Don't Forget To Sign Your E-Mails

One of the main reasons I go back to someone's website after I know or start doing business with them is to grab a phone number or address. Like many, I've ditched my phone book because it's much faster to hop onto Goggle or a company website.  Since I'm in my e-mail all day, an even faster method is to look at an e-mail signature block because the people I want to call are usually the ones I've most recently e-mailed.  So it is frustrating when an e-mail is simply signed with a name and no contact information, especially when their email says "call me."

Here's a good signature block, it includes all of the essential contact information for this person and is just 5 lines long.

John Smith
john@company.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
phone: 555-555-5555  ext. 555
fax: 444-444-4444
web: http://www.company.com

Here it is with some optional enhancements:

John Smith
Title/Position
Company Name
john@company.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
phone: 555-555-5555  ext. 555
fax: 444-444-4444
web: http://www.company.com

more information at:
http://www.company.com/news/ - News
http://www.twitter.com/MyCompany - Alerts
http://www.linkedin.com/in/myprofile/ - Me

What is often overlooked with signature blocks is how much they can do to promote yourself and your company. First, every person you e-mail will have an easier time finding more information about you and your company so for that reason alone it's good idea to have one.  Second, and not often thought of, is that some e-mails you write, such as postings to forums or listservs with public archives, can become indexed by search engines like Google.  Having a complete signature block will increase the likelihood that the search engines attribute your e-mail to your name and will make it easier for people who stumble upon that e-mail to get in touch with you.

One complaint I often hear about signature blocks like this is that they're too formal for casual e-mails. I understand that concern but I think providing the information is more important.  What I do is sign my casual e-mails twice.  I keep my signature block as is, but simply sign my first name above it and create a little space between my name and the signature block.  Like this...

-Brendan
Brendan Chard
e: brendan@themodernfirm.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
w: https://www.themodernfirm.com
p: 800-741-8034 ext 101
f: 888-605-0495

more:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/brendanchard
http://www.twitter.com/TheModernFirm