You're probably familiar with e-mail signature (or "sig") files – they're few lines of contact information that many of us put at bottom of every e-mail we send. Most e-mail software programs allow you to create and use sig files — even newer versions of AOL.
I've heard some people who don't use sig files defend their position by saying, "All my clients know my info – I don't need to remind them with every e-mail." Stop! You're missing a perfect opportunity to promote your business, as well as do your clients and prospects a favor.
When you think about how many e-mails you actually send a day, it's probably more than you realized! Some people send over 100 a day. That's a lot of mail — and a lot of chances to slip in your own subtle marketing messages.
**Sig Files Put You at Their Fingertips** People love it when you make information easy to find. Sure, your clients have your phone number somewhere, but they'll really appreciate it when they can grab your number right from an e-mail they're looking at.
In fact, e-mail is such a part of our lives now,that if someone needs your phone number quickly, she may be more likely to grab it off your latest e-mail than to dig up your business card. (Don't underestimate this occurrence – there are many disorganized people in world!)
Also, if people want to put your info into their contact management software (Outlook, ACT, Palm, etc.), they can simply copy and paste it right from your sig file.
**Good Sig Files Tell Strangers What You Do** When you e-mail people who aren't familiar with your business, your sig file can act as a subtle sales pitch. As a co-chair for NY Women in Communications Inc. (WICI), I book speakers for our monthly cocktail events. I conduct most of this work via e-mail. Now, these people only know me as a representative of WICI; they have no idea what I do for a living. But one woman, after spotting my sig file, promptly wanted to learn more about my services. This prospect would never have learned what I do unless it was clear in my sig file!
**Sig Files Are Ready to Travel** E-mails are forwarded all time. You never know where yours may end up, and one of recipients may be very interested in your service or product. I learned this when I got a call from a prospect in Israel. A colleague of hers here in U.S. had forwarded him an interesting issue of my e-newsletter. He learned about my services and got my phone number from sig file at bottom.
**Sig Files Are a Great Promotional Tool** Now, let's move beyond obvious stuff. Think of your sig file as a little messenger who speaks to everyone you send an e-mail to. What do you want him to say? Do you have great news? A new product or service? A free newsletter or report? Let us know via your sig file!
--Your Sig File Checklist-- Here are several items to consider putting into your sig file. CAUTION: Do not attempt to insert them all! Choose what's most important for you and your business. - your name and title - your company name - your company tagline, or a short phrase that describes what your company does - your address - your phone, cell phone, and/or pager numbers - your fax number - your e-mail address (sometimes people can't get it directly or quickly from your actual e-mail) - your Web URL (be sure to include "http://" prefix to ensure it will translate as a hyperlink on most e-mail programs)