What Does Your Electronic “John Hancock” Say?

I was helping my son with his homework and we were reviewing the Declaration of Independence.  Right there was John Hancock’s signature… big, bold and “in your face”; this made me think about the signatures of today, specifically, email signatures.

There is nothing more annoying than receiving an email that doesn’t include contact information!  It’s frustrating and time-consuming, not to mention rude and a great way to lose potential business.

By the way, when was the last time you read the Declaration of Independence? It’s a fabulous and inspiring document.

Brand Ambassadors

Does everyone in your company use the same email signature format?  If not, why not?  Do you think the employees of Coca-Cola all have individual email signatures? I doubt it.  What if one of your employees is adding links to other websites?  Or includes a logo for his political or religious affiliation? Bottom line, your employees are brand ambassadors for your company.  Everything from your company and its employees reinforces your brand so we need to view the email signature as a marketing piece which must comply with the company’s branding rules. Consequently, everyone needs to use the same email signature format.

The Right Information In Your E-Signature Is Key

In a world of information overload, our goal is to make life easier.  I recommend setting up your signature as follows:

Full Name

Title

Company Name

Main Telephone Number

Company Website Address

The next few elements are for you to decide, but, everyone’s must be the same. There are so many forms of contact, physical address, email, office number, cell phone (or do you call it mobile?), Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, the list is endless.  I recommend that you select at least three options that the majority of your clients are using to contact you. The process should be seamless, consider hyperlinking the social media so the reader can just click on them. Again, list the options in the order and the format you want them to appear.  This bears repeating, consistency is key.

Decide if you are going to use abbreviations in mailing/physical addresses or not.  Is it email or Email? Will it be cell, cellular or mobile? Will you use parenthesis around area codes?  Are you going to use any bold or italics? Whatever you decide, be consistent!

To Logo or Not To Logo

You probably noticed that I didn’t include company logos.  Depending on the email program, server, virus protection or even computer, logos don’t always appear as we would like them to.  Therefore, I prefer to err on the side of caution and not include a company logo.

Disclaimers

It is always a good idea to include a disclaimer at the bottom of your emails, especially if your company engages in sales or research.  We may not read them, but let’s agree to keep the lawyers happy! To find one that works for your company, do a Google search of “email disclaimer” or “email disclaimer template”.

Mobile Devices

Don’t forget your mobile devices!  Anyone who uses a BlackBerry, iPhone or other mobile device for work also needs to update their corporate signature to match their desktop signature.  For directions on how to accomplish this, ask your teenage son or daughter, or visit the manufacturer’s website. With a BlackBerry, go to Messages – Options – Email Preferences and then follow the prompts.

Making It Work for You

This is a relatively easy step in the brand management process.  If you would like to take it further, think about things like color.  What color is your logo and incorporate that in your signature. Maybe use the same font from your business cards to keep the messaging consistent. Take a look at the options offered by your email program; perhaps they have a “stationary” feature which you can use to express your corporate personality.  Whatever you decide… be consistent company wide.  Once you have decided on the final version, PROOFREAD it and save it as a word document so that you always have it handy and keep it updated.

Like what you have read? Don’t have time to do your own marketing? Contact me at clarejmorgan@hotmail.com

If you would like to use our blog post we are thrilled but request that you include the following when doing so: Marketing Industry leader, Clare J. Morgan is respected for her successful communications, public relations, branding and special events in the financial services, publishing and prepaid distribution industries.  Follow Clare on Twitter @clarejmorgan or connect with her on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin/in/clarejmorgan

Additional Resources Declaration of Independence www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

How to Create an Electronic Signature www.ehow.com/how_4783368_create-electronic-signature.html

Email Signature Etiquette www.ehow.com/way_5152314_email-signature-etiquette.html

How to Get the Perfect Sample Email Signatures for professional, business or personal use www.ehow.com/how_5604945_perfect-professional-business-personal-use.html

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