In this third post of the series Engaging Content for Email Signatures, we look at when and how to use a photo or headshot in email signature designs. Is it a good idea at all? Will you run into problems if you demand that all staff signatures should include a headshot per default? And can you let employees decide for themselves?

Headshot in Email Signature – Is it a Good Idea or Not?

There will always be different opinions on whether headshots in business email signatures are a good idea. We think it can be a good idea to use headshots in email signatures, especially for employees in customer-facing positions such as sales, support, real estate, law firms, etc.

If you own a business, it can also be a great idea to add a headshot. Very often it’s the YOU that people buy. People love to know whom they deal with. And that small photo can help build trust and credibility (perhaps they google your name, and find you on LinkedIn to learn more about you before they reply to your email).

In a recent LinkedIn discussion about email signatures started by business manager and former marketing director Tammy L. Collins, the theme of whether to use photos or not was one of the key takeaways. In Tammy’s words:

“A photo is not essential but people are more inclined to buy from you. Think about it we live in a world of social media and our faces are very public. I feel it’s essential.”

Let It Be Up to the Employee to Choose

Some people are not happy with a headshot in their business email signature. Either they think it should not matter if there is a photo or not in the signature because it draws away attention from the actual email content. Or they don’t like having their face used as part of the company’s outreach. There can be self-confidence issues or fear of being treated differently due to their appearance.

When you use a web portal like Xink to automate email signatures across the business, you can let employees decide for themselves! They can choose to use a signature design without their headshot, or just use it when they want. So give your employees limited creative freedom and allow them to decide, for example, whether or not to include their LinkedIn profiles, their headshots or their own sign-off.

How to Make a Professional Email Signature with Headshot

When you decide to have photos in signatures, you need to make sure they are professional and corporate. You want to give the right, positive impression that reflects your company’s values. And you want a consistent look across all signatures.

  • Remember that a portrait of your employees helps to highlight your company’s human side.
  • Use professional, high-quality images with no distracting elements. Invest the money in hiring a professional photographer!
  • Consider if you want to use black and white or color photos. It needs to suit your brand and visual identity.
  • Make sure the photos are consistent in style, posture, position etc.
  • Remember to smile, feel happy and relaxed in the photo. It creates a positive vibe.
  • Remember to create a mobile-friendly design so the signatures look good across different devices.

Here are some examples of how headshots can be created in a nice and appealing way that will help improve confidence and trust with the email audience.

Product review link in email signature_example

Headshot in email signature with a cross-device friendly design.

Gmail signature with headshotConsider the effect of using strong, bright background colors that match your brand colors, too!

How Can You Avoid the Spam Filter – and Still Have Photos?

Image heavy emails without much text can raise a red flag in spam filters. Although different spam filters have different criteria for a healthy balance of text and graphics, we recommend maintaining a proper text-to-image ratio to ensure your emails are delivered. Aim at 80:20 text to image ratio as a thumb-rule to be safe (60:40 text to image ratio can be sufficient).

Most spam filters estimate the intensity of skin and non-skin color pixels in your emails. Especially when you use head-shot photos, it’s critical to test OK for a few pilot users. We’ve also seen emails with campaign banner getting filtered as spam because the banner skin color ration was too high.

Generally, we recommend using Xink images as we secure that they will not get your email spam filtered.

Read more about how to avoid spam filters. 

Make Your Signature Memorable!

The amount of time spent in the email inbox is quite significant. In fact, a recent study conducted by McKinsey states that “the average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing e-mail”. So make the most of this top communication method, and make that signature visually appealing, professional and memorable!

Make it easy for yourself and manage everything centrally via the Xink web portal. Get a FREE trial now!

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Brand Consistency Through Email Signature