As its name suggests, the email signature is a block of content (text, links, images, animations, CTA) that concludes each email sent in a professional context. More than a simple signage block, the professional email signature is a marketing channel that can give visibility to the company’s offer, its value proposition, a promotion or an event.
As email has become the primary means of communication in B2B, the signature has naturally transformed into a free, far-reaching promotional space. In MarTech, there is a category of tools designed to create, distribute and schedule professional email signatures to take advantage of this sometimes neglected marketing channel.
In this practical guide, Twilead offers you professional advice and a selection of tools to make your professional email signature a marketing channel in its own right. Let’s go !
Professional email signature: a highly visible space
In the early 2010s, when our communication habits were beginning to be revolutionized by instant messaging applications and social networks, many “visionaries” professed the imminent end of email, a channel deemed rigid, obsolete and anachronistic. Ten years later, email hasn’t just survived… it’s thrived!
Supposed to disappear, email has flourished!
According to this study, more than 304 billion emails are sent every day all over the world, that is 2.4 billion per second! On the user side, more than 4 billion people trust this communication channel that was supposed to disappear a decade ago. Every year, more than 100 million email accounts are created, the equivalent of the combined population of France and Canada!
According to Campaign Monitor, the average business person receives about 121 emails per day (including spam) and sends about 40. A company with 1,000 employees sends, on average, 40,000 emails per day. Of course, these figures include bulk email campaigns. One could believe in a necessity, in a habit that we undergo by force of circumstance. Wrong!
As HubSpot explains, email is the preferred means of business communication for 86% of workers, and it’s the third most preferred source of information for B2B buyers, behind peer-to-peer discussions and niche influencers. Even better: in the age of the smartphone and instant messaging, 66% of professionals continue to use email as their number one means of communication.
As you can see, email is more than just a resistance. He dominates the proceedings! It is therefore logical that the professional email signature gains in visibility, importance and marketing and sales potential.
The dithyrambic figures of the professional email signature
As email clients began to better handle multimedia formats, the professional email signature gradually expanded beyond simple sign-off text with the sender’s first name, last name, position and contact information.
This transformation has undoubtedly contributed to making the professional email signature a powerful vector of conversion, branding and information. To measure the business value of the professional email signature, Twilead has compiled some eloquent figures from the State of Business Email Marketing study by New Old Stamp :
- Today, 82% of marketers use email signatures in brand awareness campaigns;
- Nearly half of marketers (48%) use email signatures to drive traffic to the company’s website;
- 34% of marketers use email signatures as part of their lead generation campaigns (LeadGen);
- A quarter of marketers believe that email signatures help improve the company’s sales performance.
In theory, professionals are well aware of the business advantages of email signatures. However, they are far from using its full potential:
- 35% of professionals only update their email signature once every three years;
- Only 23% of professionals track indicators and KPIs to evaluate the performance of their email signature.
In short, by strengthening your email marketing signature, you can still differentiate yourself and use an original format to improve your sales performance… but you still need to master the art of the professional email signature! Which brings us to the next part…
Our 7 tips for a professional email signature that converts!
Now that you are convinced of the business potential of the professional email signature, let’s see how to optimize this format through these 7 professional tips!
#1 Covering all the basics of professional email signatures
Professional email signatures can change from one company to another, and even from one employee to another. On the other hand, certain elements are immutable: your name, your first name, your job title, the name of your company, its website and its postal address.
In terms of design, your signature should reflect the elements of the company’s graphic charter. For readability reasons, stick to a minimalist and uncluttered configuration. Your recipient may be checking his or her email on a smartphone. Therefore, choose a good size font and sober colors so as not to compromise the reading of your signature. Ideally, limit yourself to two different font colors: one for your first and last name, and the other (black on white) for other information. Play with bold and possibly italics to structure the different lines.
Another thing to keep in mind is to keep your email signature to three to five lines. To optimize space, use pipe separators “|” or 6’s dash “-” to separate items of the same nature, such as two different phone numbers.
#2 Choose the right links and means of contact
It’s just common sense. Why embed a link to your Instagram profile if it’s empty? Why link to your company’s Twitter page if the last tweet was posted 6 months ago? Why give out your landline number if you are a field salesperson?
Don’t think of the professional email signature as an administrative necessity or a mere formality. It is above all a functional format that must allow you to meet a specific objective: generate leads, work on brand branding, inform your recipients (launch of a new product, organization of an event, recruitment campaign, fundraising), etc.
#3 The signature photo to humanize exchanges
In a world where the majority of companies have negotiated their digital shift, B2B decision-makers continue to value human interaction. Sure, B2B involves transactions between two entities, but in the end, it’s always the human who decides.
Since email is a text-based medium that does not include voice or video, integrating your photo into your professional signature adds a friendly touch that improves the recipient’s receptivity to your message. The signature photo does indeed tick all the right boxes:
- Your interlocutor will be able to put a face to a name;
- Your photo will be very useful for networking, and eventually be recognized at a corporate event. Conversely, it will allow your recipient to recognize you if they have already had the opportunity to exchange with you in the past;
- Because it usually involves a formal tone, email can seem cold and distant. By adding a photo, you bring a little lightness and friendliness to your message;
- 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.
Which photo to include in your professional email signature? You can stay within the LinkedIn standards, i.e. a front-facing photo on a white background (or light, at least) so as not to weigh down your signature. Smile and adopt a welcoming posture.
#4 A dynamic link to make an appointment
This is a crucial element if you are going to exchange with prospects, customers or other partners. This link leads to a dynamic calendar that displays your availability to your contact and allows him/her to schedule an appointment with you in a few clicks, with the possibility of leaving you a message. Calendly is without doubt the most widely used tool in this field.
The appointment button is ultra-practical, as it exempts your contact from sending you an email to ask for your availability, waiting for an answer from you and eventually accepting the invitation you will send by email.
This ease of contact will also encourage your contacts to solicit you, thus multiplying the opportunities for lead generation, nurturing, loyalty, upselling, cross selling and customer success.
#5 Confidentiality clauses and other disclaimers ?
In some industries that involve the exchange of sensitive information, email signatures must include confidentiality clauses or disclaimers to hold the recipient liable. As a general rule, a short paragraph stating that :
- This email is personal or nominative. Its content is confidential;
- The recipient must delete the email if the sender did not address the email to the right person.
You may wish to provide a link to a more detailed page that explains all of the privacy and other legal provisions that apply in this case. Unless you have an obligation from your employer, we do not recommend weighing down your professional email signature with this type of content.
#6 Make sure your professional email signature is responsive
According to an Adobe study, 85% of professionals use their smartphone to check their emails. Your professional email signature should not only be mobile responsive. It must be specially designed for the mobile! Several points of vigilance should be noted:
- The clickable areas must be large enough to allow for precise finger clicking;
- The size and colors of the font must allow for perfect readability, even on small screens;
- Your contacts probably use different applications to check their emails. This is why we advise you to use HTML format to maximize the chances of a homogeneous display. There is no such thing as zero risk, as there are so many parameters that come into play: type of device, browser or mobile application used, night mode, disabling the display of images (don’t forget the “ALT” tags), connection speed, etc.
#7 Make your professional email signature a lead generation tool
Once you’ve applied the previous 6 tips, you can start to integrate your email signature into your marketing strategy. You can add a banner to promote a new product, communicate about a promotion or a short-lived offer, advertise an event in which you will participate, link to your latest blog post or white paper, etc. Don’t forget to track links to quantify the contribution of your email signature to your marketing efforts.
Three tools to create a professional email signature
#1 Signature Hound, a no-fuss WYSIWYG
Signature Hound is a website that offers a free service to create professional email signatures based on a dozen ready-to-use templates. You will be able to integrate your identifying information, your contact information, your photo, your company logo, links, references to your social pages and CTA buttons in several configurations. You can also create your own template from a blank page.
Signature Hound generates an HTML code to be integrated in the settings of your email client (without Watermark). The tool also includes CSV sharing features. Your signature is registered for life!
#2 Sigilium, to make the signature a marketing channel in its own right
Sigilium is a software for creating professional email signatures for companies that want to make this format a marketing channel in its own right. The solution allows you to create professional email signatures synchronized on Gmail, Outlook or Thunderbird with a graphic consistency on all exchanges and at the company level.
The tool allows graphic and synchronized modifications to be made to the signatures of all collaborators to maximize the impact of this channel. Sales teams can even synchronize their signatures with CRM data for further automation and personalization.
Sigilium provides a set of native KPIs on the number of clicks on each message deployed to measure the performance of the signature, perform A/B testing and identify best practices for generalization.
For obvious RGPD reasons, Sigilium does not provide data on the browsing behavior of recipients: contact, time of opening the message, etc.
#3 Signature.email to let your creativity flow
This software offers a complete email signature generator with the possibility to go further in the graphic design. Signature.email offers dozens of templates, from the most sober to the most fanciful, to help you create an original signature in line with your company’s marketing positioning.
You can play with colors, fonts, spacing, blocks, pictograms and images for a personalized look. The icons of social networks are also changeable in size and color.