Email is a standard method of business communication, but still; it’s often done poorly. Too much information can annoy or overload a client, while too little information can make it tough for that new client to contact you when they need to.
With all of that in mind, take the time to create a standard and professional email signature protocol for all employees in your company. Here’s how to start.
Use a professional domain
If your employees are going to be sending an email on behalf of the company, don’t expect them to use their personal email addresses. For one, those employees might have email handles that are inappropriate, such as “email@example.com,” for example. Come up with a system for your employees’ email handles, such as using their first initial and last name, for example, or their full name. Then talk to your web developer to get custom email addresses for your company, such as “Jsmith@companyX.com.” From the second a client or potential customer receives and reads an email, it will be clear that it’s coming from a company.
Find out what you’re required to include
Short and sweet email signatures are usually best, but in some cases, you’ll have standard information you and your employees will be required to include. For the UK, that includes the company number, its registered address, and any applicable VAT number. Don’t leave those off, but in terms of priority, that information can go toward the bottom of the email signature. If your business deals in confidential information, also talk with your legal team to develop a privacy and confidentiality statement for the bottom of the email, suggests Smashing Magazine.
Don’t waste time on excessive information
Generally, an email signature should give clients or customers the best ways to contact you, without overloading them with information. Put the person’s name and job title just under the correspondence, including only pertinent job titles. If an employee serves as both secretary and social media marketer, for example, create two email signatures within your email system, allowing the employee to sign off as "secretary" for secretarial business and "social media marketer" for marketing tasks.
That should be followed by the primary phone number on the subsequent line, indicating whether that’s a mobile or office phone. Under that, include a second phone number and once again indicate whether it’s a mobile or office phone. Following that, include the person’s email address, and then the company website. That’s already a lot of information, so unless the person is directly responsible for handling Twitter feeds, Facebook accounts or other social media profiles, leave that information off.
Share your standards
In your employee handbook, lay out the rules for creating employee signatures, so that there’s no misunderstanding about what you expect from your staff. If necessary, explain that less is more.
Offer support for using signatures
Some people won’t have any experience in using email signatures and may need tech support to use them. Give each employee a tutorial on how to insert the signature using your email system, or include that information in your employee handbook..
You might not have thought of it before, but creating a uniform system for all your employees’ correspondence creates an aura of consistency and professionalism that your clients, customers and business associates are sure to appreciate.