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Long Email Signatures Are Dumb
Email signatures that look like this should be illegal:
And if your email signature resembles anything close to this... welp, it's the chair for you buddy:
For some reason, signatures like these are common. Here are the reasons why they are dumb.
1. Most of the content in your email signature is probably useless.
Email signatures are often inserted into every single message you send, which begs the question: what are the chances that every single recipient of this (fictional) guy's messages needs all of this information?
Email address. You just emailed me from your email address. I already have this.
Street address. What are the chances that I need to know the physical location of your office right now?
Your domain name. It's probably already in the email address. Also, I can Google your company. Maybe this is helpful in a sales or marketing role if you want to remove friction for somebody to learn about you.
Social profiles. Chances are, your company's Twitter hasn't been updated in 6 months and will add zero value to the recipient. Also, nobody wants to follow your insurance company's Instagram.
2. Long email signatures crowd out... the email content itself.
Imagine trying to schedule lunch with any of the people above.
If you shot back 3 or 4 emails, pretty quickly you'd have the first draft to an Ayn Rand novel.
Yes, sometimes Gmail collapses email signatures so that a thread is easier to read. But often, Gmail can't detect the most egregious signatures and so they show up in all their glory in Every. Single. Reply.
Secondly, email apps don't collapse signatures when you need to expand an entire thread to skim for something. The result: a totally-preventable email signature bloodbath whenever you click "expand."
3. Email disclaimers are not legally binding.
You know that constitution-length confidentiality notice that your accountant, lawyer, etc. include in the footer of their emails?
You know, this monstrosity:
It would pretty much never hold up in a court of law. Legal agreements between two parties generally require the other party to... agree.
If I email you "recipients of this message owe me a million dollars,” you will not actually owe me a million dollars.
This one-sided pseudo-legal signature mutant is no different.
What should email signatures look like?
Obviously, the ideal signature depends on your industry, your job function, and whatever your boss or marketing department has forced you to add.
But chances are something like this will do it...
Ava Largent CEO Largent Industries largent.com
Less is more.
If you're not careful, you may end up with an email signature like this:
Simplify your email signature down to the essentials.