Have you ever calculated how many emails you send each day? week, month or year? If you send just 20 emails a day, that’s 140 emails a week or 7,300 emails a year. Before you even design a business logo or print your first business cards, you can create a professional image with an email signature that’s free!
The cost is minimal (free) unless you decide to hire someone to setup your email signature. If you’re just a wee bit technical, or simply not afraid of your computer, you’ll spend some time researching what you want to include in your signature and formatting the information. The biggest challenge creating your email signature is figuring out out how to setup the signature for your particular email client but help is on the way …
Benefits of a Professional Email Signature
While you might think an email signature is boring, it enhances your image as a home professional and business owner. It provides your contact information to those receiving your email, making it easier to get in touch with you. Your email might trigger an idea. The reader picks up the phone to call you … but can’t find your phone number, and the opportunity is lost. The reader might want to refer you to someone but they don’t have time to open their address book and type in your contact information, so another opportunity is lost.
Here are 3 reasons why you want to invest in a professional email signature:
- Your email signature is your first marketing tool and it’s free!
- An email signature identifies the sender of an email, communicating a trusted source versus spam, which increases your open rate.
- Once your email signature is created, it’s included with every email automatically so you’re continually reminding people about your business.
Basic Rules to Create Your Email Signature
You can breath a sigh of relief, as email signatures should be concise and no more than 3 to 5 lines. First you want to identify the information to include in your signature. Remember this is a business signature like stationary, so don’t include any personal information and don’t include random quotes unrelated to your business.
- Your name, the name you use professionally.
- Your business name, and your position within the business.
- Key ways people can get in touch with you. This might be your website, your email address, your business phone number or if you have a physical location, your address.
When formatting your information, remember less is better. Ideally 3 to 5 lines are all you need to communicate important contact information, and each line should be no more than 72 characters. You’ll want to include live links in your email signature, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org and social media links if you’re active, but pick just a few favorites that you frequent every week.
You want consistency in how you present yourself and your business, so it’s helpful to consider both your email signature and business card at the same time. This will help you decide on which contact information to include, as you can’t put 20 lines on a business card.
Email Problems to Avoid
Graphics may boost the value of your email signature with brand recognition but they can also have a negative impact as many email programs force the recipient to click to accept graphics. Keep the size of your graphics small (100 x 100 pixels or smaller) and compress them to minimize the amount of date being downloaded.
When buying a house, the most important factor is location, location and location. With email, the most important factor is your email address. While a gmail, yahoo or hotmail address might be easier to setup, it doesn’t present a professional image. Ideally you should buy a domain for your business, even if you’re not planning to build a website right away. Domains cost anywhere from $10 to $25 per year, and the longer you own a domain, the more value the search engines give them. Make sure your domain doesn’t include a trademark name, i.e. if you own a franchise, as you might be legally prevented from using the domain.