Your email signature is a marketing opportunity.
Your original email may be forwarded, or carbon copied to someone who has never heard of your business before. Or, when making first contact with a customer, a professional looking email signature, can create the impression that your business is also professional – and potentially seal the deal.
Make a list of the information to include
Obvious things like, contact phone numbers, email address, website URL, your name and your business name seem like common sense – but it’s amazing how easy it can be to finish your email signature and discover you’ve forgotten something vitally important. As the footer is at the bottom of the email – you can really make it as long as you like. So you can include your products and services – or a latest special offer – or an up-sell for existing customers.
You don’t need to know HTML
I won’t lie to you, a little HTML knowledge will come in handy, but it is not essential. As most businesses use Microsoft Outlook, (which doesn’t believe in listening to your code anyway) Microsoft Word can be used to edit and create an adequate email signature. If you want something really fancy, then you’re going to need some fancy HTML and CSS code.
So where do I start?
Colours, Fonts and Layout. If you already have a branding kit / style guide – then use the colours and fonts specified in there. But bear in mind that not every device will have your specific font – so choose one that’s either very close, or very neutral. Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Verdana and Trebuchet are the most widely supported neutral fonts. They should be able to be viewed on any device. You can view a full list of fonts supported in apple mobile devices, here. Android devices will likely convert your font to theirs anyway, so there is nothing much you can do except to test and see how it will look.
To edit your signature for Outlook 2007, go through the following menus | Message (tab)| Include (group)| Signatures | And finally, click Signatures. You can create, or modify signatures from within here.
To edit your signature for Outlook 2010 & 2013, go through the following menus | create a new Message | Include (group) | Signature | and then click Signatures.
You should arrive at a screen similar to the Office 2010/2013 screen below, where you can create a new signature, edit an existing one and paste your signature from Microsoft Word.
- Images can be inserted using Microsoft Word as per usual. If you are creating a signature in Hotmail, or Gmail – the image needs to be hosted in order to be seen on other computers. (stored on the internet)
- Avoid using background colours and images – as the background won’t stick up against the left hand side of the email window. You can blame Microsoft for that.
- Use tables to layout your design properly if you wish. Remove the borders and background colours.
- Simpler is generally better.
- Including farewell messages like “regards” in your signature can make it obvious that you haven’t written it personally, and can make your emails seem impersonal. It only takes a second to write, and communicate that you value customers.
- When you are happy with your signature in Word, use the keyboard shortcuts, CTRL + A to select all, followed by CTRL + C to copy. Then right click in the signature editing window and select paste.
- To do some really fancy editing, you can edit the HTML file created, in Word directly. (you must have the “edit signature” window open in Outlook for this) Browse to the file at: C:\Users\documents and settings\your-username\App Data\microsoft\signatures\ – and open the *.htm file. Edit it, save it and close Word, and then you can close the edit signature window, inside outlook.
- You can include a “like us on facebook” link in your email, but it is complicated – so talk to me about how I can help with this.
Don’t forget to test your signature. Send it to yourself, and test it on popular email clients. (Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook, Yahoo, iPhone, android phones etc) as each email client reads your signature and displays it differently.
Comment if you have any problems and I’ll answer.