Rarely given much thought in brand creation or marketing efforts, your email signature can sometimes be seen by hundreds of eyeballs on a daily basis. Once you start thinking of this rather minuscule part of your communications a little more strategically, you will see how it can easily turn into an important branding tool with a build-in and engaged audience -- a tool that is personal and, yes, free.
Your signature can further engage current clients and partners or educate potential clients and employees about your brand's mission and culture. Working with entrepreneurs day in day out, I always stress the signature as the most simple, yet most overlooked brand asset. Usually it is being greeted by a "deer in the headlights" type of aha moment, one that I would love to project upon you by sharing five incredibly easy ways to push your brand upwards, while sending your emails outwards:
1. Never use your logo in your email signature.
Naturally we have a desire to showcase our brand identity design (the logo) in our signature. Running a brand consultancy it might catch you even more by surprise that I advise against using your logo in your signature.
Depending on technicalities on your or the receiver’s end, that logo may just end up showing up as an attachment. When your recipient sees two attachments, but only one document, it is a surefire way to confuse her. Not a good message to send and surely not a great way to build your brand.
Instead use generic html fonts to mimic your logo’s color scheme and, if applicable, its type treatment (see example at the tail end of this article). It won’t be your logo, but it surely will resemble your brand atmosphere. They will see it and they will know it's authentically your brand.
2. Resurface or re-purpose your tag line.
The tag line used to be one of the key brand communication tools. Things shifted and today tag lines often end up being the headline on your landing page or used in certain lock-ups of your logo only. It’s time to celebrate your tag line again. It is a clever elevator pitch in a few words that quickly describes your brand’s purpose, and the email is the perfect piece in your marketing mix for it to live, be shared and live on happily ever after.
3. Showcase all of your brand's active social-media channels.
This one’s a no-brainer. Now check your signature and make those updates to ensure all social brand channels are indeed showcased as there are new ones popping up faster than you can read this article.
There is no easier way to gain followers that care. Period.
4. Leave them with your genuine thoughts, not a dead man’s quote.
People are over the inspirational quotes and they don't need to know you message was sent using your iPhone, tablet or even smartwatch. Instead, use your signature real estate to highlight the latest blog post you wrote or share interesting news of your brand – another way to create more touch points. Remember that you already have the attention of a reader, and she is only one click away to learn more about your brand. The "leadership area" of your signature as I like to call it, can be individualized by department or receiver, too. This can ensure the information is personal and relevant.
5. The more data used, the more important design becomes
All said and done, ensure your signature is not overwhelming. It needs to always be the second read after your message, even when you reply to an email with solely the two letters "OK." The signature should always feel just like that: a place to either grab a phone number or address from or to further engage with your brand; the latter you will now have successfully achieved.
To further help you visualize these tips, I am equally reluctant and happy to share with you my E-Mail signature, as it reads of June 22, 2015.
That being said, signed truly,