23 Aug 2010

Email Signatures – Make Them Work for You

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

I recently completed the first course of my newly designed New Media courses for artists and one of the topics I taught was how to create an Email Signature and get it to work for you. While covering this topic, I realised how powerful signatures can be and how little artists know about them or utilize them. So I want to share some of this topic with you.

Many of us still consider emails to be the most common digital way to communicate with our contacts – family, friends, colleagues, business partners, and many others. Although Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Instant Messengers and other communication tools have all beaten their fair share from the electronic-mail pie, we still send, and receive, emails.

So why do so many of us neglect to use that easy and completely free tool, enabling us to promote what we do?

Here is how it works:Every email system has a way to create at least one signature, and in some applications, multiple signatures. If you use Outlook, the latter is the case. If you use a webmail, such as Yahoo mail or Gmail, you are limited to one signature. The signature is a text you write, which can include anything you want! So it’s up to you to include good information in it. Once you define the signature, it will be automatically inserted to every email you send out. Just think about the potential!

So what should I have in the signature? It is really up to you and you can change it any time, so think also about a strategy to make it work. For example – list all your contact info or list all the Internet addresses for the sites you have online presence in. Another idea is to change it on a weekly basis (or even more often) with an embedded image of your latest artwork or with a link to your latest artwork which you load to your Flickr gallery. You got the idea – the skies are the limit…

Here are some suggestions:

  • Your name or even a scanned image of your hand-signature. Make sure it’s nice and crisp.
  • Your title – don’t forget to call yourself an artist. If you won’t, who will?
  • Specialty – if applicable. Are you a portrait artist? Say it.
  • Contact information: email, phone. Why are so many artists afraid or forget to list their phone number?
  • Website address
  • Social sites addresses: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc
  • Blog address
  • Image of art – either embedded in the signature or a link to another page
  • Other links – like latest painting, art show, promotions, articles about you, join newsletter, etc

If you can, use links: Having links in your signature is much more powerful than simple text. With links people have access to your sites much faster. There are two types of links you can include:

1.       Web addresses – just copy and paste the address of the site or page where you want to direct your reader. For example, if I want to direct mail receivers to my blog, I can add this line:
Visit my blog: www.mikanovsky.com/blog

2.       Anchors – these are more friendly links. You write any text you want, and use Hyperlink, or “warp” it with the web address so that the user can click on your text to open the web address. So in this case, my direction to my website will look like:

Visit my blog

Now, the weirdest thing happened while I was writing this post. Until very recently (last time I checked was 2 weeks ago), Gmail didn’t support HTML enabled signature. That means that if you had a Gmail account, you could use plain text for the signature, but could not make any of your words clickable or embed images in the signature. So I researched and found few ways around it to include in this article, but then I decided to open my Gmail account (which I rarely use), and look again at the Signature setting.  To my surprise, it is now supporting HTML signatures! That was a big issue that many many users complained about and they finally fixed it, which is a good thing.

Now for the important part…where do I setup my signature? Here are some directions for Outlook, Yahoo mail and Gmail. If you use another email system and have a problem finding it, try to check the settings or options areas, search in the help files, or let me know…I might be able to help.

Outlook: In the Menu, go to Tools and choose Options. Select the Mail Format tab and click on the Signatures… button. Here you can setup your Email Signatures. Add a new signature, name it, and put your text and links in the Edit Signature area. Once you have created your signature, choose it as the default signature for your New Messages and Replied/Forwards.

Yahoo email: Choose Options (in the top-right corner of the page) and then More Options from the drop down list. Select Signature from the list on the left and create your signature text on the right. You can turn on and off your signature for all outgoing emails. Don’t forget to save your changes.

Gmail: Choose Settings (top-right corner of the page). In the General settings, scroll down until you see the Signature area. Create your signature text in the designated area. Save your changes.

OK, so what is the bottom line? It is very simple – you use emails every day. You’ve got an audience. Use it to promote what you do.

Cheers

Moshe

PS If I bored you too much with things you already know or are too technical for you, I apologize. But if you got to read this message, that is probably a good sign, right?

PSS if you want to see an example of my signature, just send me an email with the subject “Show me your signature” and I will reply with my signature.

This article was published on FineArtView blog on August 12, 2010

Are you interested in learning about my courses of New Media for Artists? Contact me for more details.

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2 Responses to “Email Signatures – Make Them Work for You”

  1. In a webinar I listened to, the presenter said that anchor links are great everywhere else but in email. He said they were sometimes unclickable for the recipient and to stick to the actual web addresses in your signature. So I’m a bit confused! Now this was a a couple of years ago – do I assume that things have improved sufficiently to make it ‘safe’ to use anchors in email? I do prefer them but have been playing it safe and not using anchors in my signature.

     

    Deborah Younglao

  2. Hi Deborah,

    This is true, for some emails systems. If the recipient get the email in HTML format, then the anchors will be clickable. But if the email is recieved in plain text, then they are not. It is hard to know who will get in which format, and also sometimes the same system will show some emails in HTML and others in plain text…. Saying that, it is a wise advise to include some of the URLs in the open and rather than anchors.

    In my own signature, I put my main addresses in the open, such as my website, blog and Facebook page.
    Other links I do use anchors, and yes, some people won’t be able to use them… but at least they have my main addresses.

    Cheers
    Moshe

     

    Moshe Mikanovsky

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