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Gmail Like a Professional- How to Add an HTML Signature to Mail

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Gmail Firefox Addon

gmailIf you use Gmail but you’re concerned that it doesn’t come across professionally since you have a boring signature, don’t fret, there is a way to gmail like a professional! If you are using Firefox, visit the Mozilla Add-Ons page and simply click “Add to Firefox” and you’ll be able to add a new HTML signature.

Below is my AG signature and it is pretty simple, some people prefer more flash or more icons, but this works for me (click to enlarge):

gmail like a professional

This addon automatically inserts HTML signatures into all of your Gmail messages based on which address you are sending from. I have multiple signatures set up that I can use based on the occasion, and I can select from a drop down menu which is to be used on the email I am sending and it allows me up to four signature per address. Unlike other addons, this one is supported in the reply/forward function as well, so you won’t have to go copy and paste from other parts of the email.

We suggest your logo and basic contact information, and perhaps a disclaimer or privacy note. This is a great place to highlight your social networks (or perhaps a single aggregate site like flavors.me) and include any brokerage or license information you’re required to.

So in the last week, you’ve learned how to undo a gmail message and now you know how to have a permanent, professional signature that you have complete control over and you’re steps closer to gaining your independence from Outlook!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Loren Nason

    February 1, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Cool add-on.

    But, I love plain text signatures with maybe a couple of links to your SocMed profiles.

    But then again I’m old-skool like that and sometimes love a cmd line over a GUI interface.

    For those that do use this add-on I would suggest to not have too many links in your signature because that can also flag your email as spam.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

      I agree, simple is better, but I’ve learned that a disclaimer is crucial for what I do every day AND not using a logo is a simple branding opportunity missed.

      That said, you’re right about the tons of links, so as mentioned above an aggregator might be best (my fave is https://flavors.me, you?). Thanks for weighing in, Loren- that’s a great point about getting flagged!

  2. Susie Blackmon

    February 1, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Dang, I’m in love with Wise Stamp! Appreciate Loren’s comments too.
    P.S. I LOVE being away from Outlook.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 1, 2010 at 10:25 am

      Isn’t freedom great, Susie!?! 🙂

  3. MIssy Caulk

    February 1, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Great find Lani.

    That was one of the reasons I didn’t change to gmail exclusively.

    I was told this by someone else this week, Lorens comment about links. I have 3 in mine, blog, search site and google profile. I need to figure out a new one.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 1, 2010 at 10:34 am

      Glad you enjoy it, @MissyCaulk! 🙂 Regarding email links, three is about as many as you should have, but you *could* create one page on your website that has all of those links on it and use THAT as your signature link?

      So, it would be a page that said something like:
      “Glad you clicked on the link in my email signature, aren’t you clever? Here is everything you should know about me… I hate french cuff links, I’ve been an agent since I was 18, I have an affinity for historic homes and I’m a dedicated blogger.

      Here are some things you can do while you’re here:
      Search All Ann Arbor Homes (with one click and you aren’t even required to register!)
      Read my Real Estate Blog (about architecture, market stats and real estate news)
      Check out my Google Profile (to see what social networks I’m available on)”

      … something like that. Is that workable for you? 🙂

  4. Michael Patton

    February 1, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I’m not the “sharpest tool in the shed” on TECH stuff…. so first off thanks for what you share with us.

    In the “past” I’ve had some issues using other browsers (non MS/IE)… can anyone tell me if Mozilla/Firefox add on’s have solved those problems OR is there a way to use the html sig with Explorer?

    • Lani Rosales

      February 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

      Firefox is a superior web browser to Internet Explorer (which thousands of people are lobbying to get rid of, by the way), and Google Chrome and Apple’s Opera browser are superior to Firefox.

      If you must use IE, here is a hack for creating an HTML signature for Gmail.

  5. Ken Montville

    February 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Woooo Hoooo!! I [heart] HTML signatures. Does it convert to text if the recipients e-mail client doesn’t accept HTML which is common in the US Government (my area’s largest employer)?

    Next Gmail question – is there a way to divert incoming e-mail into the Labels they’re assigned to as soon as they come in? (sort of like an Outlook “rule”). I got the part where the labels get attached to incoming mail but they still sit in my Inbox until I move them.

    • Michael Patton

      February 1, 2010 at 10:13 am

      Applying the labels and auto moving emails into their own folders is accomplished (on my gmail, anyways) by clicking the drop down on the right hand side called “more actions”… there you’ll find “FILTER messages like these”… which is like RULES.

      • Ken Montville

        February 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

        I got that far….there is a choice to “Archive it” is that the same as moving it automatically to the designated folder/label? Thanks for the help.

        • Michael Patton

          February 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

          I’ve got a few moments if you want to call me (702-883-2131) I’m prepping for a couple of listing appts this morning… but it won’t take long to walk you through it.

          NOTE: I’m not seeing “archive” when I create a filter… so don’t know where you’re at on the GMail page.

          More NOTE: I use the GMail PARTNER page… have my domain directed to them… maybe my screen is different than yours?

          • Lani Rosales

            February 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

            If y’all don’t get it worked out, let me know, I’m happy to provide answers 🙂

          • Ken Montville

            February 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm

            Hey, Michael – Missed your comment since I didn’t subscribe to notifications at the bottom. I left my number on your voice mail. Thanks!!

          • Ken Montville

            February 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

            Hey, Michael

            One of my incoming e-mails just dropped into a folder/label bypassing my Inbox so it looks like I got it figured out. Many thanks!!!

  6. Ken Montville

    February 1, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Hmmmm. Just tried to install it into my Firefox 3.6 and it didn’t go. Maybe it needs an update to be compatible?

  7. Andy Morris

    February 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I use wisestamp for firefox and just recently found out they have the same extension for chrome which is one reason i haven’t switched. i love it.

  8. Greg Fleischaker

    February 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Great points, I’ve been guilty of loading up way too many links in my email signature, and have really pared it back. Late apologies to anyone that I might have sent one of my old emails to!

  9. Lori Luza

    February 12, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Lani, thank you so much for this. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. Now, I know how and have made the time to start setting it up!

  10. Ken Montville

    April 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I just tried the Blank Canvass product and it wouldn’t install. Bummer. No support other than a forum. Double bummer. Any other suggestions.

    • Lani Rosales

      April 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      I’ve never used this, but other commenters recommend it: https://www.wisestamp.com/

      Let me know if that works for ya! 🙂

      • Ken Montville

        April 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm

        Thanks! I actually saw that on a Google signature forum (who woulda known there was such a thing!?). It downloaded perfectly and works pretty good. I haven’t played around with the logo insertion yet but I like the ability to add hypelinks and the social media icons. The only down side is the ad for itself that it embeds at the bottom. It’s free, though, so I guess they’re entitled.

        On another Gmail topic, I downloaded MailBrowser, too and that seems to work perfectly. I noticed it has a check box to not allow the automatic downloading of attachments which I checked thinking viruses love attachments. I’m guess (though, I’m not sure) that If I voluntarily download an attachment it’ll do all the wonderful MailBrowser stuff.

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Business Marketing

Coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

These tools customize your Zoom calls with your company’s branding

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Zoom appears to be here to stay. Here are the tools you need to add or update your Zoom background to a more professional – or even branded – background.

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Zoom call on computer, but there's more options to customize.

If you haven’t had to deal with Zoom in 2021, you may be an essential worker or retired altogether. For the rest of us, Zoom became the go-to online chat platform around mid-March. For several reasons, and despite several security concerns, Zoom quickly pushed past all online video chat competitors in the early COVID-19 lockdown days.

Whether for boozy virtual happy hours, online classes for school or enrichment, business meetings, trivia nights, book clubs, or professional conferences, odds are if you are working or in school, you have been on a Zoom call recently. Many of us have been on weekly, if not daily, Zoom calls.

If you are the techy type, you’ve likely set up a cool Zoom background of a local landmark or a popular spot, a library, or a tropical beach. Comic-con types and movie buffs created appropriate backgrounds to flex their awesome nerdiness and technical smarts.

Many people have held off creating such an individualized background for our virtual meetings for one of any number of reasons. Perhaps it never occurred to them, or maybe they aren’t super comfortable with all things techy. Many people have been holding out hope of returning to their offices, thus seeing no need to rock the boat. I’m here to tell you, though, it’s time. While I, too, hope that we get the pandemic under control, I am realistic enough to see that working or studying from home will continue to be a reality for many people for some time.

Two cool, free tools we’ve found that can help you make your personal Zoom screen look super professional and even branded for business or personal affairs are Canva and HiHello. While each platform has a paid component, creating a Zoom background screen for either application is fairly simple and free.

Here’s how:

Canva is the online design website that made would-be graphic designers out of so many people, especially social media types. It’s fairly user-friendly with lots of tutorials and templates, and the extremely useful capabilities of uploading your own logo and saving your brand colors.

Using Canva, first create your free account with your email. It functions better if you create an account, although you can play around with some of the tools without signing up. The fastest way from Point A to Point B here is to use the search box and search for “Zoom backgrounds.” You now can choose any one of their Zoom background templates, from galaxy to rainbows and unicorn to library books or conference rooms. Choose an inspirational quote if you’d like (but really, please don’t). Download the .jpg or .png, save it, and you can upload it to Zoom.

To create a branded Zoom background in Canva, it will take slightly more work. It was a pain in the butt for me, because I had this vision of a backdrop with my logo repeated, like you see as a backdrop at, you know, SXSW or the Grammys or something. Reach for the stars, right?

OK, the issue with this was that I had to individually add, resize, and place each of the 9 logos I ended up with. I figured out the best way to size them uniformly (I resized one and copied/pasted, instead of adding the original size each time (maybe you’re thinking “Duh,” but it took me a few failed experiments to figure out that was the fastest way to do it).

Once you have your 9 loaded in the middle of the page, start moving them around to place them. I chose 9, because the guiding lines in Canva allow me to ensure I have placed them correctly, in the top left corner, middle left against the margin that pops up, and bottom left. Same scenario for the center row.

Magical guide lines pop up when you have the logo centered perfectly, so I did top, middle, and bottom like that, and repeated for the right hand margin. Then I flipped them, because they were showing up in my view on Zoom as backward. That may mean they are now backward to people on my call; I will need to test that out! Basically, Canva is easy to use, but perhaps my design aspirations made it tricky to figure out.

Good luck and God bless if you choose more than 9 logos to organize. Oh, and if you are REALLY smart, you will add one logo to a solid color or an austere, professionally appropriate photo background and call it a day, for the love of Mary. That would look cool and be easy.

HiHello is an app you can download to scan and keep business cards and create your own, free, handy dandy digital business card. It comes in the form of a scannable QR code you can share with anyone. Plus, you can make a Zoom background with it, which is super cool! It takes about five minutes to set up, truly! It works great!

The Zoom background has your name, the company name, and your position on one side and the QR code on the other. The QR code pulls up a photo, your name, title, phone number, and email address. It’s so nifty! And the process was super easy and intuitive. Now, If I took my logo page from Canva and made that the background for my HiHello virtual Zoom screen, I would be branded out the wazoo.

Remember there are technical requirements if you want to use HiHello on a Mac. For example, if you have a mac with a dual core processor, it requires a QUAD. However, on a PC, it was really simple.

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Business Marketing

Finally: A smart card that manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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