Use Your Email Signature to Grow Your Business

Setting up a signature file (or block of text) to appear automatically at the end of every email that you or your employees send may sound like a no-brainer. But many small-business owners overlook the feature’s inherent marketing opportunities: You can use these “sig files” support your sales and other objectives, particularly when communicating via email with existing or potential customers. Here’s how to optimize your email signature.

The Basics

Every email signature file should have these standard bits of information:

  • Name, company name, and job title/position
  • Phone number (direct line and/or mobile)
  • Website and blog address (include these as clickable links)

Useful Additions

Beyond the essentials, consider making these additions to your sig file:

  • Twitter and Facebook links (plus a brief follow/like us message)
  • A sales pitch or special offer, such as a link to a new product
  • An invitation to receive your newsletter
  • A link to a webinar or event

You likely put customer testimonials in your marketing materials, too, so why not include one as part of your email signature? Consider adding a line like, “Bob’s Hardware is the best source for power tools I’ve found anywhere in the city!” —John Smith, loyal customer

If Twitter is part of your marketing arsenal, think about including your most recent or most popular tweet (with facts such as “85 retweets so far” or mentions and responses). This adds credibility to your Twitter presence and may encourage more followers.

What about adding a useful tip to customers and prospects? Come up with a short solution to a common problem (no more than one sentence), offered free of charge to all of your email recipients.

You know your customers the best, so use your email signature to offer them a little something extra every time you communicate via email.

Common Faux Pas

Some people get carried away “accessorizing” their email signatures. Avoid images (such as photos of yourself or your product); many email systems automatically strip these away, anyway or turn them into oddball attachments. Resist creative impulses to use various colors and fonts; these will likely become illegible nonsense on someone else’s laptop or smartphone. Shun HTML formatting, too, because it appears inconsistently across different operating systems and software platforms.

How many emails do you receive that are signed, “Sent from my iPhone (or iPad)”? This is a wasted opportunity and won’t do anything to grow your business. It’s easy to change this text — and well worth the effort.

The Bottom Line

You don’t need to incorporate all of the elements suggested here. Pick the two or three that seem to be the most appropriate for your business — and change them up from time to time. Always keep your additions as brief as possible.

About Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning freelance copywriter and editor and a former Senior Writer for Vistage International, a global membership organization of chief executive officers. He writes frequently on issues and challenges faced by U.S. small businesses.
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