A while back my company finally decided to have uniform signatures, so we did what every responsible company does – we handed the task over to an intern.
It was bad.
So bad that I’m too ashamed to show it to you.
This got me thinking of all the times I’ve shot down an email pitch because of a dubious email signature, and all the times I never got a reply to my emails. That little block of information at the end of every email, the one at the end of each and every email we send is one of the biggest business killers out there. First impression is everything and your email signature is as important as the way you dress up for a business meeting – it’s very hard for someone to take you seriously if you make your pitch while rocking a purple fedora.
There are a couple of ways you can screw up your email signature, please don’t let your business suffer because of it.
No Signature Equals No Effort
It’s cool if you don’t have a signature if you don’t do business online, or use email only to talk shop with people you know. For any other purpose a lack of signature is a huge red flag – you’re either:
- A Nigerian prince in need of a trusting fellow man to help him move his $1.5bn USD for an even split, or
- too lazy to get around to it
Nobody likes working with lazy people. Don’t be that guy (or girl).
Don’t Go Overboard
Ever seen this one? It’s responsible for the untimely deaths of countless mouse scroll wheels worldwide. I don’t care about your home number, your facebook profile and your blood type. Keep your contact information short and to the point. Name, company, position, a few contact options and that’s it.
Inspirational Quotes Don’t Make You Look Smarter
No, I’m not going to think any better of you or get inspired by a random quote squeezed between your Instagram profile and a wall of legal mumbo jumbo. And speaking of legal mumbo jumbo…
The Legal Disclaimer Is Pointless and Irritating
A company I used to work with back in the day had a strict policy of having these legal disclaimers in our corporate signatures. Seeing how half of my family are legal experts, I took the time to actually read it, and as this article in The Economist explains into detail, it does not have any legal weight; so unless you’re a legal fancy pants who loves wigs and Latin expressions, drop the disclaimer. Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s another mandatory item in our signature:
I actually changed the text to “Save a tree. Kill all humans.” which went undetected for roughly two years until I decided to leave the company and take my under appreciated humor with me.
So, How Do I Not Fail?
Keep it short. Keep it simple. If you’re a creative person, add a personal touch but don’t go overboard: the actual content of your email is where you need to actually shine. As for our own signatures, we ended up using an awesome little signature generator called htmlsig for the whole team.