But then I came across an excellent post from the GigaOm network by Dave Clarke - The Email Signature: From Efficient to Overkill - but I found that it still missed a key element - the mobile, desktopless world we live in. So, I am going to take creative liberty and improvise his post to share what I consider to be the key to a great email signature, and the etiquettes.
The key is to have a concise, one line email signature that captures how I can contact you and learn about you.
Here is a typical long email signature and yes, I copied it from a real person's email but changed the identity:
I am following up regarding sale of 7,000 user licenses. Did you get the invoice?
Linda P. Smith
Senior Vice President, Boiler Plate Inc.
799 Bounty Dr, Suite 204, Foster City, CA 94107
(919) 945 8344 Phone (919) 848 4843 FAX
Follow me on Twitter @LindaPSmith
Find me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/LindaPSmith
Blogging at http://followmeblog.com
Yes, this is a real signature. And I have seen longer signatures that include other modes of connectivity. So let's look at what is and is not needed in an email signature.
5 Steps to a Great Email Signature
1. No Email Address: This is an obvious one if you think about it - if I am getting an email from you, I already have your email address. Its redundant, get rid of it.
2. Only One Line: Your goal should be to fit your email signature on one line. This is the most important point (and missing from Dave Clarke's great post). Here is my email signature and how it looks in an email:
Great post on email signatures. Check out my post and let me know what you think about the improvisations I propose.
Anshu Sharma | Vice President | 919.888.4343 (m) | www.anshublog.comHere's why? Most people these days read your email on a mobile device and every additional line you have makes it harder to scroll and read a thread. Remember, this rule applies even if you are not sending the email from a mobile device - its about the recipient and not the sender.
3. No Fax: I agree with Dave, unless you work in a job where you regularly get faxes, leave it out. Your recipient can always call or email you to ask for it as needed.
4. No Address: Again, same as above. No need to include a mailing address unless you expect people to show up at your office. Make sure your website has that information (and that when people search your company's name on Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps, it shows up).
5. Avoid Social Media Overload: We get it that you have a blog, a twitter account, a great resume on LinkedIn and so on and so forth. Pick one URL that is most relevant and publish that in your signature. If you have been watching TV these days, you will notice that Honda and Toyota ask you to visit www.facebook.com/Toyota etc. and not their corporate website. The call to action to visit you must be simplified. You can then let me connect to other media from that website.
As we keep adding channels from LinkedIn to Twitter; and delivery mechanisms from desktops to iPhones to iPads; and message formats from tweets to texts to emails. Its upto us to help each other maintain a semblance of inbox sanity. A clear concise signature and a clear concise subject line are the first two steps in that direction.