12 Reasons Your Email Signature Looks Bad
1. Your email signatures are not centrally managed.
Of course, you may smile at this answer, considering we provide software for centrally controlling email signatures (we might be a bit biased, after all). But the fact of the matter is it’s true. And it brings us to our next reason, which is, “because your email signatures are created by individual users.”
When email signatures are not centrally managed, it is up to each individual to write and format his or her email signature. This includes ensuring that the logo is correctly inserted and that all contact information is accurate. Of course, email signatures that are not centrally managed also can’t be used for email signature marketing. The solution to why your company’s email signatures look bad is to centrally manage them.
2. You create the email signature yourself.
All email applications have their own editor to create and maintain email signatures. In fact, you may ask, “why should the email signatures be centrally managed when I can create them myself?” The quick answer is that you can indeed create them yourself, but are you an email signature design specialist? Maybe you have worked a bit in Photoshop making your holiday photos nicer, but does that make you an email signature design expert? And how exactly do you intend to code the email signature so it looks good everywhere they are read?
No easy answers, right? That’s what we thought. Don’t design the email signature yourself and believe that your emails will look awesome. Leave it to professionals.
3. You copy a colleague’s email signature, modify it, and use this.
Should you take this route, you can only expect the damage to get worse and worse. When copying someone else’s email signature, you inherit the mistakes and errors from their original. The email signature just gets worse; it’s like a bad cycle that you cannot get out of unless you start from scratch. Don’t copy someone else’s email signature!
4. You copy and paste the company logo from your company’s web site into your email signatures.
This is such a bad idea. Independent of the email program’s email signature editor that you paste it into, a logo that is copy and pasted will always appear as a foreign element. Hence, your poorly designed email signatures will be the reason that your company’s emails are marked as spam, or show up in the recipient’s inbox with a paperclip, as if there is an attachment in the email.
5. You use Microsoft Word to design your email signature and use it in Outlook.
This is another classic mistake to avoid. Lacking better knowledge, you design the email signature in Word and copy it into Outlook’s email signature editor. Everything is good, right?
Absolutely not! When designing your email signatures in Word, you are severely limiting yourself. First of all, there are little design possibilities. Word is a word processor, not a design tool – hence the name. Second, when you copy a design from Word, you also copy a bunch of code that is not needed in the email signature. This code will only confuse the email applications used to view the email. We have seen examples of email signatures taking up over 100KB of space, just for a little signature – without a logo or anything else! Don’t copy the email signature from Word.
6. Your email signature is not optimized for emails, if I can say so.
This is a more complex reason that a normal Outlook user may not be able to do anything about. Compare email signatures to website design: when you see a website in different browsers, it often looks different (unless it has been coded carefully and specifically to different browsers and different platforms). How likely is it that a website you see in Internet Explorer on a Windows device will look exactly the same as when you view it in Safari on your iPhone? Not very.
With email signatures it is the same. You cannot expect your email signatures to look exactly the same in all email programs, on all platforms, across all devices – unless you design it properly. Email programs are just little browsers who display your emails, so consider the design of your email signature carefully, and how it should be coded.
7. You have linked to a logo that does not exist anymore.
Linking to an image in your email signature can work if you know how to add an image that has been linked, and if you remember to update this link every time the logo location changes. If you fail to do these two things, your logo will not appear properly. Embed, don’t link.
8. Your contact details are out of date, but you don’t know how to change them properly.
It is quite a common problem that contact details are incorrect in your email signature. This is often the case because users don’t know how to change them at the source. Instead, they manually change the information in the email signature every time that they send or compose a new email. I don’t suppose that you have tried this, eh?
Let’s look at some common errors. When you add your name, it appears on two lines instead of one, and you cannot figure out how to change it. Or you enter your email address, and it is line-broken because you’ve copied someone else’s email signature which was poorly designed in the first place (perhaps because this person also copied it from someone else). This is just a few of the possibilities.
9. You don’t know how to create an email signature, so you copy one from another email every time that you compose a message.
This can be very time-consuming. In many cases, people save an email in Draft mode with their most recent contact details and with an email signature that you have used before. Every time that you send an email, you copy the email signature (yes, you might even have several email signatures hidden here) from this template and paste them into the email they’re currently composing. Needless to say, the result is not very good (and the result for the recipient is most likely a red x instead of an image). The end result? An unprofessional email due to your way of handling the email signature.
10. You reply to someone who replied to your initial email from the built-in email App on iPhones.
Needless to say, we have personally been blamed for this. And that is because with Apple’s built-in email App, all images in all email signatures are replaced by <image0001.png> or similar. Does it sound and look familiar?
The reason for this failure is that the email is handled through the iPhone’s built-in email app. It simply can’t handle Pictures decently whatsoever. Unfortunately, we all have to live with it until Apple will fix this. Meanwhile, you can install and use another email app. One of the best is Google’s Gmail application as it handles images in email signatures quite well. Additionally, Xink can control html email signatures used with this app.
11. The email format has changed during the mail correspondence.
It will soon be a rare sight, but nonetheless it still happens these days – an email has been converted from html to plain text.
When you are in the middle of an email correspondence and the email format is switched to plain text, Outlook will convert the email signature to plain text as well. It does not matter if you have created a plain text email signature or not because Outlook will convert the actual email content to plain text anyway. The result is never good, suffice to say. In every case of this occurring, you will see a plain text signature that is improperly formatted. The only solution is to mark the poorly formatted plain text email signature and replace it with your correct one. You can also complain to Microsoft, of course!
12. The email takes up over 1 MB of space, even though there are no attachments.
If this occurs, you most likely have inserted a huge image and tried to format it to fit the email body’s height and width measurements. It seems to work, but it doesn’t. The image should only be inserted in your email signatures in the size it is meant to have (i.e., don’t scale the image).
These 12 reasons lists is really just a fraction of all the challenges you see if you try to design your own email signature. I hope you can use some of these tips. Check out also our huge blog post “101 do’s and don’ts in your email signatures”.