Effective Email Pt 5-Sig line

If you are just joining this article series, here is a quick recap.  Email has become a common form of communication in recent years, but so much of it is misunderstood that there are more communication issues with this form than there are with all the other forms put together.  So much of how we communicate face-to-face is received through body language, facial expression and tone of voice.  This is all lost in an email where we have to rely only on the words we choose.  So far I shared about the importance of choosing a good email address, your subject line and given you some tips for a more effective body of text in two parts. Today I'd like to talk about your signature line. What should be in your signature line?  * Your name...your FULL name! I can't tell you how many times I've received an email that was unsigned.  Makes it difficult to address the reply.  Dear 1234567@aol.com... Even signing your first name may not be of great help.  I may not have the brain cells at 49 to remember your email address letter for letter so I'm not sure if you are Mary or Mary.  Mary Jones wanted to borrow my grey jacket but Mary Peterson wanted to come over for lunch at noon on Friday.  I'm not sure how to respond to Mary if the only thing I have to go on is an email note that says "So, is it okay?" signed Mary.  My brain immediately goes TILT as I try to remember if Mary's email address is 6427@aol.com or is it the other Mary whose email address is 6247@aol.com.  AHHHH! Now if you email for business, use your full name.  There may be other Bobs at ABC Company. After all, they do have 600,000 employees! * Your title if you are in a large company If you are emailing for business, always include your title in your signature line so folks will know what you do at the company.  It tells them what questions they may ask, what answers they can expect and gives you an air of authority when you answer difficult questions. * A clickable website address If you put your business or blog url in your signature line, for pitty's sake, make it clickable!  I can't tell you how frustrated I get as I to try to copy and paste it into a browser and have to put the "http://www." on it.   I know it's not all that much work, but I'm 49.  I'm going through menopause and I get a bit testy when I have to work harder than I feel I should!  HELP ME OUT, will ya? Now on the flip side, do you know the chances of someone clicking through to your website vs copying it and pasting it into their browser?  Neither do I, but I'll bet it's LOTS!  The easier you make it for people, the more likely they will do something! * How else to get hold of you If you are emailing for business and you have several ways your customers can get hold of you, list them!  If you don't mind being called, list your phone number.  If you don't mind being texted, faxed, or you can interpret smoke signals, list your call sign!  That way if Mary doesn't do well with email, she can call instead. * Scripture or tag line If you have a life scripture or tag line for your business, list it below your signature.  That gives your recipient a bit more information about you.  Always a nice touch to make an email a bit more personal and descriptive of you.  Helps with rapport! What shouldn't be your signature line?  * Offensive words or negative comments It pretty much goes without saying, that you shouldn't put vulgar language in your email signature, but you wouldn't believe the number of times I have seen negative comments in there!  I've had personal emails come through with things like, "John Smith, waiting for the day when I don't have to live with my MIL!"  Uh...not good form. * An ad A tag line or signature verse is one thing, but don't put an ad in there.  The first thing I think of when I see that is, Don't Push Me!  lol "Kim Berly,  http://www. I Want To Sell You Stuff.com Buy three and get six free!  No shipping! Sale ends in five minutes!  Order NOW! I SAID NOW!" Yup... just a bit pushy... * A book Research shows that people don't like to read long text copy on emails.  If you've got that much information in your signature line, put it in a PDF, okay?  I don't need your biography, your credentials, your pedigree or the history and evolution of your rise to corporate power!  I won't read it.  ANY of it! Well, that's it for email signature lines.  Join me on Wednesday when I give you some tips for what to send and what NOT to send. Until then... Sincerely yours, Me!


  • Cindy Holman

    Great stuff, JoJo :)

  • jojosblog

    That setting is a bit different. You’re in a sales group where this is the norm. Each group has it’s own purpose and rules. I was in a few of those groups years ago. Know what I noticed? Nobody read them! I remember a time when someone had a sig line about some sale they had going for a month or more. She never really mentioned it in the group until one day when a ton of people said, “You’re having a sale?”

  • Carla

    All good tips! The bit about the ads and writing a book, I used to be in many Yahoo Groups for sales that expressly limited your sig line to 5 or 7 lines max and NO ADS. Now I’ve been known to put a promotion in mine every now and then, but it’s only one line and it’s a link to the actual promotion. Just a teaser to grab their attention. It’s not a permanent thing, though.

  • a basso

    Hi, this is a great post! Thanks..

  • Effective Email Pt 6-Other Stuff » Communication FUNdamentals

    […] and given you some tips for a more effective body of text in two parts. Monday, I talked about your signature line.  Today I’d like to share some “Other Stuff” important for effective email and […]

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