What Not to Include in Your Business Email Signature

Mary Cullen
Post by Mary Cullen
Originally published August 29, 2012, updated December 22, 2023
What Not to Include in Your Business Email Signature

A business email signature I received today from a Human Resource manager included this somewhat inspirational quote: “Just when the caterpillar thought its’ life was over, it became a butterfly.”

While I often tend to agree with inspirational insights theoretically, do not include them in your business email signature.

They are distracting from the core message of your email. Business email volume is heavy, and we need to streamline our messages to assist busy readers. This quote offers only unrelated extraneous content, and requires additional valuable reader time – never good practice.

(Additionally, there is a grammar error. Its’ is a grammatical formation that does not exist. The possessive form of its is its. Correct it's vs. its  grammar should be, “Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over…” )

Match Your Business Email Signature to Your Reader

This quote is particularly odd for a Human Resources manager, given the layoffs occurring across many companies. There is an oblique hint of ending/layoff mentioned, and reminder of this in an email from Human Resources is not helpful! This statement could easily cause employees to worry needlessly.

Email signatures can be hugely valuable for marketing:

  • Use business email signatures to increase sales
  • Announce new initiatives to internal staff
  • Announce new products or events to external contacts
  • Highlight a new marketing initiative


  • Inspirational quotes
  • Any political statements
  • Any religious statements
  • Colorful fonts. Keep your business email signature clean and professional
  • A jpg image. Many email clients will add this as an attachment only. They are not helpful and add clutter.
Would you like a review of your business email, including signatures, time management, and crafting messages that work? Consider our Email Course.
3 Tips to Manage Email Volume
Email Writing Course for Business

Get instructor feedback on your actual business emails in our Business Email Writing Course.

View Course & Outline


Mary Cullen
Post by Mary Cullen
Originally published August 29, 2012, updated December 22, 2023
Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island, an M.A. in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.