Why You Should Have an HTML Email Signature

Email is often the primary communication method used by businesses and your email signature makes an impression on every recipient and all those people who may see your email as part of a chain forwarded up and down an organization. An HTML email signature block, instead of one created using plain text or Outlook's signature editor, not only looks more professional it avoids the annoying "all my emails contain attachments" issue in Outlook.

Microsoft Outlook is still considered the corporate standard for desktop email and one of the handy features available in Outlook is the ability to easily see which emails contain attachments as indicated by the paper clip icon (makes one wonder if this is the long-lost little brother of Clippy). But if you include your corporate logo in your email signature line as an embedded image, then Outlook will show every email you send as having an attachment -- even your own-line replies -- because of that embedded image. A better way to include your company logo is to use an HTML signature and link to the image file online. With that, Outlook won't see the logo as an attachment and it will still look fine when viewed by recipients.

And that's not the only benefit of using an HTML signature: you can also do much more to customize and format your signature. For example, the logo can be shown alongside your contact information, on either side. You can also include clickable links and icons for you social media pages, colored backgrounds, and more.

Here's an example of my email signature at it appears in Outlook or Gmail's composer view:

There are several ways to get an HTML email signature:

Create Your Own HTML Signature

If you're ambitious and know a bit of HTML, you can create your own HTML signature. You'll have to host the graphics files on a server somewhere. Mine are on Squarespace, but you can use a free service like imgur also. I didn't choose this route because getting everything to look just right would take me a lot of time. If you want to give it a try, you might start with this tutorial by Dustin Hartzler.

Use an Online Service

There are several online services that will allow you to create a beautiful HTML signature block. Some of the options are free but most are subscription services that allow you to make changes to your signature any time. For example, htmlsig is free for the ad-supported version or $5 per month for the basic, ad-free version for up to 50 signatures. WiseStamp provides a similar service, also with a free option or a $4 per month option.

Here are some samples of what your signature block could look like using htmlsig or WiseStamp:

Farm It Out

This is the option I chose. I use Fiverr and found a web designer who created the signatures you see above for $10. There are dozens and dozens of designers who can help you, so I suggest your run a search on Fiverr for "html email signature" and find examples that appeal to you. FYI, I chose designertweet to do mine. The designer will work with you via email to choose a design based on your logo and what you'd like to see. The result will be a text file containing the HTML you'll need to use for your signature. You'll still need to host the image files somewhere and modify the embedded links in the HTML to point to the proper location for those files. Most designers also include instructions on how to do this and how to use the new HTML signature in any of the popular email programs. If not, you can find that via Google.

Having an HTML signature is so easy and the result looks so much better than a standard Outlook or Gmail signature that you'll be surprised you haven't done it before. Get some great design ideas with Mary Stribley's "10 Best Email Signature Design Case Studies [With Tips On How To Create Your Own]" article.

Kenny Hoeschen