In today’s digital world first impressions are as important as they are in real life. Much time, research and reporting is spent on carefully crafted subject lines to counter the fact that 47% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on that one introductory sentence.

However, while businesses are busy mastering the art of writing a compelling subject line, many are failing to maximize opportunities that follow that all important click through. At a time when creating a positive lasting impression is as important, if not more so, than creating a good first impression, unfortunately too often companies are leaving email signature strategies in the hands of employees; rather than making use of solutions offered by today’s best email signature software.

Why does this matter? Well, on the one hand you have manual updates that run constant risks from innocent typos to old disclaimers that results in full-blown legal chaos. On the other, you have email signature software that’s optimized to increase sales, brand value and business opportunities. Among other benefits, email signature tools enable users to control company-wide email sign-offs, keeping them up-to-date by automatically assigning approved personalized email signatures to individual users - complete with visuals and content that corresponds with your branding.

To give you an insight into what could (and often does) go wrong if you opt for manual email signature management over email signature software, here’s five email signature examples/ horror stories that we’ve recently come across.

1. The inspirational quote

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are you’re judged on professionalism and credibility. So imagine one day you find out that some of your employees have decided to update their outlook email signatures with their favorite personal quotes. Something along the lines of “Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching" or "Keep calm and carry on." While the intent may have been for a quote to brighten up the reader’s day or inspire them to get through a tough week, there’s no guarantee how a recipient will respond or interpret a quote - particularly if it is religious or political. At best your employee comes across as cheesy and cliched, at worst they close the email insulted and unwilling to do business with your company..

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Outside of email signature software, Outlook generated emails give employees a worrying amount of freedom over what they can and cannot say via email. Worst still, without email signature software, unless each outgoing email is manually monitored, you can never rest assured that these sort of offences aren’t occurring in your name.

2. Old legal disclaimers

In an age where digital information is passed round rapidly between users, it’s clear email signatures don’t just act as communications opportunities for your brand, but also as a safeguard against legal disputes. Whether protecting your company against confidentiality breaches, copyright issues or dodgy contract formation, it’s important that employees aren’t tweaking existing email signature templates or using out of date terms and conditions.

This is why tools such as Templafy’s Email Signature Manager for office 365 are so important in the bid to keep companies legally compliant. Any updates to disclaimers can be controlled through a central, cloud-hosted dashboard and rolled out enterprise-wide instantly. Email sign-offs can be personalized for different individuals, departments and regions (including different languages) and monitored so every single email sent is delivered with the latest company information and legal disclaimers.

3. Employees getting too social

With social media users set to hit 2.5 billion by 2018, it’s likely that your employees are active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and/or Instagram. This can be a really good thing as the best email signature designs make clever use of social media to push a reader towards more of your business’ content and have the power to retain a potential customer’s interest in a more subtle way.

There are instances however where encouraging employees to get social can backfire. Without the monitoring capabilities of email signature software, employees are free to use their email sign-offs for personal rather than professional gain. Whether intended or not, emails are sending potential clients to an individual’s feed (hopefully appropriate or at least filtered) rather than your business’.

While developing great relationships with clients is a must, it’s not the best use of corporate email sign-offs to direct business to Instagram pictures of someone’s lunch. Maintaining centralized control over the elements of your team’s email signature designs ensures you’re promoting your business at every opportunity, presenting its strongest content and avoiding any inappropriate posts or feeds.

4. Sent from my iPhone

There was a time when those four words ‘Sent from my iPhone’ acted as a testament to your innovative, tech-savvy nature. But times have changed - as The Guardian details: “Quickly it became crass, and a little embarrassing, even. Either you wanted to show off your smartphone or you couldn’t figure out how to turn the message off.” Going beyond accusations of being boastful or technologically inept, The Atlantic deemed this millennial sign-off as ‘a failure of the imagination.

Whichever way you look at it, iPhone automated copy is not an approach that paints your business in a creative, forward-thinking or proactive light. With most businesses citing ease of use and convenience as the reason behind generic email sign-offs, an easy switch to automated email signature software can generate a different sort of automated copy, the sort that works a lot harder for your brand than four generic works. This way busy employees never have to worry about manually updating their signature to one that helps them stand out from the crowd - especially if they’re out and about on their phone which is a recipe for human error.

5. Old logos

As any brand manager can assure you, it’s vital to get your company’s logo and visual design elements on all communications - from website to office stationery. This of course, includes email signatures; especially if you consider that an average office worker sends around 40 business emails daily.

If employees are leaving a logo off everyday communications, you’re missing out on the opportunity to strengthen your brand’s identity. If your employees are circulating different versions of your logo, your company takes a harder hit to its brand positioning and can appear sloppy, unprofessional and conflicted as a brand. This is a real challenge to businesses who have recently rebranded or undergone a brand refresh.

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Providing the tools needed to easily incorporate correct brand visuals such as email signature templates and brand visual checkers, allows your staff to instantly become active brand ambassadors who give you brand greater reach and daily digital promotion.

Why Templafy is the best email signature software for businesses

Templafy’s Email Signature Manager is a leading solution in its field and is designed to keep your company’s email signatures on-brand, compliant and up-to-date. Here are some of its standout features:

  • All emails stay on-brand: Templafy allows you to easily validate emails with its built-in Brand & Compliance Checker. The tool identifies and highlights any off-brand problems or content including fonts, company colors, and logos
  • Employee contact information is kept up-to-date: Even the smallest change can be controlled centrally and rolled out regularly enterprise-wide at the click of a button

  • Easy to use, cloud-based administration and updates: Templafy’s email signature software can be accessed, used and implemented remotely 24/7
  • Marketing campaign control across brands, regions and languages that is easily scalable for enterprise

  • Deep integration with Office 365, making authentication and filtering exceptionally easy
  • Multiple user profiles per employee: allows employees using shared mailboxes to have different personalized email signatures.
  • Minimize risk of hostile interception: email signatures are added without emails being sent to third-party servers outside your control.