I know that I am a very cranky person, but the number of people who fail at the most basic level of internet communication sincerely boggles the mind. I’m not talking about people who can’t write, can’t spell, or try to paste PowerPoint slides into their emails. I’m talking about people who do not have the basic courtesy to include an email signature at the bottom of every email.
Honest to God, I have better things to do than spend my life looking up your contact details on your website every time I need to get in touch with you. And if I have to go back through 162 emails to find the one where you actually gave me your mobile number, I’m going to be swallowing a metric tonne of irritation by the time I manage to get ahold of you.
Everyone communicating from a company, even as a sole trader, needs an email signature, and needs to include it on every email by default. Ideally, the signature should follow an intelligent plain text format: everything I need to get in touch with you should be visible, even to those of us who do not have HTML turned on in emails.
Web Design, Marketing & Communications
P: 021 234 9938
M: 085 702 8212
Arguably, if you’re getting email from me, you probably don’t need my email address. I include this to make it easy for people to pass on my complete contact details to other folks with a simple cut and paste. It adds one line and I think it’s a good idea.
Obviously, a lot of people include the country code for their numbers in their email footer. This is good practice for international globetrotters, but I am not one. I prefer to work mostly in Ireland with Irish clients, and fucking up the aesthetics of my email signature annoys me at least as much as working with clients in LA.
Here are some things that are not in my email footer and drive me crazy in other people’s:
- The sender’s name rendered as anything other than the plainest possible text. I understand that you’re incredibly creative and that being a corporate drone sucks, but this is not the medium to demonstrate your personal design flair.
- An embedded logo graphic. I’m communicating with a person, not a brand. If I can’t remember what company you’re with, you have bigger issues than the tragedy that is your email signature.
- A great big green P and a note to please consider the environment before printing this email. Do I look like an idiot? I haven’t printed an email that isn’t a plane ticket since 1997, so please piss off and mind your own carbon footprint.
To recap: Email is a communication medium. Your email signature should make it easy for me to communicate with you, first by existing and secondly by containing the stripped down essentials I need in order to, you know, communicate with you.
And if you make me turn on HTML to do that, I will hate you forever.