Email Signatures: Are Yours In Keeping With 2021 Trends?

Dale Cudmore
Last Updated on January 5, 2021
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You should always try to end a conversation on a good note. That’s why knowing how to end your emails should be more than an afterthought that you scribble down.

There are two main parts of ending an email: your sign off, and your email signature.

This is a concise guide to writing better sign-offs and signatures, mostly intended for professional use.

email signatures

Why Your Email Signature Matters

All parts of an email matter, especially when using it for business.

Research from Clikit Media found that:

  • 15,000 emails are sent by a typical employee per year.
  • 85% of all workplace communication goes through email.
  • Links included in emails have a 9% click-through rate.
  • Emails have the highest open rate of any marketing channel.

In short, as long as your emails don’t look like spam, they are very effective for communication.

If you’re emailing a close friend, your signature doesn’t matter so much. But what about someone you don’t know well, or at all?

In those situations, a good signature can provide additional information about who you are, and what you have to offer.

Using it well, as we’re about to see, a good sign off and signature makes it easier to build a relationship.

The 3 Types of Email Sign Offs (With Examples)

We’ll start with the sign-off and then look at email signatures in more depth.

There are 3 general types of sign-offs for emails, depending on the situation:

  • Formal: For people you don’t know well, or with a high position in a company.
  • Casual/Friendly: When you know someone fairly well, and there’s no need for a high degree of formality.
  • Appreciation: For when you’re asking for a favor, or replying about something that someone is offering you.

Here’s a fairly extensive table of common email sign offs.

Formal Casual or Friendly Appreciation
Best regards Cheers Thanks
Best Best of luck Thank you
Cordially Good luck Thank you in advance
Regards Talk soon Thanks for everything
Respectfully Have a good one Thanks for your help
Looking forward to hearing from you Have a good weekday/weekend Thank you for your consideration
Looking forward to your reply Hope this helps Thanks so much
Sincerely Your friend With gratitude
Sincerely yours Talk soon Can’t thank you enough
Warm regards Appreciate it
Yours truly Much appreciated
Faithfully I owe you one

Note that not all email sign-offs are created equally.

The team behind Boomerang studied over 350,000 email threads and looked at sign-offs.

They found that emails that ended with some variation of “thank you” received far more responses than any other popular sign-off.

email sign off response rates

Secondly, consider your punctuation.

Ending an email with “Thank you,” makes it sound polite, but not very enthusiastic. Alternatively, “Thank you!” reads like you really mean it, and email recipients will pick up on that.

However, some situations don’t call for a high level of enthusiasm. In those cases, you should adjust your punctuation for the occasion.

8 Variations of Email Signatures (With Examples)

While sign-offs are important, there’s not that much variation in them.

But email signatures can vary widely, and have a larger impact.

Let’s look at your options.

Just The Essentials

If you’re just looking for a basic, professional email signature, this is the most basic option you can go with.

It’s two to three lines, consisting of:

  • Your name
  • Title (optional), Company (linked to the website)
  • Phone number (optional)

Here’s what it might look like:

zapier email signature

There’s nothing wrong with this signature, but you might be missing on an opportunity for other benefits.

When it’s appropriate: It’s a good option for internal workplace communication where you still want to be on the professional side.

With a BioImage

Video calling is more personal than a phone call because you can see the other person.

Same goes with email. If you include a small image of your face, it helps your emails feel more personal and like an actual conversation:

bio pic signature

Even if you keep the rest of the signature simple, this touch will make it a bit easier to build relationships.

When it’s appropriate: It’s great to include a picture when you don’t know someone well, or don’t get to see them often. It lets them put a “face to the name,” and lets you stand out from the hundreds of other no-picture emailers they typically deal with.

Help New Contacts Get to Know You

Email is a great way to build new relationships from scratch (cold or lukewarm emails), but it’s still hard.

Emails are so anonymous that it’s easy to simply hit the delete button on any email from someone you don’t recognize.

On top of a bio image, you can also include buttons to your social media profiles:

hubspot email signature

That way if they don’t know, or remember, who you are, they can quickly find out more.

When it’s appropriate: It makes sense to include social media links if you are active on those platforms, and in emails where someone might want to learn more about you.

To Promote a Book or Article

Are you well known for a book or amazing online post you published?

If so, consider adding a link with the title of your work as the anchor text:

link to book signature

This is much more appealing than a simple website link, and you have the benefit of controlling what work of yours that they see (rather than them clicking a random page on your site).

When it’s appropriate: Use this type of email signature when you first have a highly rated book or post, and second when an email is related to your work. This is best for freelancers and agencies, when emailing someone who might be a potential client.

Sent From My iPhone

Don’t have an iPhone? You could still experiment with adding “sent from my iPhone” or “sent from my phone” to your email signature.

sent from iphone example

The reason you may want to try this is based on a study that showed that people are much more forgiving of grammar mistakes when they see that message.

sent from iphone research

Ideally, you don’t make grammar errors in the first place, but it can serve as a backup in case you do.

When it’s appropriate: Experiment with adding this line to your signature if you find yourself having to send lots of emails quickly without having time to proofread.

Share Your Latest Work or Website

This type of signature only applies to certain types of professions.

The idea is that you share work that might interest the recipient. For example:

  • A photographer would include photos.
  • A band would include a Youtube video.
  • A salesman could include a link to a case study.

Here’s what it might look like

email signature recent work

This type of signature stands out more than typical text links, and again you get to control what a potential client might see.

When it’s appropriate: When you have public work that you can easily link to, and when you’re emailing someone who might become a client.

Share Your Most Recent Blog Article Automatically

This variant is ideal if you’re trying to drive more traffic to a blog.

You can integrate an RSS feed of your blog to automatically add a link to your latest blog post in your email signature.

rss feed email signature

When it’s appropriate: This is especially effective if you send lots of emails to people who fall into your blog’s target audience. It also keeps your signature fresh, and could be something that people look forward to seeing.

Link to Your Portfolio

Finally, this is a variant of multiple other types of signatures we’ve looked at.

Instead of linking to your general website, or to only your latest work, you link to your portfolio:

link to portfolio

This way, you have complete control over how someone will see all of your work.

When it’s appropriate: If you’re a freelancer or small agency emailing someone that could be a potential client. Best if you have some past work that’s much better than others and you’d like to have the control to highlight it.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ending Your Emails

When you’re trying out different ways of ending your emails, here are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Do add color: Adding color to your name or links can help them stand out. Just don’t use too many colors that your email looks cluttered and ugly.
  • Do consider mobile: Many emails are opened on mobile devices. Send emails to yourself to see what your signature looks like on a mobile device.
  • Do stick to one or two fonts: Just like colors, fonts can emphasize parts of your signature you want people to notice. Don’t go overboard and use several fonts.
  • Don’t overstuff your signature: A good signature is two to five lines. If it’s longer than that, eliminate anything that isn’t truly useful.
  • Don’t put your email into your signature: Your email is already included since you’re the sender, adding it again is redundant.
  • Don’t put inspirational quotes: It used to be okay when email volume was much lower. Now it’s just extra clutter that nobody reads.
  • Don’t use an image signature: Some people design their signature and paste an image of it in emails; don’t do this. Images don’t always display properly, and are a pain to edit in the future. Use HTML, which I’ll show you how to in the next section.

How To Create a Signature Without Having to Code

There’s no reason to have to know how to code your own email signature unless you just want to do it for fun.

wisestamp dashboard
Screenshot of wisestamp showing many of the features they offer.

There are many tools that will let you design an email signature using a drag and drop interface. You click on the fields that you’d like to add, and then customize the text, links, and images.

At the end, you export the signature you designed and import it into whatever email client you use (Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, Yahoo! Mail, etc.).

On top of Wisestamp (shown in image above), here are four other email signature generators to consider:

They all work similarly, but some are free and some are paid. The paid ones offer more advanced functionality like being able to add RSS feeds and making links to latest work more attractive.

Conclusion and Next Steps

We’ve looked at a long list of email sign-offs you can use in different situations, as well as eight email signature variations.

I encourage you to try out multiple sign-offs and signatures and measure the results. It’s easy to see if you’re getting additional visits your site from the emails you’re sending.

You can use tools like Yesware if you’d like to track email activity in more depth.

At this point, you may be interested in learning how to write more effective emails, and this blogger’s guide to email marketing.

Image Sources:

Email signature examples for Karen Romera, Jack Rui, and Erin Strickland via WiseStamp.

Other email signature screenshots taken by author.

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