How MSPs Can Managed Client Signature Files

Email Signatures can sometimes be a curse of every web designer because they are often unnecessarily complicated. Whether freelancer or IT or web manager of a large web design company, the first and most important step in managing email signatures for clients is to be aware of the misconceptions that term offers too many.

Common Customer Misconceptions

How a web designer thinks about email signatures and how the average client thinks about them is quite different. Customers are mainly focused on visual aspects of their email signatures but don’t consider functionality.

For web designers, the opposite is true. They first must determine what things they want is even possible to put down on paper much less code. Here are some of the misconceptions you must address when managing client signature files:

Email Signatures Are Easy to Make / Change

If you are manually coding an email signature without a template, making it high compatibility with an email client is doable for an expert like you, but even so, no easy task.

Manually coding email signatures is likely to entail far more man-hours than even the most knowledgeable of clients realize. Now, imagine a client adds a staff of 100, all in need of new signatures. That thought is reason to take off early and head home. Relating this reality to a client requires some creativity and a great deal of patience.

Email Signatures Work Flawlessly in All Email Clients

The truth is that best-designed email signatures break. They don’t always work with every email client because of the presence of different rendering engines. For example, older versions of Outlook use the IE rendering engine, while newer versions use the Word rendering engine. Apple Mail uses its own rendering engine, and Gmail takes advantage of whatever your web browser uses. Explaining this in straightforward terms can go a long way in preparing a client for this task.

Email Signatures Don’t Break

When you are manually coding email signatures, you’re likely to spend far more time on it than you should. Plus, there is always the reality that few businesses have all the same equipment and all the same software. To add to that, adding staff or departments usually complicates things all over again.

The question isn’t what do I do “if” it breaks, but rather what do I do “when” it breaks.

Set Expectations for What Is Possible

There are some email signatures that may look good on Photoshop but just don’t work in the real world. Explain to your client that a signature won’t work reliably when:

  • A proposed design is dependent on exact spacing in order to look right. Outlook (Hotmail), Gmail, and may other email clients include random spaces that can make an email signature appear to be broken.
  • Using the same background color on the entire email signature. Because email software uses a white background when creating emails, solid colors just don’t look right most of the time.
  • Using fonts that are not web-safe. Non-standard fonts that are not web-safe run the risk of not displaying at all if the recipient doesn’t have that font installed.
  • Fashioning a layout that doesn’t have the capacity for short or long names.
  • Creating a design that has no space for extra fields (should they be needed).

MSPs face a convoluted world of identity theft, malware, and Trojans. E-mail signature management should not take away from the time needed to ensure security best practices are in place.

Cyber threats are a stark reality, and no organization is immune to incidents. Careful planning and stronger internal controls can help radically limit the risk of attacks.

The first and most important step in managing e-mail signatures is to set the expectations upfront and leave the client information that gives them peace of mind.