Signature with Classic Pen

Tips for Creating your Email Signature

How often do you find yourself, only able to vaguely remember the details of someone you need to contact? But you recall that they’d sent you an email, or vice versa… so you hurriedly search through your email, find the email and then! … Nothing. There’s no real contact information, except for the email address.

That’s an everyday occurrence for me. So in an attempt to make the world an easier to reach place, I’ve compiled a list of tips on how to create a friendly and useful email signature. Friendly because it’ll be easy for your recipients to read & use, and useful because it’ll enable more people to reach you. Don’t forget that your email signature is a really important part of your marketing collateral. It’s persistent, read by almost everyone you send it to, and can be easily forwarded.

Email Signature Tips

  1. Include your contact details, at a minimum this means:
    • Your Name; especially handy if your email address doesn’t contain it
    • Your title/position/company; if this is relevant, it’s a good place to include these details. If your company name isn’t obvious from your displayed email address, it’s good practice to include it here.
    • Your Email Address; lots of email clients strip this when forwarding or replying
    • Your Phone Number; mobile, landline, however you’d like to reached – but don’t go overboard, nobody wants your complete emergency contact list. Remember to include a country & city code.
    • Your Mailing Address; if you meet people frequently, or are in sales, then this is always useful. If not, you can probably slip this
    • Your URL; this is especially relevant if you sell products or have an online catalogue. If you don’t want people looking at your website, then skip it
  2. If in doubt use plain text; HTML is very well supported too and allows for much nicer formatting, preferably use both (HTML with Plain Text fall-back if your system supports it)
  3. Include any promotions BELOW your contact details; remember the key data here is your contact information. You can include promotional information, preferably as small images below the rest of your
  4. Inline images not attachments; when including an image in your signature, to prevent it from accidentally being seen as an attachment by Outlook, use the HTML attribute ‘nosend’. Ir’s an old an informal technique, so your mileage may vary, but it’s worth the extra few characters: <img src=”http://www.example.com/image.png” nosend=”1″ border=”0″>
  5. Clickable images; if you’re including a promotional image, remember to make it clickable, so that your clients can actually take advantage of the promotion (and you can track the source).
  6. Don’t include your contact details in an image; it’s very hard for anyone to copy your contact details from an image, and images don’t always display correctly – especially on mobile devices (where most email gets read these days)
  7. Keep the width & length short; one detail per line is actually ok. Remember that most email gets read on a mobile these days, so an extra line of text is ok if it makes everything else more readable or is useful – and in the case of mobiles, more clickable. Otherwise it’s just more irritating scrolling.
  8. Replies need a different format; keep the same contact information, just without the images/promotions. You shouldn’t need to massively rework your signature to create your reply signature.
  9. Don’t include VCards, very few people understand them and those that do don’t need to receive them repeatedly. The same is true for QR Codes in your email.
  10. Avoid including quotes; you might offend someone. Unless it’s a personal email, I’d really avoid doing this.
  11. Test your email for readability; it’s surprising how different the same email looks in different email clients. Double check that your signature looks correct (or at least usable) in the most common systems used by your audience e.g. iPhone mail client, Gmail, Outlook, etc.
  12. One-liners; if you have to put your contact details on one line, then use pipes or a semi-colon as a separator. Don’t use whitespace or tabs! These look very different on different systems, what’s worse is that their appearance can be inconsistent!
  13. Avoid virus messages; remember to disable your “virus-scanned” option in your virus scanner, it just looks terrible when it’s tacked on the end of an email (and nobody really reads it).

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative or add personality to your signature. Just remember that the purpose is to communicate your contact information, and the creative elements shouldn’t inhibit this. So here’s the most functional email signature I can imagine, and a few more creative one’s for you to mull over:

An Example Signature:

John Smith (President | Acme Corp)
+1 (222) 555 5555 | john@acmecorp.com | http://www.websiteurl.com
123 John Mac Drive, Big City, My State, Country, A Postcode

 Acme Signature Image

Email Marketing with Peter Rehnke

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I recently attended a lecture on Email Marketing held at MIS by Peter Rehnke. Credit to Peter for being such an engaging and humorous speaker! His presentation largely covered the core elements of email marketing strategy (the slides are available for download here).

A few things really stood out during the lecture though:

  1. Combination marketing; email is only part of the sales/lead gen process. It’s considerably more effective when it’s used in conjunction with other forms of engagement. The open rates and conversions are considerably higher than a fire & forget model. Clever use of combination marketing can massively increase your conversions.
    Multi Channel Email
  2. Big Data; your email campaigns generate a lot of information that you can use. Everything from locations, devices, to time of opening. Traditionally this is used to help build better emails, but it can also be used to better profile & target your customers. For example, if they’re reading their email in the morning, emails that contain breakfast or coffee offers might be better received than vodka & night club memberships.
  3. Testing; there’s an enormous performance variation between emails, so A/B test your email designs on target groups as much as possible. The bigger your email database, the more worthwhile the testing is going to be.

Combination marketing is probably the most significant point. There are some emails that actually get near 100% open rates – like order receipts & confirmations. These emails are great opportunities for cross selling, up selling or any other form of customer engagement). Just looking around at the emails we send (and we don’t have an online store), there are lots of interesting opportunities to sneak some great CTAs in.

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What your marketing team forgot on Fathers Day

Fathers DayEveryone knows that greeting card companies milk holidays,  and possibly even conspire to create events they can sell more cards through. The real question though, is did you make good use of it?

Ignoring the usual boring discount promos (“10% discount for dads/men”), there are lots of great ways to take advantage of events, festivals & made up days. The more creative you are with your ideas, the more fun, and better they’ll be. The folks at Marketing-Interactive published a few neat fathers day / holiday marketing ideas here.

Yes, it’s a bit late for father days, but there’s plenty more events coming up. So here are the three steps you’ll need:

  1. Get your diary out and start penciling in the ones that could be big for you.
  2. Have a drink, have some fun and come up with some crazy ideas
  3. Stop reading this & implement?

Sometimes we need to forget about all the numbers, analytics and  metrics – and have a little fun (it’s surprisingly effective). Besides, isn’t that why we became marketeers?