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The All Important Sig File

Rod Clayton

Easy Internet Marketing: email signature files

You've seen email signature files, or sig files, before. Sig files are the few lines of contact information you see at the bottom of email messages. Most modern email software programs (even --- gulp --- AOL) allow you to create and use sig files, and it's something you should definitely be doing. If you're not using sig files in your outgoing email messages, you're missing an important and cheap (FREE is pretty cheap) marketing opportunity. You're probably sending several to several dozen email messages out each day -- why not turn each one of these messages into an opportunity to promote your services?

Sig Files Make You Easy to Find

People hate it when they have to search for ways to contact you. Even your regular clients, the ones who know your email address by heart, may need to contact you via phone every once in a while. Put your phone number and web site address right in front of them in your email messages, and they'll be all the happier. Think about it -- would your contact rather just grab the phone number off the bottom of an email, or go digging through that pile of business cards sliding around in their desk drawer? And if they're one of those organized types, you'll make them happy because they can just copy and paste your information into their contact management software (like Outlook, ACT!, Salesforce, etc).

Sig Files Tell People What You Do

Don't take it for granted that people know what you do for a living. Some of those people you've emailed may be looking for someone who does exactly what you do -- but they don't know who does that kind of work. So be sure your sig file clearly tells recipients what you do!

Sig Files are Portable

Email messages are forwarded all the time, and you never know where one of your messages will end up. Remember how "Sig Files Tell People What You Do"? A good sig file has potential to advertise your services to people you never anticipated!

Duh

Okay, all that stuff is pretty obvious. But also important. The key here is to think of your sig file as a little marketing dude (or dudette) that's going to speak to everyone who sees your email. What do you want the miniature marketer to say on behalf of your business? Do you have great news? A new service or product? A free newsletter? A free offer (people like free)? 

What Goes Into a Good Sig File?

The following list should give you some ideas as to what should go in your sig file. Don't try to include all of these items -- people don't want a copy of War & Peace at the bottom of your messages, so choose the ideas that are important to you and your business.

  • your name
  • your title
  • your company tagline, or a short description of what your company does
  • your address
  • your phone number, fax number, Skype info
  • your web site address.
  • your web site address (yep, that one is so important I put it in here twice)
  • your web site address (get the idea?)
  • links to social media, like Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, etc

You can also include a bit of promotion, like:

  • an invitation to subscribe to your newsletter or blog
  • an offer for a free report, free trial, free consultation, free anything (did I mention that people like free?)
  • an announcement (like a recent award, a recent project, etc)

Just remember to keep your offer or announcement brief and concise, one or two sentences max. And if you're offering a free something, be sure to throw the word free in there somewhere. Did I mention that people like free?

Keep It Brief

Some experts recommend using no more than 8 lines in your email signature. Personally, I think that's pushing it -- I prefer 5 lines max. Anything more and you run the risk of having a sig file that's longer than most of your actually email messages, which is just silly looking. Also, if people can't easily scan text to find the information they need, they're likely to move on. Keep it brief and important!

Be Nimble!

Most email programs make it pretty easy to change your sig file, so make the most of your mini-marketing message by changing it as needed. By keeping fresh content and information in your sig file, you increase the probably people will actually pay attention to it.

Do We Get It?

One last reminder about creating your sig file: be sure you communicate exactly what you do. Build your sig file so it communicates a clear message about what you do, and you'll turn those email messages into marketing opportunities in no time!