6 Key Elements of a Professional Email Signature (+3 Things to Avoid)

Rob Browne
Rob Browne  |  March 6, 2019

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” Tired cliche? Yes. Still effective when it comes to emailing? Absolutely.

Email signatures are an essential part of establishing your professional identity. After mastering how to write a professional email, it is important that you provide a clear way for your recipient to be in contact with you or further engage with your work in response. With a study by McKinsey finding that 28% of the average work week is spent corresponding via email, the email signature is an easy way to make your name, role, and links to your work visible. We’ve compiled a few do’s and don’ts to help you perfect your email signature.

Professional email signature best practices

This guide takes you through what to and what to not include in a professional email signature that works. Make sure to follow these proven tactics for an effective email signature:

Keep it short

Your signature should not exceed 3-4 lines. Including multiple phone numbers or an unnecessary blog link might overwhelm the reader and veil the most essential contact information in the signature. Try to limit your signature to your name, phone number, and company/position, along with any social media links or calls to action you find worth including (more on these below).

Simplify the color scheme

The focus of your signature should be your name and contact information. If the color scheme is too busy, it takes attention away from your contact information. Try to simplify your color scheme to only black and white or within one or two colors that are in line with your company’s brand.

Include a call to action

Your signature should also have a link or url through which readers can engage in other ways with your work and your company. You could provide a link to a recent blog post or a form to sign up for an email newsletter to leverage the opportunity of being able to have your contact information tie directly into the work you produce or ability to boost your email subscribers.

Add a headshot

A headshot in your signature adds the ability for your reader to consider your outreach as more authentic and personal than a standard automated message from a template. Here’s an example of a good headshot size and proportion in your signature:

email signature templateMake it a mobile-friendly design

With a recent study by Return Path finding that roughly 55% of emails are opened from a mobile device, it is imperative that your signature be formatted well enough and easy to read on a smartphone. Try to take into consideration the width of a mobile screen, as well as make sure any images that are included will be formatted correctly. When writing your signature, it’s helpful to send yourself a test email that you open on a mobile device to ensure everything is formatted clearly on the mobile layout.

Use an email signature template

Feel free to generate a streamlined, well-designed email signature from some of the best email signature software. This software will do all of the formatting work for you once you input the desired components of your signature.

What to avoid 

Stay away from the following common email signature tendencies to maintain your connections and make sure your most important informations stands out:

Including your email address in your professional signature

Adding your email address to your signature creates unnecessary clutter. The recipient is able to see your email address easily at the top of the email, and including your email address in your signature adds an additional line to your signature and comes off as redundant.

Adding an image that isn’t your headshot

An image that isn’t your headshot, such as a landscape background or stock filler image, again overcomplicates and clutters your signature. Keep the reader's focus on only your image and contact information, and eliminate any potential objects that draw attention away from what you want your recipients clicking on.

Using personal or inspirational quotes

Don’t overcrowd your email signature with an inspirational quote that is unrelated to your business goals and interests in getting your message across. Keep attention on your credentials and your story. Recipients go to an email signature to find the most efficient way to contact you, and additional elements take the focus away from your name, phone number, and position.

Final thoughts

These tips for sprucing up your email signature should both help generate interest in your work and company, as well as make your individual name and brand stand out to the recipients of your emails.

Rob Browne
Author

Rob Browne

Rob is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd writing about all things marketing. Originally from New Jersey, he previously worked at an NYC-based business travel startup.