7 key differences between an Email Signature Generator and an Email Signature Manager… which is best for your business?

This article was originally published by Damian Hamp-Adams, CEO at Rocketseed.

What’s in a name? Email Signature Generator vs. Email Signature Manager

When you search for ‘email signatures’, you’ll see results showing ‘Email Signature Generator’ and ‘Email Signature Manager’ solutions. Are they radically different or really the same thing? Can you simply ‘generate’ the best email signature for your business or do the right email signatures really need ‘managing’?

Given widespread remote working, squeezed marketing budgets and the fact that the average employee sends over 10,000 emails a year, effective email signatures are more important than ever. So, for this post, I’ll highlight a few differences in features and benefits to help you decide if a ‘generator’ or ‘manager’ solution is best for you, your business and your brand.

First off, ‘The Basics’ – a few similarities

Whatever type of email signature software you choose, it should always be able to deliver:

  • An on-brand email signature design containing employee contact details.
  • A level of interactive linking and ‘clickability’.
  • Compatibility with your email client, for example Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
  • Correct display on every device (You mustn’t assume this as standard. Your signature MUST be optimised for mobile – it’s an essential requirement and key to our signature solution).

1. Creating Email Signatures: Generator Templates vs. Professional Design

When designing your email signatures, it’s essential that they’re perfectly on brand, that all employee contact details are correct and that they display perfectly on all devices.

Email signature generator templates allow you to upload your company logo, add individual employee contact details and customise colours and fonts, but the key question is… will you get professional, ‘on-brand’ signatures or just ‘near enough’? If your branding is simple and you find a template that’s a good fit then you can quickly ‘generate’ your new signature design with ease.

At the other end of the scale, an email signature manager might offer more customisation options or even a professional design service. It takes longer, but will have a more bespoke branded look and undergo more rigorous testing across devices. So, if you’ve got complex brand guidelines with a strict brand team (sorry Rocketseed brand team!), want a streamlined signature that’s optimised for mobile – and have a project time allocation – you might want to consider the email signature manager ‘designer’ option.

Can a generator give you a completely ‘compliant’ design? Omitting email signature legal disclaimers and compliance information can have significant consequences. It’s key you check with your legal advisor and then an email signature management specialist can incorporate your industry and location regulatory requirements.

Will every employee have the same on-brand email signature design?’ This is where the crucial issue of control comes in…

2. Controlling Email Signatures: Tamper Temptation vs. Centrally Controlled Consistency

This is where the size of your business, the time your IT department has to spare, and your level of commitment to company-wide brand consistency all make a big difference.

If it’s just you or a handful of staff in the same office, no problem. A simple email signature generator will give you a branded signature that each of you can apply individually. There’ll be some copying and pasting involved which can be a bit clunky to manage, and maybe some HTML knowledge required too, but that’s about it. As for staying on-brand with the correct contact details, you’d like to think you could trust your 5 co-workers to take responsibility for their own signatures, right?!

But with even a few more employees, let alone hundreds or even thousands, things start looking very different. Does anyone on your IT team have time to manually set up, update and check on more and more email signatures? And can your employees resist the temptation to tamper (motivational quote and emoji alert!) that could put your brand at risk?

That’s where you start to see benefits from an email signature manager that gives you centralised control.

That way, you can set-up and modify designs across your business in an instant, keep everyone on-brand and – with a feature such as syncing your signatures with your Active Directory – keep everyone’s contact details up to date automatically.

Importantly, you can also then start to centrally assign different signatures to different departments (such as Sales, Finance, HR and Operations), different product and service divisions or regional offices. These are the common scenarios we see where email signatures need to be ‘managed’ rather than a 1-size-fits-all generator.

Who’s in the powerful position of central control? Totally up to you. With us it normally sits with Marketing or IT. HOWEVER, maintaining brand consistency – particularly in a time of widespread remote working – has made central control an essential part of effective email signature management.

3. Email Signature Technology: Copy & Paste vs. Central Secure Signature Deployment

When it comes to email signature technology, you’re faced with issues including compatibility, set-up, security and IT support – so you need technology that gets the job done quickly, simply and is, above all, trustworthy.

We see huge amounts of time, money and resources being spent on trying to execute signatures in house or with poor generator technology that simply doesn’t suit larger scale businesses, riskily relying on individual employees copying and pasting code and falling far short of the business’s best-practice IT compliance standards.

Believe it or not, we’ve delivered email signature designs through our own email signature generator tool, simply to have the customer back to us for the signature management solution instead PURELY because they couldn’t get 50% of their fellow colleagues to update their signatures.

Again, simplicity is key – A user-friendly email signature management solution should require no user HTML coding and enable centrally-controlled email signature deployment instantly.

Managing the email flow from any environment eg. Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), email signature managers should also be able, if required, to smarthost to downstream platforms or create specialised mail routing. Adding DKIM and SPF to mails should ensure the highest deliverability rate and adding CNAMEs – so that click URLs aren’t seen as phishing attempts – can improve your marketing results massively. Your peace of mind should be paramount with the highest industry security standards, testing and troubleshooting.

On this point, email signature management tools should all work without user intervention. Just send your email – from any device – and the same signature is applied. SIMPLE. See how a business email signature management solution can work for Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.

4. Email Signature Marketing: Promotional & Social Space vs. A New Campaign Channel

How much marketing power do business email signatures really have? Most signature template generators will let you add links to your website and social media channels so that recipients can click through to your content. You might even be able to upload a ‘banner’ to run a promotional message. But your marketers – given the option – will always want more…

Marketers need to reach the right target recipients with the right branded message at the right time… and see real results (potentially far better than bulk email marketing campaigns).

An email signature management solution should let them:

  • Segment and target key recipient audiences
  • Create and schedule automated banner campaigns
  • Engage recipients and drive high-intent traffic direct to your site or sales platform (with banners such as these 33 great email signature marketing banner examples.)

At a time of marketing belts being tightened, your business’s email signature marketing can absolutely achieve results as a highly cost-effective campaign channel!

5. Measuring Email Signature Success: Assumptions vs. Detailed Data & Real Results

Having rolled out new email signatures, how do you know if they’re achieving anything? OK, they may appear fine but we find our customers want certainty.

As the name suggests, an email signature generator isn’t focused on producing performance insights.

However, an email signature manager should provide you with all the data analytics and reporting you need to make decisions, for example:

  • Which of your employees is sending the most branded emails?
  • Which banner campaign is driving the most click-through?
  • What are the split test results showing?

Add in a feature like real-time click alerts and your sales and customer service teams can respond immediately to any type of recipient engagement.

As for tracking signature click-through traffic on your website and sales funnel, that’s where features such asGoogle Analytics and CRM integrations make an email signature management tool more valuable for businesses large and small.

6. Servicing Email Signatures: On Your Own vs Ongoing Support

The best email signatures aren’t static. In fact, your newly-created signatures are just the start.

As I’ve said above, there will be design updates, new employees to add, new promotional campaign banners to run or maybe full-blown brand changes and roll outs! The list goes on.

There’s also the big ‘WHAT IF’ – what if something goes wrong? A quick do-it-yourself email signature generator could leave you on your own, with headaches that your IT and marketing staff really don’t need.

An effective email signature manager is more of a software-as-a-service solution and that ‘service’ can make a big difference. We’re not just talking emergency technical support – although that’s essential – but real ‘human’ hands-on help, from developing a new signature design to making sure your banner campaigns are right on target. So keep in mind, a big factor that sets the ‘managers’ apart from the ‘generators’ is the level of support and service.

7. Budgeting for Email Signatures: Free vs. Return on Investment

Budget allocation for email signatures is also key, but does it sit within your IT or marketing budget? Could it be freed up with a ‘free’ email signature generator tool?

There’s always going to be the temptation of a free generator or simply using the standard Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace signature tools and, if they do more-or-less everything you’re looking for, then that’s great!

But if you want most of the ‘manager’ benefits described above – from company-wide brand consistency and a new marketing campaign channel to high-intent traffic and ongoing service – then you need to start seeing your email signatures as an investment that can easily ‘pay their way’ and deliver real return on investment (ROI) when used to their full potential. This isn’t a pitch piece BUT to get an instant idea of price ranges take a look at our product and pricing plans.

So which is best for you and your business? An email signature generator or an email signature manager?

Well, as you can see, it depends on a lot of factors – your design requirements, the size of your business, your marketing ambitions, your demand for data, your IT resource and your budget… not to mention the risks you’re prepared to take (or hopefully not take) with your brand image!

If you want brand consistency across your business email, a cost-effective and engaging marketing channel and an email sign-off that can drive direct sales, then I’d suggest you need a serious email signature management solution.

We work with companies across the world and offer both email signature generator and management tools. Our different products meet different needs. Known for our service and expertise, we speak the language of both IT and marketing so whatever your questions – no matter how detailed or straightforward – we’re here to talk you through what you need to know!

7 Tips to choosing the right email signature software

1. Will your new email signature software be compatible with your email client?

Is the software you’re considering compatible with Office 365, G Suite or Microsoft Exchange? You can quickly rule out email signature software that won’t work with your email client.

2. Will the security of your business and your customers be protected?

Creating an email signature is the first step, but you also need to make sure you think about security too. Ask yourself, does the software meet these requirements?

  • Secure, local storage: You’re going to be sending out your information and collecting information about your customers. That data needs to be stored securely, and you need to know where in the world it is going to be stored. Ideally if your business is in Australia or New Zealand, the data should be held here as well.
  • International compliance: Look for an email signature software configured to comply with CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks – the world standard for internet security.
  • Security audits: While you’re researching, don’t forget to ask if the software provider undertakes regular security audits and data backups.

3. Is the software centrally controlled?

It’s one thing to create a single, perfect email signature, but what about when you have to update the whole team? Or the whole company? Not everyone is going to update their signature when their details change, branding updates are implemented or signature banner campaigns are rolled out. With central control you will be able to make individual sender or company-wide changes that apply immediately. Good software will even let you schedule your banner campaigns, to ensure company wide compliance.

How centrally controlled email signature software works

The best email signature management software pulls data from a central source either working within the same Azure Cloud or Google Directory as your Office 365 or G Suite.

4. Will the email signature software display correctly on all devices?

Your email signatures may look great on desktop, but do they adapt and look as good on mobile devices? When choosing software, check if it’s mobile optimised. You want email signatures that will display perfectly on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.

5. Is your signature software provider available to call for support?

Does your email signature software provider offer support from a dedicated, Australia-based IT implementation and account management support team? Will the support team speak to you in person if you require it? Does that team include HTML specialists (HTML being the language in which email signatures are written)?

If you answered ‘No’ to any of the above, you might be on-track for trouble down the line. Before making a decision, ensure you’re getting these two services:

  1. IT implementation support: Access to an IT support team means having guidance at your fingertips every step of the way. Implementation of your email signature software will be smoother and faster with this level of support.
  2. A dedicated Account Manager: This is someone who speaks to you in person. Consistent support from the same person, who understands exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your email signature, will help you get the most from your investment. Plus, someone who knows what you’re trying to achieve can help you not only to create an email signature, but also to maximise all the extra features you’ve paid for.
  3. 24/7 IT technical support

6. Will your email signature achieve brand compliance?

Having a support team with HTML specialists means having a professional to help you design and test an email signature design so it 100% matches and complies with your brand guidelines.

Remember to ask whether your provider also offers pre-designed template signatures as well as bespoke HTML options. With both choices it gives you flexibility and access to multiple signature templates or bespoke HTML custom design.

7. What marketing features are available in the email signature software solution?

Every email you send is an opportunity to drive leads, promote your content and to apply specific email banner campaigns.

How many of your customers and prospects don’t know about some of the services you offer, services that could be perfect for their needs? With a promotion or call-to-action in your email banners you’ll get the right message to the right client at the right time, every time.

Your email signature software should have the following marketing and sales features:

  • Banner campaigns
  • Custom date scheduling
  • Multiple banner links
  • Banner campaign retargeting
  • Banner campaign A/B testing
  • Advanced targeting and segmentation (including internal employee comms)
  • Automated Google Analytics integration
  • Salesforce and other third-party CRM integrations
  • One-click survey integrations
  • Real-time banner campaign click alerts
  • Real-time alerts when someone opens an email
  • Built-in reporting analytics to measure the success of your campaigns
  • Simple-to-use user interface and one-on-one personalised training

Email signature software with these features can be used across the whole business – including IT, Marketing, Sales, HR and Internal Comms, and Customer Service teams.

Not sure where to start?

The seven points above are a great place to start, but when it comes down to it, what you really need is someone who’ll listen to what you’re trying to achieve and work with you to get the best results.

That’s us.

To find out what we can do for your business, or to receive a free quote, get in touch today.

Robyn Woods-Child | Managing Director

Connect with Robyn on LinkedIn

What is an HTML email signature, and how do I design one?

While seemingly a small piece of the marketing puzzle, email signatures are some of the most visible branded materials a company can own. After all, every time a customer interacts with your staff via email, they catch a glimpse of your brand – and its quality – via your signatures. But with a quick search you’ll see numerous companies offering different HTML signature generators – some templated, some with drag-and-drop editors, and then companies that offer totally bespoke designs. So what does that mean, and which is right for you?

What are HTML email signatures?

Most major email signature generators provide some type of HTML service. This is because simply building a signature within your email software (i.e. Outlook or Gmail) or attaching an image at the bottom of every email can cause problems. For instance, your signature may display incorrectly in different email clients, the image might cause loading speed issues at the receiver’s end, or buttons that should be clickable (i.e. social media or promotional links) aren’t.

HTML, on the other hand, is designed to work more fluidly across platforms and devices. This is because these signatures are built more like a website than a graphic. They are compressed without sacrificing quality (improving loading speeds), and display correctly across various devices or email clients. Additionally, using a signature generator such as Rocketseed, images can also be stripped from email replies so as to reduce the archive weight of the chain and maintain optimal speeds during those longer conversations.

HTML signatures also incorporate branding, personal images and social media icons, as well as custom links and tracking codes.

Key benefits of an HTML email signature

  1. Customisability: HTML is very flexible, allowing you to build a signature that perfectly meets your brand and marketing objectives. Because code is recognised across platforms, it will allow you to embed graphics and images that display correctly on all devices.
  2. Easy to update: With the right email signature provider, you can instantly update sender information, promotional banners, link URLs, UTM codes and more with the click of a button – automating the change to all applicable senders in your company.
  3. Clickable links: You can make different parts of the signature clickable. Examples include email addresses, social media, website URLs, promotions, maps, or business card downloads.
  4. Click tracking: A custom HTML email signature will allow you to track each click by adding a UTM to the URL. Rocketseed has built in analytics to quickly build reports on campaign performance.
  5. Reduced email size: By stripping images from replies, HTML signatures can reduce the size of an email chain and improve load speeds.

HTML email signatures: Template, drag-and-drop, or bespoke?

Now that you know the ins and outs of HTML email signatures, you’ll need to decide what type of generator you want to use.

  1. Templates: Pre-made email signature designs within which you can make customisations, such as colour, font and images.
  2. Drag-and-drop: An app that lets you build your own template using custom modules that fit together into a wider design. Think of it as lots of little templates that you can put together in an order that you prefer.
  3. Bespoke: Get the signature that 100% aligns with your brand. Create custom signatures with the perfect style, layout and content.

Why choose Parrot Digital?

Parrot Digital is Australasia’s exclusive provider of Rocketseed – one of the world’s leading HTML email signature tools.

With Rocketseed, we can provide totally bespoke, on-brand signatures that get the right message in the right place at the right time, designed to work perfectly on every email client. Plus, with our one-click Google UTM tracking codes, in-built detailed instant reports and custom promotional banners, you can get more from your emails with Rocketseed.

To find out what we can do for your business, or to receive a free quote, get in touch today.

Robyn Woods-Child | Managing Director

Connect with Robyn on LinkedIn