- Color photos are OK; skip the black and white shots.
- Only include social links if your accounts are frequently updated.
- Keep mobile in mind.
We’re all salespeople, aren’t we? Every piece of our brand should reflect that — down to our email signatures. A strong email signature is professional and eye-catching.
It’s not flashy, but it’s also not boring. That said, there are many differing opinions on what should go into an email signature (and what shouldn’t). Let’s put an end to the age-old debates: Photo or no photo? Links or no links? Designations or no designations?
“Graphics may not load due to security settings and links [may] trigger spam filter,” said Mark Pfeifer at Smart Growth Living in the Facebook group Raise the Bar in Real Estate.
Amid the varying opinions on this topic, the best recommendation is to simply do what works for you. But if you are going to include a photo, here are a few guidelines:
- “Do not include an image — mugshot, logo — as an attachment,” says Leslie Ebersole a Broker at BRIX Group, Baird & Warner.
- Make sure it’s a color photo, not black and white.
- Have a plain text signature alternative.
- Only use it in an introductory email. “Other than maybe the first introductory email to a new lead, what’s the point in continuing to send your photo in every email to a current client or other agent you’re working a deal with?“ said Mike McGee in the Facebook group Raise the Bar in Real Estate.
Links are acceptable, but keep them to a minimum. If you have something that you want to share with new leads (maybe a blog post that showcases what you have to offer), share it.
If you deem a disclaimer important (perhaps one that states that emails are not binding written agreements), share it.
However, keep in mind that the more pages you share, the less likely it is that your lead will click any of them.
Michael Aldea, CEO at Go Left Marketing, suggests treating your email signature like any call to action you’d write. “It should let whoever sees it know what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to do it.”
Make sure that you don’t simply copy and paste a URL. Instead, shorten the URL (cut the “https://,” for instance) so that it’s easy on the eyes, and then hyperlink it.
When it comes to sharing links to social media, you can go either way.
If you have fresh content on those channels, choose the top two and share only those. Make sure you use a graphical icon, as opposed to just showing the hyperlinks (again, easier on the eye).
Not every agent believes in showing off your designations or office claims. The danger here is that they can come across as bragging or just plain confusing for consumers who don’t understand what they mean.
In the same comment thread in the Raise the Bar in Real Estate Facebook group, Mike McGee reminds agents that “it’s supposed to be an email signature, not a resume.”
So think carefully about what the person who’s reading your email needs to know — not what you want them to know.
Most agents agree that keeping things simple is better. Inflated office claims like “No. 1 Brokerage in Minneapolis” are overused, which tends to invalidate the claim altogether.
Instead, if you have more space on the homepage of your website, go ahead and use them; be sure to show the ranking methodology or the group that named you the “No. 1 Brokerage in Minneapolis.”
Regarding designations, Leslie Ebersole asks the group, “Do you truly need to communicate designations? 99 percent of consumers don’t know what they mean, and most treat them with suspicion.”
Instead, she suggests using a different email signature for direct response emails to inbound leads.
“If you buy advertising on Zillow and have 100+ reviews, that should be in your e-sig. If you have five reviews, wait until you have more.”
This goes back to the idea of giving the consumer what they need to know; they need to know that you have over 100 clients who were so happy with your service that they posted about it on the internet.
Showcasing that helps you make a great first impression. But use that type of signature sparingly — under the proper circumstances and with the right audience.
The final ruling
Between office claims, designations, links to blogs and social profiles, and more, Mike Jaquish suggests that the actual content of your email could get lost in the noise. Not to mention, imagine scrolling through 15 lines of text on your mobile device just to see a previous email in a thread — frustrating.
Many agents also suggested email signature generator tools such as WiseStamp and NewOldStamp. WiseStamp integrates with many email clients and offers enterprise solutions to help keep your entire team on brand.
When using these tools, make sure you gather feedback before launching because it’s easy to go overboard with so many ways to add pizazz.
What’s the final ruling? Keep it simple and professional, avoid fluff, and of course, make sure you give consumers what they need.
Jenna Weinerman is the marketing director for Updater. With an extensive background in relocation, she’s dedicated to helping brokers, Realtors and property managers deliver a consistently excellent client experience. Follow her on Twitter.