Why email signatures are pointless

The reason is simple: nobody reads them and they just clog up the internet (and my inbox) . If you want to impress me then put the necessary information in your email not down the bottom where I can’t see it.

Most of the junk you put in your signature is pointless. Read on for examples of some of the rubbish you inflict upon your recipients…

Your email address

Duh! I’ve already got your email address – you have just sent me an email. Even worse is a hotmail, gmail, junkmail address. That really makes you look professional. Not.

Your website

Why do I need this? If there is something I need to see on your site you should have the link in the body of the message. If you really really want to have it there at least make it a live link and remove the http://www bit. As an aside, it’s like putting mysite.com in your logo. I’m already on your site, you don’t need to tell me what the URL is.

Your telephone number

This one might be vaguely useful, But if you want me to call then tell me in the message. Note however that adding a freephone number in the USA is of no use to me in the UK.

An image or logo

My email client blocks images so all you are showing me is a box with a question mark. Other email clients regard images as attachments so you get the thing in the wrong place anyway.

Quotes, mission statements, taglines, inspirational messages

Do I really need to explain why these are daft? Nobody cares about your cute homily from Taylor Swift (vomit inducing guff here). Your business tagline is irrelevant unless it answers my query – I don’t care about you, I only care about what you can do for me.

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

So the fact that you are sitting in a corporate office, with the air-con on full means nothing. As long as I don’t print out the email we are saving the planet. Condesending BS.

This email was intended for the recipients only

And any manner of other legalese tosh.  It’s been discussed on many legal fora and the general opinion is that they are a waste of time.  What’s really great is that in a B2B email exchange it gets attached to every email so the 10 one line responses ends up being 2000 lines of legal garbage.

Sent from my iphone

So it means you are out of the office, busy doing something else and this is just a quick message to keep me happy. I’d much prefer you to wait until you are behind your desk or at least make me think you have focused all your attention on me rather than the last minute shopping you are doing for dinner tonight.

Just tell me what I need to know

Write to me like a human being not a corporate wonk. Put the useful stuff in the email not a signature:

Hope the info helps, if you have any problems call me on 07921 859802

All the best, Graham

The Caveat

If you are a limited company then there are certain legal obligations.  Companies house says that on all business letters (including emails) the company must show in legible lettering:

  • its place of registration
  • registered number
  • its registered office address
  • and if it is being wound up, that fact,

Note that you don’t need to include this information if it’s a personal email.

Thoughts from others:

http://deadspin.com (NSFW)

http://thenextweb.com

Add your comment

  1. Maciek said:

    This is exactly what I thought receiving huge, useless, signatures! Especially when exhanging many emails in one thread…. And I find offensive having a word ‘Regards,’ included in signature.
    But I realised that the phone number is very usefull and a small logo (not bigger than a line of text) linked from an external source (e g dropbox’s public folder) doesn’t do much harm and gives an extra touch of branding to your messages, most people like that as well. Also i often turn the signature off manually, e.g in a less official conversation.
    In generall, clients are now so get used to large signatures that they may think there is something wrong with you if you don’t have any.

    • Aerin said:

      All good points but even if you host the image externally it will still get blocked by most email clients.

      Have you done any testing in email images/telephone etc? I ran a test for about 6 months and even with a telephone number below my message people still emailed me asking for a number!

      Graham

  2. Steve K said:

    Goes off to delete all the crap in my email sig

  3. Morris said:

    There is some point to signatures. By law a business is required to give information, ie company reg no, registered office etc if a company. Though totally agree with the general sentiment

    • Aerin said:

      Where does the law say you have to include this information on an email? As far as I know all it says is that the info must be on your website.

      • John Doe said:

        Oh dear Aerin, isn’t this common knowledge?

        http://www.out-law.com/page-5536

        • Aerin said:

          Where in the article did I say not to include mandatory legal information? However to assuage your concern I have now added a paragraph to explain this requirement

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