Have you ever wanted to talk to someone and you realize you don’t have his phone number?
Before I turn to Google, my first stop is my email archive. If you’re someone I do business with, I assume I’ll have at least one incoming email from you squirreled away and you’ll have a signature file listing your phone number.
But often I’ll dig out an old email and find no information whatsoever — not company name, not phone number, nothing.
If your business website is easy to navigate, it’s probably not a big problem. I can find your contact info quickly.
But what if what I really need is your cell number because you travel a lot and your website only lists your office number? Or your website hides phone numbers to reduce cold calls from salespeople?
Here are my requests in a good business signature file:
1. Your full name the way you like to be addressed — maybe your email displays as William Smith but you like to go by Bill. If you put that in your signature file, you help those who don’t know you well.
2. Your full mailing address — if I need to send you a contract or invoice, or if I want to send you a thank you note or Christmas card, make it easy. Especially if you work for a company with multiple locations or complex internal addresses.
3. Your title or what you do — If you work at a big company, it’s useful to know if you’re general counsel or a staff attorney, if you’re a vice president or an intern. If you work for yourself, maybe you can tell me that you do graphic design and screen printing.
4. Your phone number(s) — Some things just work better in a conversation, so facilitate those personal exchanges by sharing your phone number. If you don’t like being interrupted by unscheduled calls, you can still screen by letting calls go to voice mail. I’ll still feel like I’ve gotten things rolling by leaving you a message.
5. Your URL — I can probably figure it out based on your email address, but it’s just a nice convenience to be able to click on it and go straight there.
Maybe you think I already know all of this. What about when I forward one of your emails to a colleague as part of a project? Or I’m introducing you to someone electronically and I can’t remember your title? Or I can’t quite place your name?
One caution I’d add about signature files is to check how any images or fancy formatting look to various recipients. You don’t want something that looks great on your company email system but turns to garble on smartphones. Send a test email to friends who have iPhones, BlackBerrys, Androids, as much variety as you can find, and to mail, hotmail, yahoo and the like to see what the results look like.
- Dos and Don’ts of Business E-mail Signature File Use
- The Art And Science Of The Email Signature
- Professional Email Signatures – Best Practices & How To
- Dos and Don’ts of Signature File Use
- The path to a professional email signature (prdaily.com)
- Infographic: What People Put Into Their Email Signatures (marketingland.com)
- How to set up email signatures on your BlackBerry (helpblog.blackberry.com)
- What does your email signature say about you (wordsmith.com.pk)
- Including carriage return before email signature. (forums.crackberry.com)
- How to Add Twitter Signature to Gmail (techpluto.com)
- 5 Tips For A Better Email Signature [Infographic] (business2community.com)
- A plea for contact details in email signatures (alisonharmer.wordpress.com)
- 7 Ways Telemarketers Get Your Cell Phone Number (techland.time.com)