I get a lot of e-mail. I mean a lot. Perhaps you do, too. There are three e-mail boxes I check regularly, with a handful of others that I access on occasion. Personally, I still prefer basic text e-mail messages most of the time. The colors, backgrounds and images look fancy, but e-mail is a communication tool for me. I don’t really care what it looks like, I just want the message.
Some e-mail users go to extremes in decorating their messages. Forget the unnecessary window treatments, however, and look at the end. The last item in a message is often the sig (signature) line. Ideally, this provides the necessary contact information for the sender. My office sig line has my name, SBE Certifications, phone, fax, Radio magazine URL and Facebook and Twitter URLs. I think it’s a little long, but it includes the info that I am most often asked for. Mine also include a reference for the Radio magazine general e-mail address. There are no graphics in my sig line. The text says it best.
Some people’s sig lines are out of control. Some look like a Nascar vehicle there are so many logos. Some look like the cover for an inspirational book with flowery graphics. The worst is when someone places logos that link to something unrelated. (I know of one person’s sig line that has a logo that links to a larger version of that same logo. That’s really helpful. This same person has all the logos so large it detracts from his messages, and makes it confusing to know where he works or what he represents.)
Other sig lines include some supposedly thought-provoking sentence. I can accept a company tagline in a business message, but I don’t really need the inspirational thought or cute quip.
I also don’t see the need to include a sign line on every reply. In a back-and-forth exchange, I often see the same sig line repeated over and over. Enough already, I know who you are and how to contact you.
Let’s apply the same e-mail etiquette to the sig lines. Make them short and simple. Take out the fluff.