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First, the professional side.
At the end of your work emails, you sign off with an email signature—or at least, in my humble opinion, you should. Your email signature is more than just your name and title; it’s part of your personal and professional branding. You can think of it as a digital business card. It might seem like a small detail, but it can make a big impression, especially on the people you communicate with outside your organization.
Let’s talk first about the logistics of your email signature. You don’t want to include too much information and overwhelm your recipient—but your signature is a free marketing/branding opportunity, so you do want to make it as complete and engaging as possible.
- Name, title/position and organization. This is the bare minimum, right here—be sure all of these elements are included. You can use your organization’s logo instead of just listing it in text.
- Contact information. Include your website’s URL and at least one phone number—two if you don’t mind people contacting you on your mobile. Some people like to also include the physical address of their organization.
- Social links. A link to your LinkedIn profile is a nice touch, especially if it’s complete and you like to connect with colleagues on that platform. If your organization has a strong presence on Facebook, you can include that as well.
- Photo. This is completely optional, but some people include a thumbnail photo in their signature—it can help the reader put your face to your name.
- A quick line about your cause. This is optional too, but if your organization has a tagline or short mission statement, you can include it at the bottom.
This is important: Don’t make your email signature too long or include an overwhelming amount of content. Studies have shown that recipients tend to ignore email signatures with too much information. For example, one or two phone numbers is usually enough.
Also, shy away from adding irrelevant information such as long quotes or controversial sayings. They don’t add value, and they could potentially offend or annoy people.
Now let’s talk about the personal side.
Before your standard email signature, you likely sign off with a word or phrase like, “regards” or “best wishes.” That’s a nice touch, but have ever wondered which is most appropriate?
Several closings may work, but choosing the one that reflects your personality and communicates your intended message may require some thought. Here are some common ways to close and what they may convey about you and your tone of voice.
Thank you, Thanks, or Thx
Any version of “thank you” implies that you’re courteous, thoughtful and polite. However, ending every single email with noted appreciation may be overdoing it a little. Depending on the content of your email, a form of gratitude may not be appropriate. Also, beware of partnering the word “thanks” with a period as it may come off as passive-aggressive, depending on the content of your email leading up to it. Sometimes punctuation speaks louder than words. And as for abbreviations of any kind, leave them to texts.
If you use “cheers” to sign off on emails, you may come across as personable, approachable and confident in your communication. This doesn’t necessarily take away from your professionalism, but if the content of your email happens to be of a serious nature, you’ll want to skip this sign-off since it’s often perceived as a fun, upbeat word.
This is one of the most common email sign-offs. It’s typically neither too formal nor too casual, but it can come across as generic since it’s so common. That’s not a bad thing, but if you want to appear more personable, you may want to look for a different word. Adding “kind” or “warm” or another positive word before “regards” is a nice spin.
The odds of you seeing this in an email today are pretty slim, but if you’re one of few still using “sincerely,” it may be perceived that you’re hanging on to an outdated signature. In other words, it’s old-school. However, if you need a more formal word in an email of a serious nature, it may be highly appropriate.
Have a great morning/day/evening/weekend
This can be perceived as too casual for business emails, but a great by-product of this style of signature is it can leave the reader with a positive feeling. It may be most appropriate for inter-office communications or with colleagues you have a more personable relationship with.
Unless you’re working with your significant other or another loved one, steer clear. It’s safe to say this letter pairing isn’t the most appropriate for the modern workplace.
Nothing at all but your name
This is not a terrible option, but it can come across cold and impersonal. You may just be efficient and not care to add more words than necessary to your emails, which is a noble goal. Just be sure that the tone of your email doesn’t sound curt and/or angry. Signing off with just your name will amplify that tone.
No matter how you craft your own personal email signature, we can help you create the perfect emails for your donors, constituents and everyone else on your nonprofit’s mailing list. With the Firespring email marketing system, you can create beautiful HTML emails in a snap. Be sure every email you send is the best reflection of your organization. Learn more about Firespring’s email marketing product.