You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

Candlelight   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email SignaturesA signature tells you something about a personality. Just as two people hardly write alike, they also sign differently. That’s how the “science” of Graphology came into being. But the digital age and the email signature have reduced the way you sign-off on a mail to a footnote. Just a typed name, and maybe a phone number or a Twitter handle – how utterly dull. Just as there is a way to write and format proper emails, there are also ways to end them well.

A few years back, I showed you how to create custom signatures in Gmail with Firefox add-ons. Much of that information remains true. So do the six tips to get more out of your Gmail email signatures. The common thread is to not only create a stylistic impression, but also create a personal brand or promote a corporate one.

So, without further ado, let’s look at how you can benefit from the power of email signatures.

The Benefits of an Email Signature

  1. An email signature shows your openness to communicate.
  2. A well designed email signature conveys professionalism via your emails.
  3. An email signature is a promotion tool for a business, a website/blog, a book, or a social cause.
  4. An email signature with the relevant information is your short-biography.
  5. An email signature is also a social networking tool, like a business card.

The Absolute Basics of an Email Signature

A neat email signature says just one simple thing – you care about the way you communicate. So, a basic email signature without a touch of pretension should answer who you are, what you do, and how you can be contacted. I personally prefer an email signature that is minimal and does not hog space. Our attention spans being limited as it is, I feel you could start with these points…

  1. Your full name.
  2. Your contact information.
  3. Your personal or professional website/blog.
  4. Your business address (or any other you might want to include).
  5. Include links to your social network profiles only if they are important enough.

Designing a Simple Text Email Signature

Email signatures in simple text allow you to create clean lines of information without fancy graphics and logos. They are also consistent across devices and aren’t handicapped if image blockers are in place (as in Gmail or Outlook). Designing a simple text signature for your email takes some creative thought because you can only work with fonts, font sizes, symbols, spacing, and the colors available. The following image illustrates a neat text signature created in Gmail:

email signature01   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

This is a simple signature that took me just 3 minutes to set up in Gmail. All I used was the Verdana font and some spacing between the letters of my name to make it stand out. If it suits you, you can pick the colors of your company logo to design your text signature. Here’s another look at it with a placement of the address:

email signature02   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

To take your default Gmail signature beyond text, you can use the rich text editor in Gmail to spice it up with hyperlinks and images too.

Take Your Gmail Signature beyond Simple Text

The rich text signature editor in Gmail also helps you create HTML logos. You can insert small transparent logo icons for the services you want represented in your signature. An advanced Google Image Search will give you the location of such icons. Many services have media logos in different sizes, for instance: Twitter. Preferably, go for 16px by 16px sized transparent icons. Upload and position them appropriately. Here’s a sample signature I created quickly:

email signature03   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

Also note (as this Gmail support page says) – if you send mail “from” multiple addresses in Gmail, you can set a different signature for each address in the General tab of your settings. You can also use the power of canned responses to set up multiple email signatures in the same account.

Create a Signature with LinkedIn

email signature04   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

LinkedIn has a rich signature generator that helps you populate your emails with HTML signatures. The signature generator comes with many hued themes to give your emails a stylized look. The LinkedIn signature generator gives you a JavaScript window as seen below. You can copy-paste the code into email clients which support HTML signatures.

email signature05   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

The signature generator does not say that it supports online email clients. But there is a simple workaround you can implement for Gmail. Simply copy all the text in your LinkedIn signature and paste it into a new compose window. Gmail automatically displays the signature with the LinkedIn theme chosen exactly preserved. You can save and re-use this signature as a canned response.

email signature06   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

Spice Up Your Emails with Third-Party Email Signature Tools

WiseStamp

WiseStamp is a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Thunderbird. The browser extension comes with many email signature templates which you can customize with your own information like a profile picture or logo, IM & social profiles. The singular feature of WiseStamp is that it gives you a choice of apps across the social web which you can connect to with your signature. For instance, you can add a Facebook email app to promote a Facebook page or a WordPress app to give your blog readership a boost.

The free version gives you two signatures (e.g. personal and business), while the paid version with different plans comes with multiple signature support.

Last year, Tina did a comprehensive review on WiseStamp. Since then new apps like Pinterest and Instagram have been introduced. Outlook.com is a webmail platform that is supported. One of the significant additions are the Sidebar Apps.

email signature07   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

Sidebar Apps allows you to showcase your content alongside your emails. The sidebar placement allows you to promote your content on the right-hand side of your emails and potentially garner more eyeballs. Sidebar Apps are available for YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest for now.

Sigwich

Sigwich is another third-party app that helps you create an appealing signature. It works with email clients like Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo, and on Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Sigwich has a powerful signature engine that helps you build a creative signature easily. It has 6 different signature layouts that give you enough room to design a customized look. After touching up your signature, you can install the signature file and use it with your email client. Do note that you have to sign-up for a free account before you can click on download.

email signature08   You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures

The optional signature layouts are good, but I wasn’t too satisfied with Sigwich. One of the little bugs I found while using Sigwich was that the Image Cropper wasn’t working properly.  I missed the ability to color the fonts. Going head-to-head, WiseStamp is far more powerful and easier to use.

There are many do’s and don’ts for creating the perfect email signature. Using the right tool is perhaps number one on the list. Keeping it simple and slim should be at number two. The benefits of using an email signature are often intangible. But you never know where the good word is being carried to. What about you? Do you consistently use an email signature? Mention how it benefits you? How did you design it? If not, it’s about time you did.

Image Credit: Reading a letter by candlelight via Shutterstock

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18 Comments -

0 votes

Kori

I agree, you should use your email to promote your brand, However be careful in not putting to much content.
We use an online service http://www.brandmymail.com for our email signatures and templates, it provides pre-configured signatures that makes our life easier :)

0 votes

Paul G. Janzen

Hello, nice article!
Unfortunately in my case, Gmail did not display the signature from Linkedin. It keeps showing the html code instead.

0 votes

Saikat Basu

Did you try it on the new compose window. Just copy paste the graphic (not the actual code). It should do the trick.

0 votes

Paul G. Janzen

I solved the problem! I followed this tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PZXsMp1Pic. That worked out great!

0 votes

null

0 votes

Saikat Basu

Thanks for this. Looks really neat.

0 votes

Shafiq

Nice Article … Didn’t realise you could create a signature within Linked In …

0 votes

Saikat Basu

I also came to know about it pretty late :)

0 votes

macwitty

Keep it simple! Only use as much as the receiver may need. I’m not found of getting messages where most is a signature

0 votes

null

Cool article. I hardly use email signature. I am gonna change that habit now. Thanks Dude.

1 votes

Zeb

A pet peeve is a tutorial (or “How to…” book) with illustrative screen shots reproduced too small or fuzzy to read. We need a “How to…” on making the illustrations useful.
Thanks

0 votes

Dwight Stegall

I had to eliminate my e-mail signature. My friends and family complained that it was causing problems when I would SMS them.

0 votes

Curtis

Avoid HTML in your signature. Any self respecting person who has tech knowledge knows that HTML mail is spam. It is an inherent security risk, and your mail can sometimes be rejected on this basis alone when replying to technical mailing lists.

0 votes

Saikat Basu

My own advice would be to keep signatures simple with just the relevant information and nothing more. Simple text can be creatively used too as I have said in the article.

0 votes

Graeme M

I had no idea you could do this in LinkedIn and I was certainly not aware of 3rd party options such as Sigwich, so thanks for the education and I am about to get so much better with my email signatures

5 votes

Bobby

I like the idea of connecting with LinkedIn with signatures. I will give it a try. I do agree with those who like a little shorter signature, at least shorter than the message. In those emails, I have a tendency to remove some info if the message looks out of balance.

You have a fabulous and extremely useful website. As a computer trainer for our county library system, I take people to your site and share your materials with them. Your emails contain great topics and helpful information that will improve anyone’s computer skills and/or knowledge. Thank you.

0 votes

Saikat Basu

Thanks a lot Bobby for your valuable feedback :)

0 votes

Stephanie Staker

As I mentioned in a previous comment on a similar topic, I found Wise Signature hard to figure out. I use my computer for fun and relaxation. I am retired and like to play in graphics and keep up to date on politics, etc. When a program (extension/app) starts out badly for me, I give up right away. I just don’t need the frustration! However, your article has given me some ideas here which, if they work, I’ll share! Thanks for the info here.