Learn to write E-mail signatures|
They are often forgotten, but E-mail signatures can prove to be a very useful website promotion tool that produces great results compared to the effort required to use it. After all, most of us send a lot of E-mails, and many end their messages with expressions like "Take care" or "See you later" followed by the writer's name. Such signatures are nice, but why settle for just one brief line with very little useful content?
Think about it for a while. People are used to handing out their business card to nearly everyone they meet, but the same people sign their E-mail messages with merely their name, if they even bother to sign them at all. Instead of just signing with your name, why not include a full-scale E-mail signature at the bottom of your messages? Since you're going to send those E-mails anyhow, it would be a very good idea to turn them into a traffic generator by using a good signature. But how can that be achieved?
Unfortunately it is hard to give detailed instructions on what to put in your E-mail signatures. Because people are different, signatures should also be different. A teenage girl promoting her site about the latest pop band would hardly want to use the same style in her signature as a middle-aged man trying to get visitors to his online computer store.
Before you create your signature, think about what kind of people you usually exchange E-mails with. Then try to figure out what these people like. Should you use "power" words in your signature, such as "FREE" or "NOW", or would you be better off with a strictly formal version that only contains the name of your site and its address?
If you are unsure about what kind of signature you should create, I would advise you to go with a more formal style instead of marketing hype. Since a signature is something that very much represents you in the eyes of everyone you exchange E-mails with, you should be careful not to spoil your reputation with a signature that the receiver might consider to be unprofessional or tactless.
Creating a good E-mail signature
So, what does a good E-mail signature consist of? In my opinion, it
- Starts with a brief courtesy, such as "Sincerely" or "All the best", followed by your name. While such wishes alone won't do you much good, they do tend to give a more positive image of yourself to others. If appropriate, you can add your title into your sig as well, since it gives you a bit of authority. Everyone who has a site can rightfully call himself a "Webmaster"!
- Includes a brief description of your site. It should give people the information they need to determine what your site is about and encourage them to visit it. At the same time, you don't want to try too hard. The key to good E-mail signatures lies somewhere between a simple list of contact information and a blatant advertisement.
Always remember to think from the receiver's point of view. It is darn easy to accidentally create a description that tells people why you want them to visit your site instead of telling them why they would want to visit it!
- A good description is nothing unless it is followed by a link to your site. Remember to use http:// in the link, ie. http://www.biz-whiz.com/ instead of www.biz-whiz.com. This will allow many E-mail programs to identify it as a link so that users can click on it to go directly to your site instead of having to open up a browser window and cut & paste the address.
- Is short. A good general rule of thumb is that your signature shouldn't exceed four lines in length. If your signature is too long, people won't take the time to read it. If your E-mail signature obeys the four line rule, you can use the same signature in Usenet and most other discussion forums as well.
- Contains no spelling errors or bad grammar. In addition to that, it should also be easy on the eyes. In some cases, using upper-case in certain words might work, but generally it's a good idea to avoid SHOUTING or ThiS aNNoyiNg WRiTiNg STyLe.
OK, we have went through the theory. Now let's have a look at an example signature:
Joe Kirkegaard, CEO of Best Computers Inc.
Best Computers - powerful hardware at a price you can afford: <site address here>
Why is that a good example? Because it is short and gets right to the point. At the same time, it is able to deliver accurate information about who you are, where your site is located and how the receiver might benefit from visiting it. The above signature is also an excellent example of a plain and un-aggressive "one size fits all" signature that could be used in messages sent to just about anyone. If you want to add a bit more "hype" or "action" to your signature, feel free to do so, but as I warned before, make sure that you don't overdo it.
Now that you know how to compose the perfect signature for yourself, it is time to add it to your E-mail program so that you don't have to type it again every time you send out an E-mail. How this can be done depends on the program you use, but here is a set of brief instructions on how to add E-mail signatures to some of the most popular E-mail programs.
You now have a good signature that you can use in your E-mails and in your Usenet, discussion forum and messageboard postings. As discussion forums and the Usenet are a bit different from E-mails, those who are thinking about using their signature in the above mentioned places might want to read my article called "Signature advertising in the Usenet" about the topic
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