Much is written about subject lines for e-mail marketing communication. An effective e-mail campaign starts with a snappy subject line that motivates the recipient to open the e-mail. Without that first step the e-mail gets the delete key and it is all over. Yet, the way your e-mail signature looks may be equally important since it assists the reader with the call to action, whether it is to call you directly, to e-mail you back, or to visit your website.

Your e-mail signature says a lot about your brand. Of course, the basics should be there including your full name, title, company name, mail address, office phone, fax, and website. Consider this list as the minimum requirements.

Adding your cell phone is personal choice that needs to be considered. Adding your cell phone to your signature sends a message that you are available and ready to do business; this is an important and not so subtle message that a sales person might want to communicate. On the other hand, do you really want to receive cell phone calls from your clients as you are boarding a plane or when you are having lunch with another client? Caller ID may allow you to screen your calls, but if you answer the cell phone call, you had better give the caller your full attention or this could backfire on you. Nothing is ruder than a preoccupied caller on the other end of the line. It is for this reason that I believe that the cell phone number in the e-mail signature is not appropriate for everyone.

Other contact information could include the trendy alternatives such as your Skype phone number, your Squidoo Lens address, your MySpace address or your blog URL. These trendy addresses and phone numbers send a message that you are technology savvy and hip. But, if you advertise them as contact information be sure to check them. Someone just might send a message on MySpace and it might be important.

One way to make your e-mail signature unique and memorable is to include a personal tagline or marketing mantra. I fully support the use of a tagline or mantra that tells the reader why you are different. It should be no more than three to five words and it should tell your customers why you are special. My mantra is “Be First, Best, or Different” and it appears at the top of my e-mail signature.

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield” – Warren Buffett, investor and billionaire.

Famous quotations can be powerful, funny, inspiring, or thoughtful. Choose the quote carefully since it will communicate a lot about you and your brand. A former sales rep of mine carefully selected a quotation each week for his e-mail signature; frankly, I enjoyed this addition to his e-mails and I looked forward to the new quote each week. It made the rep memorable and different which is good thing. A word of caution needs to be said since the wrong quote could make you look silly or could offend the reader. Beware of sarcasm or double meanings or any kind of sexual innuendo.

For some business people a short bio can be an appropriate addition to the e-mail signature. I recommend no more than 50 carefully chosen words that communicate what you are all about. For example, I use a bio that reads “John Bradley Jackson has over twenty-five years of sales and marketing experience from Silicon Valley and Wall Street. He is the author of the new book “First, Best, or Different: What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Niche Marketing” and has written over 100 Internet articles on sales, marketing, and negotiation.” (Note to self: mine is actually 52 words and is a mouthful; maybe I should work on this a bit).

In closing (pun intended), be sure to choose your e-mail signature carefully since this is a statement about you and your brand. And, it helps people contact you.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.

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  1. How do you feel about those “This e-mail, including any attachments, contains information that is…..” at the end of messages?

  2. Rob,

    Those comments are “lawyer speak” and remind us to be careful about what we put in writing. A good rule of thumb is to write only what you feel comfortable with when and if it appears on the front page of the NY Times.

    A lawyer friend of mine gave me some advice: when in doubt, don’t put it in writing.


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