This is probably the most basic and overlooked tool you can use to market your website. And, when done well, it can be extremely powerful. A “Sig File” is simply the signature block you use at the end of the Email messages you send to others. If you don’t have one, you should!
Most Email programs today allow you to automatically add your sig file without having to retype it each time you send an Email. Some programs, like Eudora (which, by the way, we highly recommend), allow you to create multiple profiles (called Personalities) and have multiple sig files. This is especially useful to people with more than one domain.
After you’ve created your sig file, every time you send out an Email message, you’re also sending out a marketing message. How powerful that message is, depends upon your objective and creativity in developing your sig file. But, we’ll get to that in a minute.
One of the most overlooked elements of a sig file (and I find this hard to beleive, but I see it all too often), is leaving out the URL of your web page. Since most of the mail programs today will convert a URL to a standard hyperlink within the text of the message, this is very important. However, in order for the text to be converted to a link, you must include the “http://” at the beginning of the URL. Simply putting “mydomain.com” is not sufficient. Eudora will allow you to create a hyperlink with any text so you don’t have the http:// part showing in your email. See my example, above.
Okay, now lets decide what you want to achieve with your sig file. Well, we know you want people to visit your site, but how do you get them to do that? There are lots of ways and if you’re using some of the obvious ones, like holding a contest or giving things away free, you might want your sig file to reflect that.
A lot of people tend to create a sig file and then forget about it. Try to keep your sig file current and compelling. If you are good at “ASCII Art” you may want to create a small artful figure. You can find some free ASCII Art online by searching Google. This “art” is created using the standard keyboard keys.
Here are a few guidelines you should use when creating sig files:
Keep It Short – No more than 6 lines is what the Netiquette guidelines say. However, if you’re a good ASCII Artist and it’s cute and eye-catching, you may be able to get away with more but don’t go overboard here.
Include Your Contact Info – You may want to include an Email address and phone numbers. However, most mail systems will include your Email address automaticaly in your Email. If you do include your Email address, you can make it clickable by typing:
Quotes Are Cute – A lot of people add a notable quote at the end of their sig file. I find these interesting and they sometimes give me a welcome chuckle.
Subtle Sales Line – Remember, the object of marketing with a sig file is to get them to go to your site. This is where your marketing creativity comes in. Determine something unique about your web site, products, or service and come up a good one liner.
It may take you awhile to work out a great sig file, but, once you do, it’s one more marketing strategy working for you every time you send an Email.