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The 5 Limitations of Free Email Signature Generators

Brought to you by Exclaimer

When it comes to 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 lots of free email signature generators to choose from online, but they all essentially work in the same way.

You choose a pre-designed email signature template from a library and then add the following:

  1. Contact information (name, company, phone number, email address, etc.)
  2. Social media icons
  3. Promotional banners
  4. Clickable links
  5. Headshot photos
  6. Any other calls-to-action (CTAs)
Basic email signature template created by a free email signature generator

Now it is possible to create a signature template without using an email signature generator. However, designing email signatures is much more difficult 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 then simply 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

Having 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 easily contact you back

Having all of 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 that a free email signature generator can do but offers so much more beyond 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 having to worry about this affecting your IT infrastructure.

Essentially, email signature software eliminates any 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.

Template created by free email signature generator

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

If you’re a small company of about five users, an email signature generator will work fine. 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.

When you rely on an email signature generator in larger organizations, you rapidly lose control. Giving every person free rein over their email signatures leads to many issues. These include inconsistent branding, issues with contact information, and important 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 strain on IT, who continue 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 you’re arguing with IT or sifting through emails to scan for errors in the signature template, they all pose a hefty 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 important 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 designed 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 outshines free tools in every way possible.

Even better, any amendments and enhancements can be tested prior to going live. This includes previewing the design, ensuring brand compliance, spell-checks, testing hyperlinks as well as specific distribution before deployment. With an email signature generator, you pretty much have to hope that it work as intended across all email clients. This is often not the case.

Simple template created by free email signature generator

3. Static promotion over a dynamic marketing channel

Marketing never remains in one place. Products change, trends change, competitors change, so marketing strategy has to constantly keep up. 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 certain 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 in order to drive better market engagement. How will you do this on a companywide level 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 has control over the design, messaging, and context of email signature templates.

4. Guesswork over actionable data

A free email signature generator might let you create a well-branded template. However, it won’t give you any insight into how the template performs. You could ask everyone to include specific UTM parameters in URLs you want use.

However, you’re relying on the goodwill of all your employees to do this. Even very 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 lets you add a ‘custom variable’ to every link in each user’s email signature. This could be unique to each member of staff 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 offers 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 have to spend on 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 a out-of-date banners, 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.

With an instantly updating signature powered by a third-party solution, there’s no labor cost. Updates are done instantly with a single click. By making an investment in an email signature solution, you will actually save money when 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 for 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 on users to carry out updates that 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 that managing email signatures should be simple and straightforward. 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, 1-click surveys, and appointment booking links.

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