Email signature 101: What to include, benefits, examples, & more
Does your text-only email signature need an upgrade? We've got you covered. Get email signature best practices for every profession and stand out every time you hit send 👇
What is an email signature? 🧐
So, to kick things off: what is an email signature?
An email signature is typically a block of text at the bottom of emails that includes key pieces of professional contact information. This allows you to continue interactions with recipients outside of email chains, for example, over the phone, on Zoom, or in person.
But that's only scratching the surface.
In email signatures, you can also include clickable image banners, which link to content, special offers, new product launches, and more.
That makes them a useful marketing tool, helping you drive quality traffic to your site.
In this guide, we're going to help you realise the full potential of your professional email signature and make a great impression in your recipients' inboxes.
What are the benefits of an email signature? 🤔
You might be asking yourself about the importance of a customised email signature, as opposed to simply just rounding off your emails with “Best” or “Kind Regards”.
So we're here to set the record straight. Here are the top 3 reasons why you need to invest in your email signature:
It’s personal 🤝
Customised email signatures are a way to express your personality to recipients, many of whom you may not have met.
For example, you can add a high-quality photo of yourself in your email signature to help recipients put a face to a name and humanise your email conversations.
If you or your team has recently won an award, you can include the relevant logo, like a Queen's Award for Enterprise, instantly increasing trust between you and the recipient.
With these extra details, you can help build both your company and your personal brand.
So now's the time to bin your default “Sent from my iPhone/iPad/Apple Watch” message once and for all.
It’s a great marketing tactic 🎯
And adding clickable image CTAs to your email signature helps recipients connect with you and your brand in more meaningful ways.
But what is email signature marketing, exactly?
Well, let’s say you’re given the task to promote a new product or service on behalf of a company you work for. You can link a one pager describing its benefits in a clickable image CTA.
Social media icons, meanwhile, help recipients engage with your brand without being sold to. And eventually, when the recipient does make a buying decision, you'll be top of mind.
It’s professional 👨🏽💼
Think of a professional profile on a company website. They usually a high-quality photo, basic but important information, and links to social media accounts.
Email signatures function in the same way, giving you credibility within your industry.
Email signatures also serve a professional branding purpose. Because if everyone in your company uses the same email signature template, it looks uniform and standardised.
What are the key components of a professional email signature? 🧑🏿🍳
Scroll or use the menu below to discover all the key ingredients of a professional email signature 👇
By looking at your email signature, recipients will know:
With that in mind, be sure to include:
Tip 1: Don’t include your email address because the recipient can just click “Reply”.
Tip 2: Remember, keep the above information simple and easy to understand. For example, a recipient may be confused about how to reach you if you include more than two phone numbers.
High-quality visuals 🤳🏿
Don’t include pixelated images. If you’re going to include a photo of yourself, make sure it’s high quality.
Images that are unclear may appear unprofessional and untrustworthy.
Tips on taking a professional photo of yourself
- Take your photo in a room with good natural lighting. For example, in a room with lots of windows.
Tip 1: Be aware that excessive sunlight may spoil the clarity of your photo.
Tip 2: If you take your photo at night, artificial lights might spoil the quality of the photo.
- Opt for a clear, light background like you would on a passport photo.
No cropped images:
- The set 1x1 measurement in email signature generators means that parts of your face will either be cropped out or overly zoomed in.
- Don’t forget to smile and present recipients with a friendly face. This’ll personalise your signature.
Professional sign off ✍🏻
Use phrases like “Best,” “Kind regards,” or “Many thanks”. Informal phrases like “Laters,” “Ciao,” and “In a bit” will make you sound unprofessional.
Simple design 👀
There’s nothing worse than an overcrowded email signature because it distracts the recipient.
Keep to one colour and font scheme. Ideally, it should be the one based around your brand or company.
And the same goes for clickable icons.
Finally, it's worth using a table or divider so you can make sure the design looks simple and all the information has been formatted correctly.
So, you’ve made your email signature professional. But there's a final piece left in the puzzle:
They’re crucial as they ensure your email messages GDPR compliant. So don’t forget to put one in.
Animated GIFs are great for drawing attention because they're moving images. But including more than one is likely to distract your recipient.
An appropriate use of GIFs in an email signature is in your company logo. For example, you could use the first part of the GIF to make your company logo appear before following it up with your value proposition.
CTAs and social media icons 📈
- Sharing or promoting content/content distribution.
- Highlighting special offers
- Linking meeting portals
Tip: Use a CTA to link a calendar where someone can set up a meeting with you. It takes the stress out of sifting through emails to find meeting links.
Just remember - don’t include multiple CTAs, and make sure they’re relevant to your business needs right now.
Using a generator tool is a great way to ensure your email signature has a high quality look to it every time. And in the clip below you'll find out how Cognism's email signature generator tool works 👇
Generating traffic with your email signature 🏎
Scroll or use the menu below to learn how email signature CTAs can help you drive traffic to your site 👇
What is a CTA? 🤷🏽♀️
A call to action helps customers take the most natural next step in their journey, whether that's reviewing further information, booking a demo, or purchasing a product.
An email signature CTA is a bonus marketing channel to use to help drive traffic to your site, and increase on-page conversions.
CTA email signatures are gold dust in B2B marketing.
How do you write a CTA? 🧑🏻💻
The wording should be clear, concise, and instructional. After all, you want to convince recipients to take the next step.
Once the action has been taken, you can then work on securing further commitment.
For example, you might want to convince someone to sign up for a newsletter. Your CTA should be worded like: “Subscribe to the newsletter now”.
The newsletter becomes a regular email in the customer’s inbox. After that, you can work on keeping that person committed to reading your content.
What are CTA phrase examples? 💡
CTAs should always directly address the customer. Don’t waffle or use long-winded phrases as you’ll risk losing traffic.
If you're at the top of the marketing or sales funnel (TOFU), use the phrases in the blue space. If you're in the middle of the marketing funnel (MOFU) use the phrases in the purple space. And if you're at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) lean towards the phrases in the red space.
What are the different CTA formats? 🔁
There are several different types of clickable CTAs:
- Clickable social media icons with direct links to social media profiles.
- Clickable buttons that direct people to demand generation content e.g. YouTube videos, webinars, podcasts, eBooks, white papers, blog posts.
- Clickable banners that direct people to offers.
- CTAs that link and direct your target audience and customers to polls or surveys.
Remember: Be selective with the CTAs you include so you don’t overwhelm the recipient.
How should I use clickable social media icons? 📲
When you use social media icons, remember to link profiles that are valuable to your business. For example, don’t link your Twitter feed if you haven’t tweeted since 2010.
A note on design
CTAs and social media icons are also visual. That means you need to design your banner, button, or icon properly.
Make sure it’s the right size and not pixelated. If done well, clickable icons will be the first thing the recipient sees in the signature.
How can I tailor my email signature to my industry? 🤔
Go the extra mile and personalise your signature by making it specific to your job.
Scroll through the menu below, or flick through to find tailored email signature guidance for a range of industries 👇
If you’re an artist, your email signature is a great opportunity to:
- Showcase your talent
- Connect with key people in your industry, like gallery owners and buyers.
Here's what can help your email signature stand out:
Add some artistic flair
Art is centred around self expression and your email signature can reflect that.
Think about showing your talent through decorative features in your clickable image CTA.
But don’t go overboard. Make sure it’s still professional and easy to read and navigate around.
Link to your work through platforms that are most relevant:
Think carefully about the platforms where the art community hangs out and build your presence on that platform.
You can use a clickable Instagram icon to link a page showing your recent work.
Notify people of upcoming gallery openings and events:
If you have upcoming events, your signature is a great way to advertise them.
You can convince recipients to meet you in person, so you can carry on the conversation outside of email.
Include a CTA that links to a calendar where recipients can directly book tickets to your gallery openings, exhibits, or events.
An email signature can help reinforce your status as a trusted medical professional.
Here are some best practice tips for doctors:
Add credibility by:
- Including a handwritten signature:
A handwritten signature is more personal, helping you connect better with patients.
- Including a professional photograph:
All of the components of your email signature should be professional. So don’t compromise the quality of it with a poor-quality photo of yourself.
Avoid putting your job title just as “doctor”
If you just label yourself as “doctor” on your email signature, you’ll confuse the recipient. So, state what you specialise in. For example: “physiotherapist”, “paediatrician”, or “ear, throat and nose specialist”.
State the medical school you graduated from plus other qualifications
The more proof you have of your professional capabilities the better. Patients will be reassured by your credentials, making it easier to trust your recommendations.
Remember to include the address of your practice/place of work
Some doctors work in private clinics, some work in public or local GP practices. Some work in hospitals.
Be specific and include the address of where you work/are based, so patients can check in with reception if you can't return their emails/calls.
Graphic designer ✏️
As a graphic designer, you’ll be looking to use your email signature as a space to show off your talent and stand out from others in your industry.
Here are our best practice tips:
Showcase your skills
Recipients will immediately draw a link between the design quality of your email signature with the standard of your work.
Link to your portfolio on relevant sites
Use your signature as a method to drive traffic to the sites where you display or promote your work. These could include:
- Your Instagram page
- Your Pinterest board
- Your personal website
As a lawyer, you need to show that you’re reputable and professional in your email signature.
Include a legal disclaimer
It’s crucial that you include a confidentiality and legal disclaimer in case conversations with your clients are compromised.
Cover the type(s) of law you practice
Clients are more likely to get in touch with you via email if you specifically state the type of laws you practice. For example, family law or environmental law.
The more information you can provide, the less hesitation clients will have when clicking on your signature.
State whether you’re self-employed or work for a firm
Make sure you indicate whether you’re self-employed, have your own practice, or work on behalf of someone else at a firm.
Also be sure to include the law firm address. This is especially useful if you’re working for a firm with multiple offices.
Include a professional photograph
A professional photo will help add legitimacy to your email signature.
State the law school where you’ve studied
Show potential clients they can trust you with their case by showing where you studied law.
Include a CTA for a potential client to set up a meeting
It’s normal to have an introductory meeting with a client.
Use a CTA that will direct a client to an online calendar with your availability.
Your email signature is a great b2b marketing tactic.
Here's what you should include/consider:
Include relevant CTAs
These are a no-brainer for your email signature as a marketer.
Here are some (by no means all) ideas:
- Social media icons
- Clickable banner to a sign-up link for a newsletter
- YouTube icon to your page or latest/most popular video.
Make it clear the type of marketer you are
Depending on where you're based in marketing, the contents of your email signature are going to be different.
For example, a content marketer is likely to have a CTA linking to the blog, whereas a product marketer is going to link to a product roadmap.
Email marketing is a great marketing tool in real estate. Here's what you should include in yours:
State Realtor/estate agent office address
If you’re working on behalf of an estate agent or real estate office, include your address.
If a client sees that you’re part of a reputable group, they’re more likely to trust you.
Don’t have a vague title
Are you the owner of the real estate company? Do you specialise in particular property types, such as commercial, or residential? Freehold or leasehold?
Make it convenient for the recipient, and save tiring, lengthy Google searches.
Link to website including property listings
Use a CTA to direct recipients to latest property listings on the agent’s website. This’ll immediately tempt people to click and find out more about the type of properties you sell.
Include a CTA to book viewings via calendar portal
Phone calls are fine, but they can also be time consuming ways to set up viewing appointments. There’s always a lot of back and forth trying to figure out when buyers and sellers are free to show and see properties.
As a realtor, you’ll be dealing with more than one client at once. Have you ever been a situation where you said that you’d call someone back about booking a viewing, but forget to?
Even if you don’t mean to do it, it might come across as unprofessional. A detailed calendar of availability that’s just one click away is a great way to solve this issue.
What is email signature selling?
It's a killer technique as a salesperson.
Because you can generate conversations and convert prospects, right from your sales email signature.
Here's what to remember:
- Tailor your CTA depending on where you are in the sales funnel. For example, if you're in the awareness stage you might want to consider linking your most popular content such as an eBook or a blog post.
- Specify the type of salesperson you are. Are you an SDR, a BDR, or an AE?
The reality is, as a student you’re always thinking about “the future”. Whether it’s the step from school to university, or from university into post-graduate life.
Companies are always looking to get in touch with students, and having a professional email signature could be the thing that puts you ahead of the queue.
Especially if you’re still in school, having a professional email signature shows initiative from an early stage. You’re more likely to be kept in mind by people if you’re showing this skillset.
So learn what you need to include to make the right impression:
State education level:
Are you about to finish school and start university? Are you a first-year, penultimate or final-year student?
Make this clear on your email signature to avoid confusion.
State main area of study/degree major
This helps professors in your faculty contact you with ease.
State where you’re studying
Including your school or university in your email signature helps employers learn more about your education.
What if you’re at a Russell Group/Ivy League college/university? This can immediately be indicated to your network, because it’s clearly written on your email signature.
Even if you’re still in school, there’s no harm in including this information. You might want to get some work experience, and from the beginning someone in HR will know who you are and where you study.
Mention extracurricular activities
Whether you’re at school or university, let people know you’re involved in certain activities.
But, don’t list every single extra-curricular project you’re a part of. That’s what a CV is for.
Include the one you’re most proud of, or have been the most involved in.
This is a great way to show your network that you are passionate about something and make an impression on your recipient.
Inform people of your career prospects:
Are you planning on going to university? Maybe you’d like to get an apprenticeship, or take a gap year? This should be clear, so you attract the right network or group of people.
Use a CTA to link your LinkedIn Profile or CV, so people know more about your experience and grades.
If you’re a teacher looking to stand out from your peers, check out our email signature advice below:
State type of teacher:
Attract prospective employers and parents.
Are you a kindergarten/primary school teacher? Do you teach in high school or university?
Maybe you’re a research fellow lecturer?
What subject do you teach?
Include this information to improve the quality of traffic from your signature.
State current employment status:
If you’re already working at a school or university, give an address.
If you’re open to working somewhere else, then it’s worth mentioning.
Open to personal tutoring? State that in your signature.
Link to your LinkedIn profile:
An email signature is a small space, so you won’t have space to write every single detail out. You’ll have to be brief and selective.
But there’s a way around this.
Use a clickable social media icon linking to your LinkedIn profile. This way, people can find out information, such as your employment status.
This section has briefly covered some tips for each profession-specific email signature. In the left-hand menu, you can find detailed guides for every profession.
Email signature FAQs 🙋🏼♀️
Can I make my email signature for free?
Yes, you can manually make a signature, or you can make one using an email signature generator.
How do I create an email signature on Outlook?
Save icons→ Open “Outlook”→Hit “Settings”→Type “Signature” in search→ Click on “Email signature”→ Type in signature or paste from a generator.
How do I create an email signature on Apple Mail?
Go to “Settings”→ Click on “Mail”→ Scroll down and tap on the “Signature” button→ Select either one or all accounts→ Delete “Sent from my iPhone”→Paste signature from the generator or type in the text box→ Exit “Settings”→ Click on “Mail”→ Write a new message and the signature will pop up.
Go to “Settings”→ Click on “Mail”→ Scroll down and tap on the “Signature” button→ Select either one or all accounts→ Delete “Sent from my iPad”→ Type in the text box→ Exit “Settings”→ Click on “Mail”→ Write a new message: the signature will pop up.
Click on “Mail” app→ Click on “Mail” icon in the app→ Open “Preferences”→ Click “Signatures”, then “All Signatures”→ Click the “+” sign→ Delete default name and email address→ Type in the text box→ Click “place signature above quoted text”→ Close “Preferences” and open “Mail”→ Open new draft message→ Select preferred signature.
On Apple Watch:
Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone→ Scroll down and tap “Mail”→ Click on “Signature”→ Delete “Sent from my Apple Watch”→ Type in the text box→ Exit the Apple Watch app→ Launch “Mail” in your watch, and write your message→ The signature will appear after your message is sent.
How do I create an email signature on Gmail?
Open “Gmail”→ Open “Settings”→ Scroll down to “Signature” under “General”→ Click on signature/ hit “Create New” under “No Signatures” section→ Type signature→ Scroll down and “Save Changes”.
Why use a generator to make an email signature?
It’s easier to create a professional, custom email signature if you use the generator. All you have to do is paste it into the relevant textbox when you’re adding a new signature.
It’s much easier to add extras such as:
- CTAs and social media icons
What size should my email signature be?
300-600 pixels wide and 150-200 pixels high. These are the best dimensions.
Make sure you test your final email signature on different devices.
What are some things to avoid when creating an email signature?
- Overcrowding the email signature. Stick to one font, one colour scheme, and a select few images. Plus, don’t overdo it with CTAs and social media icons. Less is more.
- Inserting cheesy quotes. There’s no place for a “Live laugh love” quote on your email signature. This is important especially for professional email signatures.
What is a clickable email signature?
A clickable email signature includes CTAs such as social media icons or clickable banners. They will lead to sites, content, or portals for meetings.
How should I go about designing my email signature?
Keep it simple. Align with the colours of your company, and use one font. Make sure it all fits together nicely.
Are email signatures necessary?
Email signatures are necessary for a couple of reasons:
- They help to make a lasting impression: you’ll stand out as you won’t be using default messages like everyone else.
- They’re great for marketing. Clickable icons can keep conversations going and generate traffic to your sites.
- You can use your email signature as part of your go-to-market strategy, and share TOFU content.
If you want to create strong brand recognition, then an email signature is a great way to do this. Each time a new email drops in the recipient’s inbox, they’re reminded of you and your brand.
Why is my email signature blurry/not clear/pixelated?
There’s a couple of reasons why your email signature might be blurry:
- If your mobile device scaling settings haven’t been set, the signature might be coming out fuzzy.
- Not using the correct format for images. Make sure they’re in a PNG format.
How do I create a unique email signature?
A unique email signature is all about creating an email signature that’s personal and special to you. It helps with engagement with your brand, as it’ll stand out from other people who perhaps haven’t invested as much time into their email signature. Recipients will recognise your email signature to be unique, because you’ve paid attention to little details, even aligned it with current trends.
Here are some components to think about including when creating a unique email signature:
- A colour scheme e.g. colours of your personal branding/the company you work for
- Clickable icons
- Photograph of yourself
- Company logo or image
- Gender pronouns
- Causes you support
And there we have it! You're ready to create your professional email signature 🤝