Like a signature, an electronic signature provides information about the sender of a message. A signature is intended to facilitate contact and is to be understood as a personal business card. Therefore, a signature, especially for business emails, should also contain all the information that can be found on a business card. In the business sector, the signature is bound by minimum legal requirements, which must be observed at all costs. Otherwise, there is the threat of a warning.
The purpose of a signature
A document is not legally binding until its author has signed it. In electronic communication, the signature fulfills a similar task, namely that of providing legal information. Similar to a letter, on which the recipient and sender are named, the signature on emails serves to indicate to the recipient from whom he or she has received the email.
Signature: structure and mandatory information
The signature is usually placed at the end of an e-mail. Some information is required by law. These are legal minimum standards. These formal guidelines were laid down at the beginning of 2007 in the “Law on Electronic Commercial Registers and Registers of Cooperatives as well as the Business Register”, or EHUG for short. The order in which they are listed in the signature is not prescribed. However, it makes sense to place the most important information, such as name and address, at the beginning of the signature. As a rule, the signature begins with the logo of the company. Then follows the full name of the company. Here it must also be indicated in the signature, which business form was selected. If the company is a limited liability company, all managing directors must be named and, if available, the chairman of the supervisory board. In the case of stock corporations, the chairman of the supervisory board and all members of the management board must be listed by name in the signature. The name of the company is usually followed by the position held by the sender in the company. This is followed in the signature by the full postal address, followed by the telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of the addressee. If the company is registered in the commercial register, the commercial register number must be stated in the signature as well as which register court is responsible for the company. The signature usually ends with the sender’s VAT identification number or tax number.
Creating a signature
Almost every email program now has a function in the settings for creating a signature. This signature must be inserted there once. The signature is then either automatically added to every email or can be copied manually into those emails that are to bear the signature.
The signature as a discreet advertising tool
A signature can also be used as a marketing tool. This can be done in a relatively uncomplicated way, for example by inserting the company logo and a link to the website into the signature. In addition, a link is often inserted in the signature, which can be used to subscribe to a newsletter, for example. It is also conceivable to insert current news about the company in the signature.
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