Email Signatures

Every email you send should have an email "signature."  This is text that is automatically attached to the bottom of your email message.  It provides useful information to your correspondents.  It can even provide some marketing information as well.  Here's an example of mine:

Jim Frazier, President 
The Gadwall Group, Ltd. -  IT and Ebusiness Strategies
Batavia, Illinois     630-406-5861
Seminars and Training - Consulting - Publications

Now I'll be the first to admit that it's not great.  Anyone who regularly trades email with me will attest to the fact that I change it frequently.  But this signature accomplishes the basic objectives:

1.  It provides my email address.  Don't assume that just because your email address can be found in the header of the message, it WILL be found.  I deal with Internet newbies on a daily basis, and you need to provide the information to them where they expect to see a signature file.

2.  It provides my Web address, and it's got "http://" in front of it.  Since almost all current email clients will turn text with "http://" into a clickable link, this makes it easier for your correspondents to connect to your site.

3.  It provides a real world mailing address and phone numbers.  Your correspondents will frequently need this, particularly in a business situation.  Having the information in your "sig" file, automatically appended to your email messages, is a handy thing.

4.  It provides a marketing message.  This may not be relevant to many of you, but marketing is important to me.  Set up your signature so that it conveys a little about your company.  I'll cover this in more detail in a future marketing tip, but suffice it to say that your email signature can and should function as a virtual business card.

5.  Don't put cute messages on your signatures unless you're going to change them frequently.  They become annoying really fast.

And finally, try to keep your signature to six or fewer lines.  There is no absolute rule, but if you have more than this, you're edging close to obnoxious advertising.  In addition, if you participate in some online forums and mail lists, they may delete any signature lines beyond five or six. 

If you're new at email, you'll also probably create a signature like this:

Jim Frazier
The Gadwall Group, Ltd.
IT and Ebusiness Strategies
Batavia, Illinois
Seminars and Training - Consulting - Publications

This betrays your newbie-ness.  Try to put a few things on the same line. 

Signatures are useful for providing important contact information for the people you communicate with on the Internet.  And they can also be effective ways of marketing.  Use them wisely.


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