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In October 1971 the first e-mail was sent by Ray Tomlinson. Since then, practically everyone uses this type of communication. It is hard to imagine today's business life without e-mails. Elaborate printed stationery has been replaced by emails and electronic signatures that serve as a digital business card for many companies.
Learn why you should give your email signature a professional look and how to go about it!
What makes an e-mail signature professional? Imagine you get a letter from your bank that has neither a letterhead nor a signature, only a typed sender’s name. Your first thought may understandably be that this is an attempt at fraud.
There are many small points and nuances that make for a professional impression in written communication.
Who uses professional e-mail signatures?
E-mail signatures around the world
How to create a professional e-mail signature (Outlook)
Centralized e-mail signature management
In private, e-mail signatures usually consist of a short greeting and one's own name. These differ, of course, depending on who will receive the message. For example, you would sign off e-mails to a client you know or your friendly bank advisor with "Cheers, Max", but use the more formal "Sincerely, Maximilian Mustermann" with someone you have not met or done business with yet.
However, if you send business e-mails in the EU, some information may be required by law.
In the EU, business e-mail signatures are mandatory when sending corporate e-mails. But mandatory contents vary depending on the country. In Germany, the obligation to use a business e-mail signature applies to all companies listed in the Commercial Register. In the case of self-employed persons, the answer as to whether e-mails are business correspondence depends on whether they are listed in the Commercial Register.
To be safe legally, we recommend that you contact an expert or thoroughly research what information you need to include in your email signature, as regulations vary per country and even per industry. CodeTwo have released an interesting article on this topic.
In the US, there are a variety of legal requirements regarding e-mail signatures, depending on jurisdiction, industry, and function. For instance, healthcare and financial institutions may need to include certain notices or disclaimers in any message.
Canada has introduced the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). According to CASL, users must give their informed consent before receiving any commercial messages and be able to opt out at any time. Every commercial message must also include:
The European Union has released the Directive 2003/58/EC which applies to all corporate correspondence. To comply with that directive, messages must include:
Failure to meet these requirements can incur fines, especially if false or misleading information is given.
Email addresses are considered personal data that are processed in the course of sending the message. According to GDPR, the receiving person must be informed about the processing of his or her personal data. The recipient is legally entitled to request details about how their personal data is being processed, so it is important to have at least the following handy in case they ask:
Because of the legal complexity around e-mail data requirements, we recommend contacting a legal expert regarding the exact legal requirements in your specific circumstances.
There are two good ways to refer to data processing in your email:
To realize the full potential of your emails, a company-wide signature that matches your branding is essential. What if you could ensure that all your employees use an up-to-date signature in their emails that matches your branding with just a few clicks?
empower® has the solution for you. With our Outlook add-in empower® Mails, you can easily define and update Outlook signatures throughout your company in a centralized way.
empower® Mails also simplifies the retrieval of text modules and offers fixed presets for font size and font color so the body of emails also corresponds to your corporate design.
Contact us! Our experts look forward to hearing from you!