05.18.09

The Ins and Outs of Email Signature Etiquette

In 7th grade I took a Typing class where I learned the proper way to sign a business letter, the content for letterhead and the way to cc: and add "enclosures." I wonder if 7th graders now are learning the proper content for an email signature - and whether I can send some of my contemporaries to the class for a day or two. Without knowing Mrs. Vaughn's availability, I thought I could offer some of my own advice. If it's old hat for you, then you're excused from class:
 
Don't use an image in your signature.
There are several reasons why -- (1) it can come across as an attachment, rather than embedded in the email. Emails with attachments are treated differently by email browsers creating confusion for the recipient. (2) The recipient is unable to copy the text, which is in your image, making it an ineffective way to share information in the digital age.

Standardize the company's email signatures.
The most prolific advertising you do everyday is the email sent by you and your employees. With email signature standardization, you are able to solidify your brand identity in the minds of your clients, prospects and suppliers that you email regularly.

Include extensive content in your signature.
You should expect your emails to be forwarded within and outside of the companies you are emailing. While the recipient of the email may have all of your contact information, whoever receives the forward may not. By including every way of contacting you, you help the recipient set up a Contact record for you in their address book, as well as reach you in whatever way they prefer. My email signature includes the following:
Stafford (because I sign all of my emails with first name only - it's part of my brand to be casual)

--

Stafford Kendall (because not everyone knows my last name)
Principal (because it's my title)

COVALENT logic (to illustrate the capitalization we use for the company)
Identity | Advertising | Interactive (because not everyone knows what we do)

225.389.1010 office (so you can call me)
225.389.1079 facsimile (because sometimes you need to fax me)
225.205.0090 mobile (so you can reach me anytime)

635 Main Street, Studio 1 (because it's nice to receive snail mail)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801

stafford@covalentlogic.com (in case my email is stripped in the forward)
www.covalentlogic.com (so you can check out my Web site)
Toggle the signature off for replies.
In order to reduce the length of email strings, you should toggle the automatic placement of the signature off for replies. Occasionally, you may need to paste your signature onto a reply, when it makes sense.

Have multiple signatures.
I use a signature for committee and board work that's different than my primary corporate signature. I also have a "mini-signature" that contains only the most essential information:
Stafford Kendall
COVALENT logic, 635 Main Street  Studio 3, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801

225.389.1010 office
225.389.1079 facsimile
225.205.0090 mobile
Class dismissed.

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