3 Ways To Use Your Email Signature to Market Yourself

March 15th, 2010 | Shonali Burke | 18 Comments

Note: this is cross-posted from IMA Voices, a client blog to which I occasionally (and with full disclosure) contribute. It’s re-posted here with minor changes to make it relevant to PR professionals.

Remember how, in the “old” days, folks would “call on” others and, if they weren’t at home, they’d leave their calling card behind?

I haven’t been able to find an academic reference to it, but it makes sense that the modern-day practice of exchanging business cards stems from there. And even in this highly electronic day and age, there’s still room for business cards, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

But are you maximizing the use of your most basic calling card? And that’s nothing more than your email signature.

We all suffer from email overload – I’ve long since stopped counting how many emails I get in a day. Even when I’m not working or on vacation, I use my BlackBerry to delete unnecessary emails from my inbox, in an effort to keep on top of the traffic (sigh, it never stops!).

But I also know that when I send an email out, it’s a unique way to remind others of what I do, particular affiliations I have and things that are important to me.

Here are three tips to maximize your email signature as a marketing tool:

1. Proclaim yourself.

You normally include your contact information in your e-signature, right? Why not include hyperlinks to all the relevant data you think people should have access to? For example, these could be your website, blog or Twitter handle.

Job hunting? Make sure you include a link to your updated LinkedIn profile or VisualCV. Do you have a business to promote? How about linking to your Etsy site or another storefront?

If it’s in your signature, it’s right there for the recipients to click through to, yet you’re not hitting them over the head with it.

2. Add a visual touch.

Go one step further and add some visual pizazz to your e-signature; and a terrific way of doing this is by using a program such as WiseStamp.

What’s cool about this is that you can actually embed the hyperlinks rather than simply include them, and you can also include select social profiles such as Twitter, SlideShare, etc. at the bottom of your signature. For example, here’s mine:

3. Put a shortening service to work for you.

Working on a special promotion? Use a URL-shortening service such as tr.im, bit.ly, ow.ly (or several others) to draw attention to it just above your signature block. For example, I used this as a way to raise funds around my birthday: “Why I’d like you to know how old I am: http://tr.im/K6Yi.”

Granted, it’s not often that a woman is proclaiming her age for all and sundry to hear, but if you use short but sweet copy and a dedicated URL, it’s an easy way to add to your marketing mix with almost no effort.

What other ways do you use your e-signature “real estate” to market yourself? Please share by leaving a comment below.

Image: Rich Bowen, Creative Commons

Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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This is so important for any solopreneur or small business owner, not just PR folks. I am amazed at how few use a signature at all and just waste the opportunity to remind others of your work. Rope them in, make your connections more real -- and improve your business and job search opps today. Thanks, Shonali, great post! Glad you mention a tag line from your mobile as well - another missed opp for many.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

The fallacy of a multi-line email signature is it takes up a lot of screen on mobile devices. If the recipient is using a computer, great. If anything else, it overwhelms the recipient.

My current signature is one line and very short.

Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR
Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR

It amazes me how many people and companies do not take advantage of this simple and effective way to market. I know I always look at the email signatures and often will visit the links. And I know I'm not the only one.

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Great suggestions. People often overlook their e-mail signatures as a simple yet effective marketing tool, so reminders like this post are always good! I hadn't heard of WiseStamp before, so thanks for sharing.

Mike Schaffer
Mike Schaffer

Great tips! I'll be incorporating all of these moving forward!

Sunaina Bhatnagar
Sunaina Bhatnagar

Hi Sonali,
These are wonderful tips. Communicators are always looking for options to brand themselves, and yet we often overlook the most obvious choices. Thank you for the WiseStamp tip. I will certainly add some visual pizazz to future e-mails. :)
My Best,
Communications Specialist and
Georgetown University Graduate

Sam Title
Sam Title

Thanks for this post Shonali!

I hated the fact that I couldn't create a slicker email signature in Gmail. I downloaded WiseStamp and stuck it to the G-man!

Great post! Kudos!


Shonali moderator

@Ari Herzog I think you could call that a potential "con," (as in pro/con), but not a fallacy, Ari. True, they may take up space on a mobile device - assuming you mean handhelds - but they also provide useful information. Each person will have to weigh the risks/benefits for themselves.

One way to combat that, though, would be set up the e-sig so that it doesn't include all the "stuff" after the initial email, and not on replies or forwards either. That's how mine is set up, and I also have a completely different signature set up when sending email from my BlackBerry.

On another note, I believe this is the first time you've commented on my blog. Thank you!

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

You're most welcome, thanks for stopping by!

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

You're very welcome. :) Yes, WiseStamp does make Gmail much snazzier, doesn't it?


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    This post was mentioned on Friendfeed by shonali: New post, how to use your email signature to market yourself. Whadja think? I’d love your additional tips & comments: http://ow.ly/1l302