impact the design of your email signature. This goes from your company logo to the color palette and font.
These then need to blend with the rest of the signature. This includes any display banners, social media links, and the actual content of the email to achieve the desired impact. But a free signature generator is not designed with your branding in mind. It is intended as a « one size fits all » tool so anyone can create a professional email signature.
This is not the case with a third-party solution. When email signatures can be quickly changed via a central console, you have complete control over how your designs should look. This means they will always comply with your brand guidelines. The levels of customization offered within email signature software outshine free tools in every way possible.
Even better, any amendments and enhancements can be tested before going live. This includes previewing the design, ensuring brand compliance, spell-checks, testing hyperlinks, and specific distribution before deployment. With an email signature generator, you hope it works as intended across all email clients. This is often not the case.
3. Static promotion over a dynamic marketing channel
Marketing never remains in one place. Products change, trends change, and competitors change, so marketing strategy has to keep up constantly. Your company’s marketing output is no different.
Email signatures must be part of that set. In many ways, they’re an ideal channel for agile marketers, as email is the most used medium in business communications.
A free signature editor will let you add links to your website and social media channels. You will probably be able to add a promotional banner that links to a specific landing page or piece of content.
However, without actively micromanaging the signature process, there is no way to ensure this remains timely. You will want new banners and new links to drive better market engagement. How will you do this companywide with a free signature tool?
An email signature solution makes these changes as simple as saving a document, and templates get updated instantly. This way, the marketing department controls email signature template design, messaging, and context.
4. Guesswork over actionable data
A free email signature generator might let you create a well-branded template. However, it won’t give you insight into how the template performs. You could ask everyone to include specific UTM parameters in the URLs you want to use.
However, you’re relying on the goodwill of all your employees to do this. Even small companies would have hundreds of links to embed.
Email signature software lets you glean as much insight from your signature as you do from all your digital marketing. At a minimum, it enables you to add a ‘custom variable’ to every link in each user’s email signature. This could be unique to each staff member or even an email recipient. You can then see the results of this in Google Analytics.
More advanced email signature solutions will offer a fully-fledged analytics suite. This provides a detailed analysis of all signature templates in use. You can also see which emails are being sent with signatures appended to them and which designs are the most effective.
5. Free usage over a proper investment
The time you’ll spend getting everyone to use an email signature generator is far from free. You can’t achieve anything through the email signature channel if you can’t control it. From bungled spellings to an out-of-date banner, if one team doesn’t have overall control, costs will occur.
Email signature software solves these and cuts costs at the same time. The time an IT admin might waste asking users to update an email signature template is significant. It’s even worse if a signature has to be built manually. This could involve complex workarounds or the use of mail transport rules.
An instantly updating signature powered by a third-party solution means no labor cost. Updates are done immediately with a single click. Investing in an email signature solution will save you money compared to using a free signature generator or other management methods.
How to make an email signature management decision
Free email signature generators are useful tools for quickly creating professional email signatures. However, they only really work for an individual user. They are not designed with corporate email signature management in mind.
With email signature software, you have total control over not just signature design but how templates are deployed. You don’t have to hope for users to carry out updates they will most likely ignore. There is no need to paste templates into each user’s email client.
Everything is controlled from one central location designed. And this can be controlled by any department, from IT to Marketing.
At Exclaimer, we believe managing email signatures should be simple. This means you can turn the ending of every email into a valuable new beginning. You can then deliver consistent branding, disclaimers, and user information. And with central management, you can also engage recipients with promotional banners, social media, and 1-click surveys.
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