Even small communications can make a big difference in the way clients perceive your business. That includes emails and, in particular, your automated email signature.

Every piece of communication you send to clients presents a chance to make a deeper connection with them, says Joshua Zuchter, a Toronto-based business and life coach. Your email signature can be a way to let clients know how to reach you and keep them updated about your business.

Follow these tips to create a professional and effective email signature:

> Remember the basics
When creating an email signature, include the must-haves.

Start with your full name and credentials, says Zuchter. Follow that with your title and then your website address.

> Promote yourself
For the next part of the email signature, think about what you would like to promote.

You could choose to include the title of a book you have written, says Zuchter, or you could mention an award you’ve recently received. You could also mention a social media site if you have an active account. Just don’t go overboard.

Your phone number should appear in the last line of your signature, Zuchter says.

> What not to include
There are, of course, a few things to avoid in your email signature.

Do not include photos or complex graphics in your signature, Zuchter says. These elements — beyond a simple logo — can take up too much space in an inbox and the images may not show up properly on the screen.

In most cases, fax numbers and mailing addresses should be omitted from email signatures. A fax number should be included in a signature only if your clients send faxes frequently. Your street address should also be omitted simply because it will take up too much space on an email signature; it should be accessible on a website or office documents.

> Keep it short
Never make an email signature that’s longer than the average message. Instead, keep the signature to a reasonable length.

Sometimes people include too much in an email signature, Zuchter says, and it’s a paragraph long. Instead, the signature should be between five and six lines. Your name, for example, would be one line, followed by your title as the second.

> Make it stand out
Sometimes people skip over the email signature, says Zuchter. Make it grab their attention.

Use italics, underlining or colour, he says, to make the signature stand out from the rest of the message.

Remember, if you have established a brand, use those colours and be consistent in how you present the signature.

> Keep your message personal
Be sure to keep your personal sign-off separate from your automated signature.

Don’t include your sign-off — for example, “sincerely” or “best regards” followed by your name — in your automated signature, Zuchter says.

Instead, type out, in each email message, a personal sign-off (“Best regards,/Joe,”) followed by your full automated signature. That makes each email personal and less formal.