Do Me A Favor And Change Your Email Signature

107.81 billion emails are sent everyday and while 10% of it is spam other 90% serious communication is sometimes converted to spammy looking email due to certain bad practices.

A few days ago we received an email from one of our team member Leo and his signature was awful. It was way bigger than the email text itself which made him our running gag for the day. Before that I got a cold email in which I was CC along with 30 other senior management people from different companies.

Emails like these leave a bad reputation and negatively impacts the communication with the senders and this article will try to address one such disastrous problem of poor email signatures.

quote in email signature shows me you are an idiot

Let’s look at some of the annoying practices of email signature and if you do it too, maybe try to tone it down a bit –

Listing Out All Your Contact Details

The main aim of signature is to let others know who you’re and how to get in touch with you apart from email. This does not mean you list out every single contact detail and slap it at the end.

Don’t be this guy,

long-bad-signature

Instead make it look good so it reflects your personality, like this

long-good-signature

You can also keep signatures simple and add 2-3 other contact details like phone number, skype id or even one of your social media profiles where you’re most active. Listing down 5-10 contact details will only confuse the other person and may jeopardize your privacy.

Alternatively, if you still want to add all your contact details, maybe mention in the end what’s the most preferred way to reach you.

 

Using An Image As a Signature

Granted that you can customize your signatures in every possible way with an image, doesn’t mean you should.Most of the email servers do not render images in the first go and always require receiver’s permission. This is why you would often see a message like this when you open an email

image-blocking-in-email

If you’re already presentin yourrecipient’s trusted contact list, it might work out for you but otherwise the recipient will only see your email text without any signature. There are various security reasons why it is not advisable to allow images to display in email and users following this advice would never see your signature.

Not only this, images increase the size of the email and thus increases the loading time. Users having slow internet connection might suffer.

To top it off, how do you expect people to copy information from your signature image?

If you still want to take a chance an alternative way is to specify an ‘alt’ text for your signature image. ‘alt’ text means alternative text and will appear if your image is not rendered properly.

To specify ‘alt’ text in your signature’s image you need to add an ‘alt’ attribute to signature’s HTML image tag which would look something like this:

<img src=”https://yoursite.com/signature-image” alt=”Alternative text for your signature” >

 

Using Large Images in Signature

Remember the email signature which was even bigger than the email text? One of the reasons – the sender added a big logo of her company in the signature. Though her intention might have been to get her brand noticed, it ruined my experience. And I honestly confess, I didn’t reply to her with full enthusiasm as I generally do.

Placing a small logo of your company would probably be the best but make sure it is accommodated in a way that it doesn’t attract too much attention. And sadly even ‘alt’ text won’t work well here because when image is absent it might show – ‘CompanyName Logo’ or simply ‘CompanyName’.

 

Using Mobile Friendly Signatures

Did you know – In 2014, 48% of total email opens occur from mobile phones or tablets. Depending on your target audience, your product etc. the email opens from mobile varies from 15-48%.

This is enough of a reason to optimize your email signature for small screens. There are various possibilities of how you achieve this,

  • By using only text and no images.
  • By using small CSS icons.
  • By using tiny images which doesn’t increase the size of the email and doesn’t look bad even if they are not rendered. Example:
    andrea-signature

 

Adding Irrelevant Information At The End

So you chose to add random inspirational quotes at the end of your signature. This is what you suppose others to say?

inspirational-quote-idiot

Something else that can put off people is a big legal disclaimer at the end. Though it might be requiredat some companies due to company policy, it is mostly annoying and legally meaningless.Trust me, you can do without it.

If you really have to send a non-disclosure or legal disclaimer, its better you send that information via secure channels in an encrypted format.

Too many disclaimers have led people to come up with interesting counters and trolls. This is what you find at the end of Neil Patel’s email.

neil-patel-disclaimer

Let’s look at one more – a green tree icon with a message like,

save-a-tree-email-signature

I wish you appreciated the irony of having your emails printed.

 

Too Much Content In The Signature That Causes Unpredictable Wrapping

Adding too much content to a single line in your signature might end up being wrapped in an unexpected way. To avoid this try to accommodate less than 72 characters in one line of your signature.

According to email standards a single line containing more than 72 characters is wrapped on to the next line. To avoid unsightly wrapping, try to accommodate less than 72 characters and add info in multiple lines.

 

Don’t Use Tiny URLs or Shortened Links

Marketers use third party link shortening tools to track link clicks, be it from ads or any other place. Some of the famous tools like bit.ly, tinyurl.com, ow.ly etc. have been around for years but using them in emails (like signatures) can seriously affect your email deliverability.

This is due to the fact that link shortners mask the original URL and is used by spammers as well.

A better way to track link clicks is by adding UTM parameters to the original URL which is then tracked within your analytics system like Google Analytics.

 

“Sent from my iphone”

It was a brilliant idea by Apple to put that as a default signature but you it doesn’t mean you should leave it as is. You don’t add ‘Sent from my Dell Vostro’ while sending an email from your laptop then why not change it in iphone/ipad.

On a lighter note,

sent-from-iphone-meme

And before you go, check out this super funny video of how ‘Declaration of Email Signature’ would have been signed back in the day. And if you think I missed any common gaffe, let’s discuss that in the comments.

Email Signature in Mailbird
  • Markus Hausammann

    sent from my phone is not a show of technology, it’s the explanation of why the message is short and likely contains some fat-fingering errors. therefore it’s an important context information for the reader.

    • dzek

      It’s just excuse for that marketing thing.

      If you are treating recipient of the message with respect – you just shouldn’t sending e-mails without looking on the screen.

      And messages should be short (while meaningful of course) anyway.

      • Eno Thiemann

        Yes and no, at times you might be actually in need to go a little lengthier, especially when explaining things. Brevity is not always possible, but with a short reply rather than a late longer reply you can show awareness and still have your recipient happy. However, it doesn’t have to show you’re using exactly that phone, just a short signature telling your’re on mobile might be fine, eh ;).

        • Anonymouse

          Lol no you MUST write meaningful respectful emails 24/7.

  • How can I get a vcard like the one above?

  • Niklas

    and while this they put the fuckin unremoveable “sent from mailbird” at the end of every damn mail….

  • Simon

    Thanks for the great post! Some good ideas here. We currently use Crossware for our email signatures if anyone is looking for a good solution – http://www.crosswareus.com/

  • Kyle Ridolfo

    Adding images to email signatures is a horrible practice. When the user goes to search for emails from John Smith that have attachments, very often they’ll just get a list of every email John ever sent.

  • Devorah Pahmer

    This was a great post! thanks! i came across this link, looks very cool! check it out http://professionals.wisestamp.com/sellers/resources/attract-more-buyers-with-your-email-signature/

  • Roderick Gadellaa

    Sure it is but “sent from my phone” is different than “sent from my *iphone*” 🙂

  • Didier Lauwerys

    Would it be possible to create an option to exclude the signature when quick replying to an email? This is mostly for when replying with an extremely short message, or when you have a long thread. you don’t want to send your signature in every reply. Even better would be to have an alternative signature, which is shorter and only includes your name for example, and when replying, you can choose between the two.

  • andyfrommars

    IT’S COOL BRO!!! You’ve shown me you’re in fact the idiot here because you callously disrespect people whose opinions differ from yours and are quick to judge and needlessly carelessly call names, so I shall accept your implied invitation to do the same. A good quote is worth disseminating, haha semen says your doubtlessly pervasive two-year old sensibility 😉 Now go vote for your homegirl Trump and stay out of my sight! Thanks!!!!!!!

  • Gordan Banjac

    Use ZippySig instead. Its another awesome email signature generator!

  • Steve Harris

    The grammar and spelling in this article gave me cancer.

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