If you’re reading this article, you have a computer. If you have a computer, it’s likely you use some type of email program.You probably don’t remember when you started using email, just the relief when you got it working so you could communicate with friends and colleagues.
The easiest email marketing technique is within everyone’s reach and it’s free. It only take five to ten minutes to create, and you can update it any time you want so set yourself a reminder to review once or twice a year. If you have a lot of changes in your life, you may need to update more frequently … like starting a new business. Ouch, that means updating not just your email signature, but all your online profiles too.
There isn’t one perfect email signature, so I picked a few to illustrate some that work well. Email signatures are one of my hot buttons. I absolutely can’t believe the emails I get from business owners and at the bottom it says:
- Just a first name, i.e. Al or Amanda. There’s NO information with information about the sender.
- More amazing are emails with NOTHING, not even a first name!
Email, the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool … FREE
This problem is common because it’s so obvious we overlook it. Every business owner should be leveraging this FREE advertising. It costs you nothing and it works. Even people who don’t own a business can benefit by sharing information about themselves, including:
- Social media sites where you participate, i.e. Face Book.
- Organizations that you support, i.e. Habitat for Humanity.
- Personal information you’re proud of, i.e. I’ve seen lots of proud mothers talk about their children, their accomplishments and/or sports teams they’re on.
Great Email Signatures to Inspire You
There are many great email signatures that successfully tell the sender’s story better than any words. The most important thing you want to communicate is how you’re different and why people should remember you. Let’s look at a few signatures first and so you can see visually what it means to be memorable. Immediately following the examples, we’ll review the elements of good email signatures along with pros and cons for each.
Jennifer’s signature is truly memorable. You can scan your hand written signature to create a digital version and yes, there’s some tweaking but it’s worth it. What I really like is you feel like you really know her, although I’ve only know Jennifer through ActiveRain, an online community for those involved in real estate.
Zach’s sample signature was created using www.WiseStamp.com, a free tool that’s quick and easy to use. Don’t worry about the social media buttons as they’re optional. For my signature I’m including the title of my last blog post with a link … pretty cool. As I started to develop a shared team email strategy, I found I needed this tool so now … no excuses for not having a professional email signature.
- There isn’t one perfect signature as that would defeat the purpose of creating something that will stand out from the crowd. There are 100s of ideas and you should start looking at the emails you receive to identify the things that make you sit up and take notice. You might like a digital signature (scanned image of your hand written signature) or a personal photo which makes it easy for people to recognize you when you meet in person. I sometimes wonder about the original Facebook where I imagine it was similar to your high school year book, to help you get to know your classmates.
- Signature - to personalize your email, i.e. where you might use your first name. People use a scanned image or stylized font, the latter avoiding email programs that no longer automatically download graphics.
- Name – introduces you. Include your full name as people just getting to know you will cut and paste your signature into a new contact, and some people prefer searching by last name.
- Role and Business/Organization Name - helps people identify how they know you. You’re a peer business owner, non-profit supporter or Mom with kids at the same school.
- Address - most often omitted unless it makes sense, i.e. you’ll get their mailing address on invoices they send you.
- Phone Numbers – include them all. Categorize office or home, daytime or night. Tell people the best way to contact you, i.e. some emails indicate one phone number for general information, another to register for classes.
- Email address – should be included so people who want to add you to their contact database, can do so with a single cut and paste.
- Online Presence - helps people connect with you online from web sites and blogs, to social media sites. If you have a profile, it is helpful to hilight that link so people can learn more about you.
Creating Your Email Signature
You probably have a few ideas by now. Most people pick parts from several signatures and it’s helpful to print signatures so you can lay them side-by-side. That is when you really start to see what pops off your computer screen and makes you pay attention.
Now it’s time review the elements that go into these signatures, so you can pick the ones you want to include in your new signature. You also want to experiment with the sequence and find what makes your signature stand out from all the ordinary ones your readers get each and every day.
Want to Learn More About Email Signatures?
Someone sent the following link to me, The Art and Science of Email Signatures. They start out with the basics and recommend no more than 3 lines for your email signature (I currently use 4 lines) and delve into lots more detail than covered here. The website, SmashingMagazine.com is primarily for web developers so it’s worth scanning but jump over discussions about things you’re not familiar with like html.
The best information in this article is how to create your signature based on the email system you use. As I haven’t had time to put this article together, it’s borrowed and shared here … so feedback appreciated so I can make the information as accurate as possible.
Microsoft’s mail for mac works differently. Here’s a tutorial on how to set it up.
Want just one basic signature? Here‘s how to change the text. You’d think Google would allow you multiple signatures, links and a bit of formatting. If you’re looking for something a little more designed or wish to choose between multiple signatures, here are five ways to do it in Firefox.
Tips on custom images and more for Hotmail (Oh my!) can be found here. If you use Windows Live, here is a tutorial on adding images and HTML. The detail is helpful, even if the images are awful.
After a bit of research, I found that Yahoo used to support HTML signatures, but no longer. Here‘s how to change your signature using rich text.
Here is a pretty decent tutorial, with some inline HTML for formatting. It then explains how to implement it in the application. You even get some hints on how it will look on the iPhone.
Learn how to customize your message on your Palm Pre here.
Customize your “Sent from my iPhone” message here.
Some information on how to change your message on BlackBerry smartphones here.