Bits and Pieces

Why You Need an E-mail Signature

Why You Need an E-mail Signature

I hate when I get an e-mail from someone and there’s no signature.

Why? Because what if I have to call them? Or I can’t remember the spelling of their website domain? Or I want to forward their contact information to someone else?  Or I want to connect with them on LinkedIn or Twitter?

By not having a complete e-mail signature I’m unable to do the above without wasting my valuable time.

And when it comes to referrals or urgent needs, you do not want me wasting my time, because it makes me less apt to want to contact you or refer you to someone else.

So here’s why you need an e-mail signature and what to put in it.

It’s common courtesy.

Just as you wouldn’t mail a letter without a return address and your name signed at the end, don’t send an e-mail without some sort of identifier.

It helps your recipient learn about you.

What if you have a really difficult to spell last name and I want to send you a thank you card, I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable sending a possibly misspelled card to you.  Having your full name in your signature (plus any name you may go by other than your full name) allows me to not only send you something with your name spelled correctly, but also allows me to easily look you up on social networks and online.

It reminds the user about you.

Who you are, what you do, where you do it, and how they can get in touch with you.

So what should you include?

The following should be included, at a minimum:

  • A double hyphen to start your signature (that tells mail programs that your signature follows).
  • Your name (first, last, and whatever you go by if not your first).
  • Salutation (but only if you’re a Dr.)
  • Phone number (office and/or cell).
  • E-mail address (sure I might have it but what if I send your information to someone else?)
  • Name of your company and link to company website (if you’re with a company).
  • Link to your website (if you have one and it’s related to your business).
  • Link to your various social media profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • Link to your blog (if you share it)
  • Brief statement about what your company is/does (as a reminder and as information for forwarding).

What should you not include?

  • Pictures and images. They make it look like every e-mail you send has an image and make it impossible to easily forward your contact information without losing formatting and/or content.
  • Personal e-mail address(es) or website(s).  Unless you’re sending from your personal account or your personal account is somehow related to your business, don’t include it.
  • Quotes. We really don’t care what cute little quip you have showing today and you can easily offend someone by showing the wrong thing.
  • Extensive formatting (bolding, colors, HTML, etc.) it won’t show up the same for everyone.
  • Social media or contact accounts that you do not follow.  You wouldn’t give out your first apartment address to someone if you don’t live there would you?
  • vCards – don’t attach them. We don’t need it – if we do, we’ll ask for it.
  • Legal disclaimers (unless required by law) – no one reads them and they don’t protect you legally.
  • Virus-checked message – they can be faked and no one needs to see it.

Now that you know what to include and what not to, it’s time to create your signature.

Creating a Signature

I prefer to include a lot in a small amount of space.  I never let my signatures take up more than four lines.  Longer than that and your signature is too long and annoying.

Here’s my business e-mail signature (note: it does not wrap in an e-mail):

Danielle (Elle) R. Favreau
O: (314) 266-9717 : : Toll Free  (855) 266-9717 : : C: (314) 225-5881 : :
Business Portfolio : : Twitter : : Facebook : : Danielle on LinkedIn : : Twitter : : G+ : : Danielle’s Expanded Portfolio
Discretion Designs
 : : We provide you with all things media: web, print, video, voice, mobile, marketing, and business consulting.

If you forwarded that to anyone they would know: who I am, where to find me, how to find me, what I’m involved with, what I do, and would have full contact to my sites.

Text only signatures.

That said, that signature uses HTML links for each of the words, which won’t translate for people who use text only or rich text.  In which case I could use an all text signature, but I find this excessive:

Danielle (Elle) R. Favreau
O: (314) 266-9717 : : Toll Free  (855) 266-9717 : : C: (314) 225-5881 : :
Discretion Portfolio : :
Discretion Twitter : :!/DiscretionGroup
Discretion Facebook : :
Danielle LinkedIn : :
Danielle Twitter : :
Danielle Google+ : :
Danielle Portfolio : :
Discretion Designs : : We provide you with all things media: web, print, video, voice, mobile, marketing, and business consulting.

That’s a biography, not a signature.

Instead, if you need a purely text signature, only include the most important information.  In this case I include only my main website addresses and LinkedIn. Everything else is available at those sites:

Danielle (Elle) R. Favreau
O: (314) 266-9717 : : Toll Free  (855) 266-9717 : : C: (314) 225-5881 : : : : : :
Discretion Designs : : We provide you with all things media: web, print, video, voice, mobile, marketing, and business consulting.

Work signatures.

Now, at my day job my signature is much more condensed:

Danielle (Elle) R. Favreau : : : : Media Specialist : : (314) 555-5555

***Confidentiality Notice*** This electronic message transmission contains information belonging to _______________ that is solely for the recipient named above and which may be confidential or privileged. _______________ EXPRESSLY PRESERVES AND ASSERTS ALL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES APPLICABLE TO THIS TRANSMISSION. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this communication is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. If you have received this electronic transmission in error, please notify us by telephone at (314) 555-555. Thank you.


Then my reply is even more condensed with no confidentiality notice, it’s not needed on replies:

Danielle (Elle) R. Favreau : : : : Media Specialist : : (314) 555-5555

Based on that you can create a great signature that will allow your clients, friends, family, and referrals to contact you with ease.

A few things to remember…

If you’re in the UK you may need to include your company number, address of registration, and VAT number. (learn more)

In Canada you may be required to include your GST / PST / HST numbers.

What not to do.

Don’t do this.  Please.

Steve Stevenson, Web Designer
home: 613.555.2654
home (wife): 613.555.3369
work: 613.555.9876

Drury Lane
Apartment 22
St. Louis, MO

skype: stevie_the_man
messenger: stevie_mrstevenson

I specialize in:
Web design
Graphic design
Logo design
Front-end development
UI design

“Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”
-Amelia Aerheart

“Don’t Do This” example provided by.

About Danielle

I'm a multimedia specialist, entrepreneur, tech aficionado, she-geek, ambassador, painter, sculptor, programmer, designer, a true Renaissance woman. View all posts by Danielle

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