I think everyone wants a sexy email signature (my favorite adjective for good design), but they’re not sure they have the technical skills to make it happen.
News flash: It’s easier than ever!
I’m going to require you to create an email signature this week (if you don’t already have one).
Why? Digital marketing is your 24/7 virtual representation. You’ve spent tons of time, money, and energy cultivating a website and social footprint, so keep inviting audiences! “Sent from my iPhone” is a lost opportunity to connect further.
Step 1: Decide what's included.
Your name and website are the bare minimum. I’ll let you choose if you’d like to include a title, phone number, social platforms, etc. I’m a minimalist, so seeing someone include their email address in their email signature seems redundant.
When it comes to both design and marketing, less can be more (as in more clicks to your website, Facebook or Twitter versus no clicks at all).
Decide what’s important to you (phone calls, website visitors, social followers, etc.) and strategize your signature’s components.
Step 2: Decide how to build
The simplest way is to link text (which we’ll get to more in Step 4). For example, there’s no reason why you can’t just spell out Facebook | Twitter | Instagram, instead of trying to embed mobile-friendly graphic icons.
The next easiest way is through Gmail’s settings (which we’ll get to in the video). If you want an easy way to include social icons, this is it! Our company’s email signatures were built in Gmail!
Otherwise, my favorite resources include:
mydesignpad.com ($55–$99 personalized designs + DIY tutorials)
Step 3: Caress the design
Once you’ve decided what’s included, it’s time to get creative!
It’s easy to make something sleek and sexy by simply formatting the text (as we’ve done by bolding the steps in this tutorial!). For example, how are you going to format your name over the chosen contact information? TITLE CASE, Sentence Case, or lower case? Bold? Colored? Underlined? Sized?
If you want to add some art, I applaud you! I like email signatures with a photo, monogram/logo, signed first name, and/or social icons. These are suggested design elements. Please do not use all of them!
If you need help formatting graphics (and you don’t own Photoshop or can’t afford a designer), use PicMonkey.com. We’ve found social icons that are about 30 pixels x 30 pixels worked best across various devices. Start with these!
When looking over your final design, make sure it balances authenticity and strategy. Remember that less is more!
Step 4: Link and sync
Once you've made your content and design choices, it is (usually) very easy to make a hyperlink! In most email platforms (not yet in iOS), you simply highlight the word you want to link and find the function to add a hyperlink!
If you’re in Gmail, click on the chains in the signature menu bar to make a link. (You can do this for images, too!)
If you’re in Mac Mail, hold down control + click with the mouse, choose hyperlink, and paste the address!
Heads up: This might be where you get technologically overwhelmed and give up. Hang tight. You can do this! It may take some time to sit down and figure it out, but remember that all of the resources listed have helpful Q&As—if not full customer support teams.
Once you’ve got your signature linked, send an email to yourself and test everything! Do all of the links work? If so, reply to yourself with “You Rock!”
The final step is to sync it up! Copy and paste your new email signature(s) into all of your accounts/devices. For an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Mail > Signatures.
Note that I say signature(s), as most of us do so many things (not to mention balancing several email accounts). Do not be afraid of creating a few email signature variations. You can then customize the signature per account or audience! For example, on some emails, I am "Founder, Creative Social Media." On others, I am "Actor + Collaborator."
In closing, remember that you should include your website and social links wherever possible. Connect with your audience through your email signatures, printed bios, social media bios, business cards, and more!
What should (or shouldn't) be included in an email signature? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.