signWith the entry of blogs, and networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, into the world of online communication, the much understated Email Signature has been largely relegated to the realm of Forgotten Marketing Tools.

What is an Email Signature?

An email signature is a virtual business card which is automatically added at the end of your outgoing email. This signature generally depicts contact details for your business and lets people know who, where and what you are.

Why all the Fuss?

Email signatures, used correctly, can be a low-cost, high-return marketing tool. A business with 30 employees sending at least 10 emails daily will essentially lead to roughly 75000 adverts for your business annually. At no cost. What's interesting is how seldom email signatures are utilized.

Advantages of using an Email Signature:

  1. An email signature conveys a willingness to communicate. By providing your necessary contact details, the receiver feels less hesitant about contacting your company as they are immediately in possession of a contact name and the ability to research your company (especially if you have included the URL of your company website in your signature).

  2. Another major advantage to having a signature is the opportunity to promote your company/brand and to associate your name with your company/brand. The more you are able to get your company name/brand in front of people, the more they are aware of your website address, and the more your name is associated with these details - the easier it will be to find you on the web and on profiles that you might not have directly linked to your site.

Here are a Few "Netiquette" Tips for Email Signatures:

  • Consistency: ensure everyone in your company uses the same format in their signatures, thereby building a recognizable identity for your company.

  • Keep it Simple: provide just the basic contact information and leave any further investigation up to the recipient of your email.

  • Avoid Including your Email Address: this information is already provided in the ‘From' field of your email.

  • Keep it Up to Date: don't forget to edit your signature should any of your contact details change.

  • Separation: ensure that your signature is clearly separated from the content portion of your email.

How to Create an Effective Email Signature:

Below is an example of a good email signature:

Name
Title
Company Name
Street Address
City, Province, Postal Code
Phone
Fax
Email

Here is a suggestion on making this a great email signature:

Name
Title
Company Name
Phone
Company Web Address (URL)

A general rule of thumb is that a good signature be four to six lines in length. Eight lines is the maximum length, but that is pushing it. Don't forget that frequent recipients of your emails see your email signature again and again.

Optional Additions to a Great Email Signature:

Should you have a specific function or event that you would like to call attention to, utilize your signature, but keep it to one line and/or a link to the details of the function or event.

  • Tagline (for a specific company event, campaign, etc)

  • Graphical elements (such as a horizontal line to distinguish your signature from the rest of the email)

  • A quotation to share your company's point of view

  • An announcement of a new program, service, or publication

  • An invitation to a special event, conference, or to subscribe to your company's email newsletter

In Conclusion:

Keep in mind that once people have read the contents of your email they tend to ignore the signature area unless it stands out. Keep your signature short and sweet. Don't create a signature that is longer than the content lines of the majority of your emails!

Sticking to the basic suggestions listed above should keep your company, and you, fresh in the minds of your email recipients.

Contributed by:
Candice Turnbull

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