It’s a shame how many businesses fail to use an email signature. Particularly, given that the Office 365 Outlook App makes it easy to create a professional-looking email signature in seconds. In truth, an email signature is a hyper-effective marketing tool for any small business.
So, let’s look at how you can use Office 365 to create an email signature — with ten tips on how to make it look professional.
How to add a professional email signature in Office 365
Email signatures are the text and images that sit at the end of an email.
They can include contact information, a link to your website, or social media — even your company logo, alongside awards you may have won. When used well, an email signature can showcase your business: helping contacts see what you’ve been up to while subtly selling your services to everyone who receives a message
As such, they’re an essential tool in your marketing arsenal. But how do you add an email signature in Office 365? By following these five steps.
- Login to your dashboard
- Click Outlook Web App
- Click the ‘⚙’ icon in the top-right
- Select Mail in Your App Settings
- Under layout, choose Email Signature
Here, you can create any style of email signature you like, then tick to ‘automatically include my signature on new messages.’ We suggest you only use the signature on the first message you send. However, you can include them on replies and forwarded messages as well, if you like.
Once you’re happy, click ‘Save’ — and you’re done!
Ten tips for creating a professional email signature
Now, onto making your signature look professional. We recommend every email signature follows these ten best practice guidelines to keep your business emails ‘business-like’ while still promoting your brand.
1. Use no more than six lines
Your email signature is your closing goodbye, not a message in itself. It’s best to stay within four to six lines to keep it concise yet strong.
After all, you want the reader to click a link or see an award, not get lost in the text, so focus on those elements. And always include — your name, position, phone, website URL, and relevant promotional items (like awards or key social media channels).
…but don’t add your email address; it’s already part of the message.
2. Only use your full email signature in the first message
You can choose to include (1) a signature in the first message you compose or (2) in every message you send.
We recommend you stick to (1), as recipients don’t need to see your full ‘about me’ pitch in every email (as that’s where a soft-sell could become more of an aggressive pitch). Once in ‘reply’ mode, simply sign off with your name.
Or, if you want to include a basic signature, create a simpler version and save it in My Templates for use in follow-up messages.
3. Avoid politics, controversial opinions, and quotes
Political views matter; of course, they do. However, in the context of business emails, they are often best avoided. Remember: an email signature goes to whoever you send an email to — as well as recipients of forwarded email — so you can’t control who might read your message.
Stick to less controversial content, and you could avert controversy yourself.
4. Avoid the hard-sell hype
When you invest time and energy in building a credible brand, you don’t want to destroy it by becoming the sell-sell-salesperson. What does that mean for your email signature?
- No colored text
- Ditch the exclamation mark
- Lose the question mark
Instead, keep things brief with a one-liner about your business — and let your website do the selling if the recipient chooses to click.
5. Don’t be afraid to include a promotion
A promotion isn’t hard-sell hype. On the contrary, many promotions offer value. Feel free to showcase a new product or add a current offer, as long as you believe your recipients will be interested in what’s available. If your promo includes a download or a freebie, add a call-to-action that says as much (e.g., ‘Download Now’ or ‘Request A Sample’).
It’s OK to promote, so long as you avoid the ‘Buy Now’ hard sell.
6. Keep things proper: grammar, spelling, and all.
People judge on first impressions, so leave a positive one.
Sign your name with the correct capitalization and punctuation (Jamie R. Johnson, Jamie Johnson, Jamie), as using the INcorrect form can indicate a lack of professionalism: not a good look in the business world, especially when a first email is often the most formal.
7. Use HTTPS:// on your company URL
Email filters may redirect a link without https:// into spam. Or, an email client may not recognize a URL without https:// as a link, meaning the reader won’t be able to click it.
You want your email signature to put your website just one click away — make this happen by never forgetting to add https://.
8. Don’t forget your sign off and name
It sounds unlikely, but it is easy to forget your sign-off and name in the hubbub of creating a pitch-perfect email signature. But if you include your sign-off (‘Many thanks,’ ‘Kind regards’) and your name, you won’t have to type it every time you write an email.
9. Have several signatures to use in different contexts
Sometimes, you want to use a slightly different tone with a particular audience. Instead of modifying your email signature every time, create several signatures — each with varying tones and degrees of formality — and save them under My Templates.
It might be something as trivial as switching a ‘Thanks,’ for a ‘Sincerely,’ but attention to this type of detail can serve you well.
10. Be wary of over-familiarity
As a final tip to consider, use your name in a way that sets the right level of familiarity with your recipient.
— I.e., Are you a William Smith, a Will, or a Billy?
The choice is yours. But going super-familiar from the outset might unsettle your more professional business contacts — whereas keeping things either formal (or at least somewhat formal), is appreciated by most, indicating professionalism and respect.
Professional email signatures leave a positive impression
Ultimately, your email signature is your calling card. You want it to leave a positive impression.
By creating a range of professional email signature templates in Office 365, you can leave whatever impression you like — but be sure to proofread what you write and ask others for their opinion.
And finally, don’t be afraid to make the odd update, just to keep things current.
Interested in Office 365? Feel free to get in touch with Mid-Coast Tech on 207-223-7594, and we can get you set up in an instant, email signatures, and all.