BUSINESS EMAIL SIGNATURES | Important, Surprisingly Complicated & Often Frustrating
We've focused on almost nothing but business email signatures since 1999, resulting in a deep understanding of the design and technical issues surrounding the deployment of an organizational email signature program. If you're looking for a turn-key business email signature program that you can roll out with ease, you've come to the right place. We offer state-of-the-art technology that makes the lives of IT people easy while satisfying the desires of marketing and HR people for full-featured and consistent business email signatures. No business email signature service is as quick & easy-to-deploy as ours.
Track Record of Success: We've been hired by over 1500 companies worldwide to develop email signature programs for them. In the process, we've developed a wide array of tools, techniques and experience to draw on. Business email signatures are definitely not a one-size-fits-all proposition and we've built our success on our readiness and willingness to tailor every project to meet the specific needs of our customers.
All Custom Work (No Boilerplates): Somewhat surprisingly, business email signatures are quite complicated. We start every project by assessing your needs, suggesting options, and providing pricing. We then utilize our extensive collection of proprietary tools to custom tailor your business email signature program. Following delivery, our knowledgeable support and prompt service remains available to you indefinitely.
Easy & Reliable Standardization (Non Active Directory-Based):
Our business email signatures are all data-based, but rather than relying on Active Directory we utilize a cloud-based, user-centric, approach. For each business email signature program we provide a custom data entry form which gives users the flexibility and control they desire, while still locking them into a corporate standard. There are four levels of data for each business email signature:
- Generic Hidden Data: This data gets applied to everyone's signature, without them ever thinking about it. It includes things like a website link, vCard link, social media links, etc.
- Location Specific Hidden Data: This data is applied when the user selects a specific location or template (via our drop-down menu option). For instance, if a user selects the template for their company's Chicago office, all the address information, map link, and perhaps main phone and fax number are automatically applied to that user's email signature.
- Required User Entered Data: At a minimum this consists of the user's email address and their name, and often includes phone number as well.
- Optional User Entered Data: This generally includes title, mobile phone number, fax number, and often includes a variety of other options such as personal LinkedIn URL, Bio URL (when employee bios are maintained on the company website), and sometimes yes or no choices to various options like the inclusion of a confidentiality statement, social media icons, or a company tagline.
The result is a very quick-and-easy online form to be completed enabling the user to feel a degree of control while resulting in a consistent collection of business email signatures.
Who We Work For and What We Do
: Regarding business email signatures, we do it all. For example, we've:
- Created hundreds of email signatures for one-person businesses.
- Created an email signature program for a company with over 20,000 users.
- Created an email signature program for a company with locations in over 20 countries.
- Created email signatures in English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.
- Assisted web-programmers with email signature HTML coding.
- Helped graphc designers turn finished designs into functional email signatures.
- Developed new email signature "features" that we hadn't thought of, but a customer of ours requested.
We Provide Business Email Signatures for Almost All Email Programs: Neither Android nor BlackBerry currently support the installation of HTML email signatures. They display HTML email signatures fine on received email, but HTML email signatures cannot be installed for use from these devices.
EMAIL SIGNATURES - NO LESS IMPORTANT THAN BUSINESS CARDS
A Whitepaper by Rex Weston
|Overview: Email signatures
are the equivalent of your printed business cards - small, simple, but no-less essential to your brand and to your individual professional persona.
Using a poorly constructed business email signature is like writing your name on a scrap of paper and handing it to a client or prospect - it accomplishes the task, but at what cost to professionalism?
The proliferation of do-it-yourself email signatures found in many companies today isn't just brand-neutral, it's brand-negative!
Because business email signatures are (seemingly) so easy to create, people typically make their own. This is like saying to a new-hire, "Here's our logo, go make yourself a business card." Ridiculous, right?
Additionally, there's an enormous misconception by non-technical computer users that what an email message looks like as you click SEND is what it will look like to the recipient. Wrong! Every email message, the body and the signature, is actually a small HTML computer program that gets transmitted from one computer to another (or smartphone or tablet). The device that receives this program then reads the HTML and displays the email message based on its interpretation of the HTML instructions it's received. The better the HTML you send, the more reliably it will appear on the myriad of email programs and devices in use by recipients. There's no promise of perfection, but by sending strong HTML your results will be very good.
The result of the DIY approach is a hodge-podge collection of mismatched business email signatures that perform sub-optimally, and sometimes miserably. As I said, this is not brand-neutral, it's brand-negative.
Why Such a Problem?
I believe there are two core problems. The first is that email signatures have low perceived value. Email has emerged as a communications channel over the past fifteen years or so. As we began using email, people gradually learned to add a "Sincerely" followed by their name. Then they added a phone number, then a website address, and so on. That's about where we are today. Your business email signature doesn't feel like it has any value, because all it's ever been is a few keystrokes followed by a click of your SAVE button.
If you were to be hired by a new company, the chances are slim that you'd even think to ask about a corporate email signature. Conversely, you'd be dumbfounded to discover that they didn't issue business cards. So, here we have two things, quite similar in nature, one having little perceived value, the other being one of the most basic of business essentials.
The lack of perceived value leads into the second problem - email signatures are actually very hard to make, and very hard to manage over a wide-scale deployment. Almost all the IT people I've worked with over the past thirteen years view email signatures as a thorn in their side - a big hassle for something that no one values very much, but at the same time, is intensely personal on an individual basis. It adds up to a lot of largely unappreciated work.
In the United States, as of 2012, law firms are the lone exception - email signatures have gradually become a legal industry standard. Within this vertical market the use of high-quality
business email signatures is prolific, and IT professionals at law firms of all sizes take their email signature programs seriously, striving for the best results.
What Makes a Great Business Email Signature Program:
A full-featured professional email signature meets the following requirements:
- displays your brand identity (logo) in a clear, reliable, fashion
- is consistent across all of the employees of your firm
- contains active links to your website, staff bio's when available, and maps to your offices
- contains all key contact information in an easy-to-read format
- includes confidentiality statements as needed
- includes active links to social media services you maintain a presence on
- includes a link to a downloadable vCard, enabling people to easily save your information to their address book
- performs as reliably as is possible across all email programs and devices
- provides for a degree of individual user flexibility, allowing for the inclusion or exclusion of various data elements
- is easy to deploy initially, and is easy to keep current as employees change roles and new-hires are brought on board
When a business email signature program meeting these requirements is put in place, there are a multitude of benefits. First and foremost however, is the sheer professionalism that is reflected in the sign-offs to your day-in and day-out email communications. I've been asked, "What's the ROI, how do I measure the performance? " It's my belief that unless you're questioning the validity of using business cards in your firm, you shouldn't be questioning the validity of implementing a managed
business email signature program.
How to Do This:
There are a number of ways of creating and deploying a standardized business email signature program. These include:
- Creating an HTML template that is then manually edited and installed for each user in the firm. To achieve a reliable result, this probably needs to be done by an IT pro who is experienced in HTML programming for the email environment.
- Use of a software program that automatically pulls user data from your "Active Directory" and merges it into a signature template that then becomes the default signature for each user.
- Use of an online signature creation service that prompts users to enter their contact information into a form and then produces the finished signature ready for installation.
Which of these approaches is the best fit depends upon the size of your company, the availability and motivation of the IT professionals involved, the integrity of your Active Directory, and your budget.
Manually Edit an HTML Template:
This fits companies up to 50 users where a skilled IT pro is available to oversee the creation, deployment, and maintenance of the email signature program in a hands-on way. This may be done using in-house IT staff, your website design firm, or an IT firm that you contract for services with.
Use an Active Directory Driven Software Solution:
This fits companies of 50 or more users where IT pro's are available in a dedicated fashion, and where the firm's Active Directory is kept fairly complete and current. Vendors of this type of software include EmailSignature
, and CodeTwo
Use an Online Signature Creation Service:
This fits any sized company and largely removes the burden from IT professionals, shifting control to the Marketing/Communications or HR staff in the company, while transferring the technical burden to the vendor of the online service. This service is offered by DigiTechBRANDING
Regardless of which approach you take, the benefits to your brand, and the individual professional personas of those in your firm, will be immediate and well worth the effort and cost.
KEY FEATURES AND CAPABILITIES OF AN EMAIL SIGNATURE
Embedded Website Links:
Professional email signatures that effectively integrate an appropriate collection of embedded hyperlinks
add significant marketing power to routine outgoing emails.
Social Media Links:
Icons or text can be used to link your professional email signature to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc
- these links can be either to social media pages that are specific to each user, or to the social media pages that have been created for your company overall.
By incorporating links to downloadable v-Cards
into a professional email signature, message recipients are able to easily add the sender's contact information to their address book.
Including links to online maps
(we prefer Google) complements the physical address information included in most
professional email signatures.
Disclaimers & Confidentiality Statements: Disclaimers or Confidentiality Statements
are integrated neatly and effectively into our professional email signature designs.
Clear, Sharp, Images:
If you use Outlook 2007, 2010 or 2013, the fuzziness caused by image pixelation
can be resolved through proper email signature programming techniques and then the proper configuration of Outlook.
Accommodates User Variations:
We understand the personal nature of professional email signatures - some users want a cell phone number, some don't, some have a LinkedIn page, some don't, some use a title, some prefer not to, and so forth. One of the premier strengths of our service is its ability to self-adjust for these end user variations
with no extra effort by anyone.
Optimized for Receipt on Smartphones:
Receiving email on smartphones
is becoming more commonplace every day. Our
professional email signatures can be optimized for display and performance when received on a smartphone (some design considerations apply).
Embedded Links: Our professional email signatures seamlessly integrate a variety of embedded hyperlinks. We'll provide guidance as to what links to include in your email signature, and will work with you to incorporate any special links you'd like to include - maybe a link to an online catalog or a newsletter sign-up page, for instance.
Links to Social Media: Professional email signatures can incorporate links to various social media sites. These links can be specific to an individual user, or can go to the corporate page on any social media site. When specifying / creating their business email signature, users can include some social media sites, and ignore others. For instance, in this example, Bob Madzar didn't have a blog or YouTube page. He specified URL's just for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. His email signature automatically corrected its layout when he generated it, skipping the blog and YouTube icons.
v-Cards (VCF files) are an Internet Standard for the distribution of contact information. They are designed to be recognized by most email (and many other communications programs) and can be instantly saved to an address book.
Shown below is a partial example of the type of information that can be included in a v-Card.
To see how our links to v-Cards work, click here to open an actual vCard
- click OPEN when prompted.
As a standard part of our professional email signature service
, we create vCards for our customers and include links to them in our business email signatures, enabling message recipients to easily save complete contact information to their contact manager.
Maps: Integrating links to online maps within professional email signatures make it easy for message recipients to find their way to the message sender's office.
Confidentiality Statements & Disclaimers: Upon request we will add a disclaimer or confidentiality statement neatly beneath your professional email signature. If some users need more than one disclaimer, or if different users need different disclaimers, this is not a problem.
Image Pixelation is Eliminated: If you use Outlook 2007, 2010 or 2013, image "pixelation" or fuzziness can easily occur when inserting graphics into
professional email signatures. Our signatures overcome this problem through proper coding techniques, graphics, and installation.
Accommodating End User Variations: Small nuances in people's professional email signature needs can cause big headaches. We utilize proprietary production techniques to automatically format our professional email signatures based on what data the user chooses to include, and what data they decide to exclude. This resolves a tremendously complicated issue faced by anyone trying to execute a large-scale deployment of professional email signatures.
There are very few constraints to what we can and can't do in this regard. The result is that you, and your users, get what they want - professional email signatures are meant to be personalized, we make sure they are.
Optimized for Display on Smartphones: Our professional email signatures can be optimized for display on smartphones.
Primarily this is a design effort - focusing on keeping the signature within set width constraints. It is a compromise, as smartphones like a narrower, more stacked, layout, and computers like a wider, more horizontal, layout. Most of our work these days is optimized for smartphones, though the choice of final design is up to you.
Please note that smartphones sometimes do their own thing with regards to hyperlinks, and we have no control over this. The graphic at the right reflects this with the blue hyperlinked phone numbers and the blue underlines underneath our text based links.