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10 best practices for creating email signatures in Office 365

10 best practices for creating email signatures in Office 365

It’s surprising how many small businesses and entrepreneurs don’t use an email signature in their daily business email communications. Especially considering how easy it is to set up email signatures in the Office 365 Outlook App.

When it comes to your business email, using signature files are one of your most important branding, marketing and contact tools.

So, let’s find out everything you need to know about, setting up and using signatures in Office 365, shall we?

Related: What is Microsoft Outlook in Office 365 and how do I use it?

The importance of email signatures

Email signatures are the closing text that is automatically appended to the end of each email you send.

With an email signature you have the opportunity to add contact information and a link to your website. Who doesn’t want to have a link to their website in every email that they send? With the advancement of technology you also have the option of including a photo of yourself or your logo, too.

When properly crafted, your email signature contents can help to solidify that you are an astute technology user while soft-selling your enterprise to your contacts.

Having a link to your website and your additional contact information also makes it easy for new contacts to get in touch.
If you think about it, email signatures are the ultimate in online passive promotion when used properly and effectively.

Pro tip: For starters, you’ll want professional email that matches your business domain. Always have your latest emails, contacts and appointments at your fingertips with Office 365 from GoDaddy email services.

How to add your email signature in Office 365

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how to add email signatures in Office 365 email:

  1. Log in to your Office 365 dashboard.
  2. Click Outlook Web App.
  3. Click on the “cog” icon for settings in the top right of screen.
  4. Click Mail under Your App settings.
  5. Your options will display on the left. Under Layout, click Email Signature.
  6. In the Email Signature box, type and format your signature to your liking.

To add your signature to all outgoing messages, select Automatically include my signature on new messages I compose check box. You also have the option of automatically including your signature on messages that you forward or reply to.

  1. Click Save.

If you use both the Outlook Web App and Outlook locally on your desktop or tablet and want a signature in both, you need to independently create a signature in each using the above process.

How to change your email signature in Office 365

Simple! Just follow the same steps above, make your modifications, and save.

How to have multiple email signatures

If you manage multiple websites, like I do, you’ll need more than one signature. While Office 365’s Outlook Web App only allows one native signature, there is a little work-around you can use to have different signatures or to add to your primary signature as needed.

To do this you would use the My Template functionality. Here’s what you do:

  1. Start a new message in your Outlook Web App.
  2. You’ll see below the email window, lower right, a little document icon.
  3. Click on that and that will take you to My Templates.

You can create as many templates as you need.

For example, My Templates can be created for information you are repetitively asked for so that you can easily insert it instead of having to retype. Or, you can create email signature additions! While in that box you can only type in plain text; you can paste formatted text within it.

When you are ready to use one of you newly created templates, click that document icon and then click on the title of your template and it will be inserted into your email.

Photo: Mail Signatures

Creating Office 365 email signatures for team members

Office 365 does not provide global signature management functionality, but administrators can configure a company-wide signature for their users by utilizing the disclaimer rule.

When discussing email signatures, I get asked quite often if signatures are the same as the disclaimers you see at the bottom of some emails. Yes, in that both are appended to the end of your email message. No, because they are set up and applied differently and disclaimers can display based on internal or external communications.

This is an example of a disclaimer that is set to be appended to all external emails:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This email message is intended to be received only by persons entitled to receive the confidential information it may contain. Email messages to contacts of YourCompany may contain information that is confidential and legally privileged. Please do not read, copy, forward, or store this message unless you are an intended recipient of it. If you have received this message in error, please forward it to the sender and delete it completely from your computer system.

To create a “disclaimer” that can act as an automatic email signature for all users, sign in as the Administrator then follow these steps:

  1. Access the Exchange Admin center by logging into your GoDaddy Dashboard for Email & Office and clicking on the Admin Tab, then click Advanced, then click Exchange.
  2. Select rules under mail flow.
  3. Click the plus icon (+) and select Apply disclaimers.
  4. Enter a name, for example “Staff Signature.”
  5. From the *Apply this rule if… drop-down menu, choose the conditions that will engage the rule. Selecting [Apply the Disclaimer] will append to all emails.
  6. From the *Do the following… drop-down menu, select Append the disclaimer… (it should already be chosen).
  7. Click Enter text.
  8. In the specify disclaimer text window, enter the text for of the signature you want to be added to all staff emails. Click OK.
  9. Click Select one… to enter a fallback action in case the signature can’t be inserted, For example, ignore (send the message without a signature).
  10. Modify remaining settings and click Save.

The disclaimer rule will not override staff members’ existing email signatures. If a member of your staff has created their own signature, it will appear above with the signature/disclaimer created by an Admin.

Minor limitations

There are some minor limitations to be aware of:

  • There is no way to see the global staff signature in Outlook, because it is appended by the server during transport. The signature is only visible after an email is sent.
  • If you do not create an exception to the rule, the email signature will be appended to every message, including replies and forwards.
  • The global signature will be applied to all users.

Related: How to organize emails in Outlook

10 Office 365 email signature best practices

Follow these guidelines to put the power of signatures in Office 365 and Outlook to work for you!

  1. Keep your signature to no more than four to six lines.
  2. Don’t include your full signature in every email.
  3. Refrain from including controversial or political quotes in your business signature.
  4. Stay away from sales-pitchy type hype.
  5. Proper punctuation and formal display of your name is mandatory.
  6. Make sure to include the “https://” before your site’s URL.
  7. Showcase your current promotion in your signature.
  8. Include your sign-off and name in your email signature.
  9. Create several signatures to choose from.
  10. Formal vs. informal name?

These 10 best practices for email signatures will have your business communications looking professional and promoting your brand.

1. Keep your signature to no more than four to six lines

There is no law that will send you to the pokey if you break this guideline, but in this case less is more.

Be sure to include a link to your website to make sure folks can find out more about you.


That is really what your signature is for!

Stick to the basics — name, website, phone and promo. No need to include your email address as it is automatically noted at the top of every email you send.

The only instance where you would want to include your primary email address in your signature is if you are using a different or secondary email address to send the email in question.

2. Don’t include your full email signature contents in every email

In ongoing communications, you do not need to include your full “all about me” signature on every email or with those who already are aware of all your information.

Instead, for ongoing conversations, simply sign-off with your name.

Best, John.

Thank you, Jane.

You get the idea!

Create a simpler signature in My Templates to use when you communicate with those who already have all your information.

3. Refrain from including controversial or political quotes in your business signature

Yes, everyone has the right to an opinion — that is one of the great things about the online environment; the free exchange ideas.

Believe me, I’ve seen many a witty and humorous quote in emails! But are they business appropriate? Sometimes not so much.

To include a quote that might be viewed as controversial or offensive has no place in business email.

Quotes can be apropos, for example when they apply to your business culture. However, depending on a conversations tone and topic, keep in mind who will be reading the email (and who it could be forwarded to) and the perception your opinion via that quote will leave.

Humorous or controversial quotes are best left to personal email.

4. Stay away from sales-pitchy type hype

Photo: Wesley Fryer on

Credibility online is very difficult to attain and maintain so let’s not undermine your efforts by looking like a snake-oil salesperson.

Forgo overzealous use of colored text, exclamation and question marks. A short and succinct comment about your product or service is enough. Let your website do the selling for you.

5. Proper punctuation and formal display of your name is mandatory

John A. Smith, John Smith, John. Not formally typing your name with proper capitalization can indicate a lack of education and business savvy — certainly not a positive perception for your brand. And, email is one of your business’s primary branding tools.

Related: How to use a custom domain name for email

6. Make sure to include the “https://” before your site’s URL

Without the https:// some programs might not recognize the URL as a link and it will not be clickable within your message.

One of the neat things about signatures is that they allow your website to be just one click away from every email you send. Don’t miss this opportunity by forgetting the https://.

7. Showcase your current promotion in your signature

Different terms and words produce different results depending on the market they are targeting.

Test signatures that reflect your new product or current promotion that speaks to a specific demographic to see which gets the best results.

You can also include a call-to-action such as:

Download now

Contact us today about …

Get your free …

You get the idea —sans hype. This is where My Templates can help you do that.

8. Include your sign-off and name in your email signature

If you include your sign-off and name in your email signature then you won’t have to type your name with every email. For example you can have:

Thank you,

John A. Smith

Title | Widgets Sprockets

Website Address | Phone

Slogan or Additional Information
Social Media Links

9. Create several signatures to choose from

Create a variety of email signatures you can choose from dependent on tone and level of formality required for each email you send.

Email signatures are an excellent way of cementing your message tone and directing the ongoing communication’s priority and level of formality.

For example, Regards vs. Sincerely — each will be used differently depending on whom you are communicating with and the tone you would like to set.

The primary advantage of setting up and using various signatures is that you do not have to say anything about your website in the body of an email unless it is relevant or appropriate.

An example would be when included in a list of contacts where your input is requested. This is a great way to subtlety market, with a targeted signature, to that specific group who may not know about your business or what you do.

10. Formal vs. informal name

You can also set up signatures that have your formal name and an informal version to set a comfort zone with the other party, such as Elizabeth Jones vs. Lizzy.

Be cautious about using a prematurely informal tone with new contacts.


Formalities are in place for a reason, especially in business communications, as they are a sign of professionalism and respect.

Related: 5 things to remember when you write business email

Leave an impression

By setting up your email signatures in Office 365, and using the My Templates functionality to supplement that, your signatures can easily display your important contact information to everyone you email.

Keep in mind that your signature will leave an impression about what it will be like to do business with you. Proofread, update often and choose your words and formatting wisely.

Why not get your signatures set up today?

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