KDB Business Services- Business Reviews and Tips

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Signatures. Do you use one on your emails? I do. They are a great way to introduce yourself and your business to people when you correspond with them via emails. Here is an article that will help you to set one up if you don't already have one.

Turn Your Email Sign-Off Into Results: Seven-Step Checklist for Success
Copyright 2005 Kathy Gulrich

Okie dokie. The basics. What exactly is an email sign-off?

Your sign-off is the part of your email -- with your name,
company, phone, etc. -- that comes right after your text
message.

To be honest, I find most email sign-offs pretty boring.
(And I find some of them pretty annoying!)

Most often, however, I see lost opportunities.

In this article, we'll be taking a look at how just a few
simple changes to your email signature can make a BIG
difference to your business.

Let's explore....


1 - NO SIGN-OFF, NO RESULTS

I think it's incredible -- since most of the emails I get
are from coaches and small business owners -- but I get at
least a couple of emails a day with absolutely no sign-off
at all.

That's right. No company name, and no contact information.
Emails sometimes even arrive without the sender's last
name!

This is not only a waste of a perfect marketing
opportunity, it's pretty bad business. There's nothing
professional about a business email without basic business
information.


2 - START WITH THE BASICS

Every email you send out should include basic information
about you and your company:

* Your name (first and last)
* Company Name
* Business phone
* Email address

Tip: Why include your email address here, when the reader
can see it at the top of the email? Simply because it's
easier for the reader to have all of your contact
information in one place -- especially if he decides to add
it to his address book or contact manager.

A basic email signature might also include:

* Your title or business designation
* Company logo and/or tag line
* Your photo
* Fax and/or cell phone number
* Website address

Tip: If you include any graphics (photo, logo, etc.) be
sure to use small files that will download quickly and
easily for the reader. (For me, any file I need to wait
for falls into that 'annoying' category.)


3 - WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?

Here's the deal. Your email signature is the perfect place
to include information about your business, your products,
or your services. Why?

* You're writing -- or responding -- to someone you know is
already interested in you, or your business
* You know your message will be seen
* Email is a natural place to describe something new, or
interesting
* It's totally non-intrusive
* It's easy
* It doesn't cost you a thing!

So, take a minute to think about something about your
business -- or your products -- that you'd like to tell
people about. For example:

* Your upcoming workshop, seminar, or teleclasses
* Your book or audio product
* An improvement you've made to an existing product or
program
* New business location, or expanded business hours
* Your new website

Choose one of these ideas now, and take it through the next
few steps in this article....


4 - WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM?

To illustrate, let's say you decide to use your email
signature to tell people about an upcoming teleclass.

I can imagine several answers to the question, "What's in
it for you?"

* new business leads
* 'live' interaction with solid business prospects
* revenue (if you're charging a fee for the class)
* opportunity to introduce participants to your other
products and services
* getting your name out into the business community
* opportunity to shine as an expert in your field
* word-of-mouth advertising from your teleclass participants

If you'd like your email signature to attract new clients
-- and sales -- be sure to focus on "What's in it for THEM?"

Going back to the teleclass example, what will participants
get out of it? (information, fun, interaction, difficult
to find facts or tips, a plan/strategy, etc.)

What problem do they have that this teleclass will help
resolve? Where are they struggling? (stress, frustration,
ill health, isolation, financial troubles, need more
clients, lack of confidence, etc.)

Jot down at least two benefits your reader will get from
your product. And then write a sentence or two that simply
tells them this -- and shows them how to order or sign up
(live links, please!).

Add your contact information, and you've got a powerful
email signature!

Tip: To improve your results, add an offer -- or a reason
for the reader to take action NOW.


5 - SHORT AND SWEET

Remember I said that email signatures are totally
non-intrusive? I was describing clear, concise,
well-written email signatures; yours, I hope!

Take a quick peek into your email "Sent" box. If you're
anything like me, most emails you send out are 10-20 lines
long. Many are probably only 2-3 lines.

Don't write an email signature that's longer than most of
your emails!

I'm a member of several email list-serves (coaching,
writing, publishing) and not suprisingly, every one of them
has rules about email signatures. The maximum 'suggested'
length is between 7-8 lines.

Use this length recommendation as a guide when developing
yours. Think 3-4 lines to get your marketing message
across, and 3-4 lines for your basic contact information.
That's all you need.


6 - THE TECH OF IT ALL

Okay, one question that often pops up is whether to use a
"text only" or "html" email sign-off (often called
'signature' in your mail program).

In my mind, that totally depends on your audience.

If you work with a fairly tech-savvy group of people, and
would like to add the graphics and formatting that are
possible with html, go for it. For some audiences,
however, html is a mistake -- since it'll show up as an
unreadable mass of code if they don't have the software to
decode it properly.

Not sure? Stick to simple text email messages and
sign-offs.

In the past couple of years, email signatures have become
incredibly simple to do (technically, that is!). Here's
where to find basic instructions from two of the most
popular email programs:

Outlook: Tools > Options > Mail Format > Signatures
AOL: Mail > Set Mail Signatures > Create

For other mail programs, check the Help menu, or write to
customer support. These days, virtually every ISP will has
a way for you to add an email signature -- with or without
a marketing message -- quickly and easily.

Tip: Take a minute or two right now to write a new email
signature, and get it into your email account.


7 - KEEP 'EM FRESH

Ever have this experience: You drive past the same
billboard day after day, and after while, you literally
don't see it at all?

The same holds true for email sign-offs. After several
emails with the same sign-off, your readers won't 'see' it
any more. So write several sign-offs -- for the same
product, or for different products or programs -- to keep
them fresh and new.

Each time you write one, ask yourself:

* Does it meet your marketing objective? (What's in it for
you?)
* Does it offer a real benefit to your reader? (What's in
it for them?)
* Is it clear and concise? (7-8 lines, including your
contact information)

Use these three questions as guidelines, and you'll be well
on your way to creating email sign-offs that'll attract
customers -- and increase sales.


----------------------------------------------------
Best-selling author Kathy Gulrich helps clients get from
idea, to action, to results - more quickly, and more easily
- whether they're looking to write a book, develop a new
product, or market their product or business. Clients love
her direct, no-nonsense approach - and her gentle
insistence on great results. Find out for yourself: Check
out one of Kathy's teleclasses, or pick up a free
worksheet, at http://www.smARTbusinessCoaching.com

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