Email Signatures: A Missed Marketing Opportunity

first_imgI recommend cutting the street address (2 lines), line space, fax number, and email address and adding the organization’s web address.Recommendation (5 lines):NameTitleOrganization NamePhoneOrganization Web Address (URL) Email signatures (also known as sig lines) are powerful, low-cost, high-return marketing tools (a virtual business card or ad) for your organization.What Is an Email Signature?Consider this: If your organization has 30 employees, each of whom sends 15 emails daily outside the organization, then (assuming 250 business days) that’s 112,500 business cards or ads distributed annually, at no cost. If you have 100 employees, that’s 375,000 cards or ads annually.In general, your email signature is information automatically added as the last few lines of your outgoing email to let people know who/where/what you are. Consider your sig line as your online business card with “callback” abilities.What a Strong Email Signature Does for Your OrganizationMaking the most of your sig lines, for yourself and every colleague in your organization, is analogous to leaving your business cards – but even more powerful.Most importantly, in this age when we’re all inundated with too many emails, your email signature is a clear signal to your recipient that the message is from you and provides the context (e.g., job title, organization name, and web site) that reminds that person who you are and enriches their understanding of your message. That’s a lot more than can quickly be deciphered from your email address in the “from” field.Beyond this most basic benefit, your email signature is a business card or ad that alerts the recipient to special news and enables them to have direct access to your web site or send email back to you with the swift click of a mouse.How a Consistent Email Signature Style Benefits Your OrganizationWhat’s critical is that everyone in your organization uses the same sig line format. Specifics such as name, title, email, and direct phone line obviously will change. However, certain elements (organization name, web site address, tagline) and the order of elements should be standard for all staff sig lines.Sig line consistency benefits your organization in the following ways:Builds a brand or recognizable identity for your organization. The sig line becomes a key element of overall branding.Serves as a cognitive flag, enabling email recipients to make connections among emails received from various members of your organization.Case StudyHere is an example of a good email sig and a recommendation to make it even stronger. To protect the innocent, I’ll use a generic version of the sample I was analyzing for this example.Example (9 lines):NameTitleOrganization NameStreet AddressCity, State, Zip CodePhoneFaxEmail Finally, always make sure to keep your sig lines up to date and remember to train your staff on creating their sig line as per organizational style. More Creative Uses for Your Sig LineA signature line can be used much like a classified ad if you’re trying to motivate clients to use your services or register for your workshop. Add one line and/or a link. Examples include:A quotation to share your organization’s point of view.A call to contribute to a capital campaign or other fundraising focus.An issue-oriented tagline to promote an advocacy campaign.An announcement of a new program, service, or publication.An invitation to a special event, conference, or to subscribe to your email newsletter.center_img How to Create an Effective Email Sig LineFirst of all, keep it brief. A general rule of thumb is that a good sig line is four-six lines in length. Eight lines is the maximum length, but that is pushing it. Remember, those to whom you email frequently see your email signature line again and again.Must include: name, title, organization name, phone number, web addressOptional elements include:— Tagline (organizational or specific event, campaign, etc.)— Graphical elements such as a horizontal line to distinguish your sig line from the email.Inclusion of your email address is not recommended, since it’s in the “from” field of the email and gets forwarded with an email that’s passed on. It’s best to drive audiences to your web site for more contact information details such as your mailing address and fax number. About the AuthorNancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and communications. As President of Nancy Schwartz & Company (, Nancy and her team provide marketing planning and implementation services to organizations as varied as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, and Wake County (NC) Health Services.Subscribe to her free e-newsletter “Getting Attention”, ( and read her blog at for more insights, ideas and great tips on attracting the attention your organization deserves.NOTE: You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the copyright and “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint.last_img