Like a big finish at the end of a concert, how you leave your audience at the close of your email will likely play a big role in how your message will be received and remembered. This is your last chance to leave a good impression, so it’s important to not blow it with a weak or awkward signature or sign-off at the end.
Here are 10 tips for successfully concluding your business emails:
- Include a warm sign off: Close your message with “warm regards,” “best wishes” or “thank you,” which are ideal for business communications. “Sincerely” might come across as dated these days.
- Be a pro: Don’t include your cute boyhood nickname (“Dougie”), informal acronyms (“TTFN”) or shorthand used by your teenage daughter (“XOXOX”). Be professional in all of your business communications.
- Be careful going International: I’m generally not a fan of using a foreign language in a closing line (e.g. “ciao”), as it might seem smug to some recipients, especially those who don’t recognize the message. At the same time, closing in your recipient’s native language might be well received – and a clever way to show that you listened or did your homework on them, especially for International campaigns. Just be sure to get it right.
- Include the signature essentials: I am sometimes perplexed that some email signatures leave out key contact information, or otherwise introduce confusion, such as a different URL or company name than the one listed in the “from” address. Always list your name and title (or role within your organization), along with your company name and contact information – including email address and primary phone number.
- Weigh your options: Your company address may not be necessary, unless your firm has numerous locations. Fax is no longer needed in this day and age – unless your business still regularly communicates in this way. And including your social media information (Twitter handle, LinkedIn URL) can be helpful these days, but don’t feel you need to include everything or your signature will be too long.
- Use graphics with caution: While including your company logo can add some color and positive branding, note that some graphics may appear as an enclosure or attachment by some internet service providers (ISPs), and that increases the size of the email, the potential for spam or viruses and the likelihood of it not rendering correctly. It may even create suspicion on the part of the recipient, who may fear the attachment will infect their computer. Keep graphics simple – or consider omitting them if you don’t deem them helpful or necessary.
- Be consistent: I’ve seen email closings and signatures from employees of the same organization that look wildly different (e.g. myriad fonts and graphics), making me wonder if these people actually worked at the same place. It’s important to brand your company via their email signatures – and make your staff look like a cohesive team. Your marketing department should establish a signature template and mandate that everyone stick with it.
- Minimize (or eliminate) additional CTAs: If you’ve ever received an email that ends with one or more calls to action (CTAs), you might feel as though this vendor is throwing everything at you at once to see what sticks. You already should have a primary, easy to see CTA highlighted within the main part of your email message; avoid the urge to send several more in your signature or closing lines. Keep your messages focused.
- Avoid the inspirational quotes: You may have a quote that drives or inspires you, or even makes you laugh. But your recipient may not relate to your deep message of zen, and you might run the risk of appearing unprofessional in their eyes.
- Drop the legalese (if possible): I’m not a lawyer, but do we really need the long “this email was intended for its recipient” disclaimer? (Has this wording really protected anyone or any company?) While lawyers may see the benefit or at least no downside to including such legalese, as a marketer, I advise including wording that is solely focused on delivering the message and nothing more. If you have any concerns about dropping this language, check with your lawyer and get their advice.
The way you end your email will be your last chance to make a final impression. The bottom line is, be professional: you want the impression you make to be the right one for your business.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.
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