Email signature marketing is something we’re really passionate about here at Exclaimer. So much so, we’ve developed our our own framework on what makes the perfect email signature. This is what we refer to as the “7Cs Framework of Email Signature Marketing”.
But what does this actually mean?
Defining the 7Cs Framework
We like to think of email signatures as being made up of seven key parts or components. These then all work together to form the perfect email signature to use for multiple marketing purposes.
You first start by looking at brand guidelines and ensuring your signature CONFORMS to these. This would be through the use of your corporate colors, logos, fonts, etc.
You then have the actual CONTACT block itself, which will include a name, job title, phone number, email address, maybe even a photo.
You increase the CREDIBILITY of your brand through the use of corporate certifications and awards.
You give recipients the chance to CONNECT with your company through links to your social media profiles.
You COMMUNICATE your latest marketing promotions through the use of campaign banners.
You COLLECT customer feedback through the use of one-click survey links.
And finally you COMPLY with current email law through the use of a compliant legal disclaimer.
With these seven components in place, a company places themselves in an excellent position to use their corporate email signature as a powerful marketing tool.
Now, before we go on, we just want to highlight that an email signature should never be so visually dazzling that it compromises the readability of an email. The most important part of any email remains the text that the sender types. We never recommend an email signature design that compromises the read-ability or accessibility of the intended message.
Conforming with your brand
Do your business cards, letterheads, advertising campaigns and other branded materials conform to your brand guidelines? This might sound like a strange question. The answer is that they obviously do!
But can you honestly say the same for your corporate emails?
Now, we’re pretty sure you’d never intentionally leave your brand in the hand of each individual employee. Can you imagine a company with 10,000 employees saying that it doesn’t mind how its brand is interpreted? The outcome would be absolute chaos and the company would easily trash its brand reputation.
Well, if you’re not controlling your email signatures in the same way you manage your other brand assets, that’s essentially what you’re doing.
It’s important to remember that image plays a large part in marketing. Customers want to deal with companies they perceive to be of a high quality. Most companies spend a long time developing their brand and then taking it to market. Email signatures reflect that brand, when done correctly of course, just as much as any other branded materials. So why would you leave something so important in the hands of every single employee?
One employee might think it’s appropriate to use an inspirational quote in their signature. Another might change the design so it looks more fun. Another might use an off-brand font like Comic Sans. When you leave your brand in the hands of individuals, it no longer is your brand. It becomes every person’s “interpretation” of your brand. And we guarantee that won’t be what you intended.
The issue here boils down to lack of control. You need to ensure everyone has the same consistent signature design that conforms to your brand guidelines.
To do this, you need policies and enforcement rules in place. From your company logo to the color palette and font, these all need to be incorporated into corporate email signatures and then used by everyone in your company. You may still want to give your users a choice of signatures for different situations and occasions, but you still need to ensure every email signature design variant is on-brand and retains the desired impact and effect on the target audience.
But how does this translate into practice? So, a good example is UNICEF Nederland who we’ve worked in the past. UNICEF, as a global organization, has an easily recognizable brand that carries with it a powerful reputation. Its brand informs its ethos, heritage, and identity, as well as a huge amount of credibility, so it obviously has to be maintained on all corporate communications and marketing materials. A properly formatted email signature with the UNICEF branding was therefore a must so there would be no risk of harming this brand reputation. If they were to use a poorly designed signature, it would reflect badly on the organization as a whole.
Professional contact details
Surely contact details are the most important part of an email signature, right? After all, they are the core part of a signature. You might think getting these right is pretty easy. Still, as a bare minimum, we recommend you always include the following information.
First, an email signature should always include your full name. Not your first name. Not a nickname. Your FULL name, which means your first and last name. Sending an email to an external recipient without using a full name is very unprofessional. It makes the sender look like they don’t care about how they represent their company.
Then, you need to include your job title. This information helps the recipient to understand your role and job function within your company.
You’ll want to then include a telephone number. Yes, a recipient might be able to look this up on your website, but why make them do so? This is especially if you have a direct dial number. You want to make it easy for someone to contact you. Also bear in mind that if you operate in multiple countries, you’ll want to include the relevant country code in your phone number e.g. +1 for the US, +44 for the UK, and +61 for Australia. Finally, for internal emails, including an internal phone number extension saves the recipient having to look you up in the corporate directory.
Now, we also recommend you include your email address as well. Some email clients like Outlook and Gmail use display names rather than email addresses. So, when forwarding on an email, the recipient might only see “John Smith” or “Karen Green” rather than the actual address. That’s why we recommend you include your email address in your signature and link it with a “mailto:” link.
Finally, you might want to consider using a profile photo. Now, this will probably depend on the type of industry you operate in, but using photos really helps to humanize an email conversation. After all, we use profile photos on social media, and it’s always great to put a face to a name. You can include a photo in your internal email signature, external one or both – it’s up to you!
So, you’ve now learnt what the first two components of email signature marketing are. Make sure you check back soon for Part 2 on our 7Cs Framework. Also, if you want complete control over your corporate email signatures, make sure you click the links below to try Exclaimer’s award-winning solutions.