Recently, I began to think about the way I read emails, and in turn the way people read my emails. You may think that means I have too much time on my hands but, bear with me. I learned something really interesting during this bout of email introspection.
With all the texts and Facebook messaging that we participate in, we’ve trained ourselves to look quickly for the content, and ignore everything else.
So, what does that mean for email signatures? Good question.
Sure, a signature with your company logo and phone numbers is almost compulsory if you want to look professional, but is there any point in including anything else?
My email reading behaviour
I get a lot of emails that fall into the following categories: marketing, newsletters, promos and, general communication from companies and people that I am vaguely interested in.
This is how I read email. It may similar to how you read email too.
I scan the subject for anything interesting or relevant. Then, I instantly decide to do one of three things:
- read it
- file it away or,
- delete it
If I do read it, I certainly stop when I get to the signature. I also ignore whatever comes after the signature.
So, why should I bother promoting a new product, our company Facebook page or anything else in the signature. If I don’t read that far, why would anyone else?
I have an idea about how to do in-email information differently.
Why not use headers?
We used to mail letters that had a company logo and contact details as a header. But now, in the age of emails, it all moved south and became a signature where we promptly ignore it!
What are the benefits of using headers? Quite a lot really.
From a marketing point of view, the greatest benefit is that you put your logo, and any promo links right in front of the reader. This will all appear before the content, so it’s much harder to just skim over.
Secondly, your signature becomes more sincere. Everyone has “thanks and regards” or “yours sincerely”, yet we all know that it wasn’t actually typed as part of the message. Those sign-offs are usually automated, so having an actual ‘thank you’ at the end of the email would at least “appear” more sincere.
Again, the answer is simple.
Create a signature that is laid out more like a header. If you must include any promotional graphics in your signature, keep them small. And, don’t make the signature or the images over power the content. You don’t want your email content to be hard to find.
A final tip
Try some different variations on your new-look email with a header and a simple signature.
Ask people what they think, ask what works best. Ask if they even noticed the difference!
It may take a few iterations but, finding a better layout for your company emails will ensure your messages work better for your company, and everyone that you email.