Now, before you start thinking I’m going to write about undertaking mass e-mail campaigns, I just want to make it clear that I’m not going to tell you how to spam every business or consumer in your area. What I will talk about though, is utilizing your Signature File (sig file) and the Auto-responder function to help market your products and/or services to clients and customers.
The Signature File
I’m sure everyone has received numerous e-mails with signature files – you know, the e-mails that have extra bits of information included at the bottom along with the contact’s personal information. Most people use the signature file to easily and automatically include their name, title, and company at the bottom of every e-mail that they send. What these people don’t realize is that this file is a free and easy way to market their business.
If you would like to keep your signature file professional, you should at the very least, include your business’s website address below the rest of your contact information. It’s smart to take this one step further and add a little “teaser” below your address to entice people to click on it. For instance, since my business’s selling feature is price, below my web address, I usually include: “Custom Business Websites only $499”. The goal is to keep it short, but as effective as possible. It reminds prospective clients that my services are professional, but also inexpensive.
Another good idea is to create two different signature files – one for current clients, and another for prospective clients. Your prospective clients can receive the signature file that includes general information about your main product(s) and service(s), but current clients could receive a different signature file that promotes a complementary product or service. For instance, with my current clients, I include a signature file with the sentence below my website address, stating: “Get Top Search Engine Rankings”. This is a non-intrusive way to market my Search Engine Optimization service to current clients without pressuring them.
You can also include product or service information in the signature file – not just generic information regarding your business. If you’re looking to market a particular product or service, include a line touting the benefits that product or service will provide. For example, if you have a financial services business, don’t just let your readers know you sell mutual funds or insurance, talk about how they can retire rich or be financially secure and not have to worry about money, etc. The goal is to interest the reader enough so that they will click on the link.
You’re not just restricted to text with your signature file; you also have the ability to include a picture. Just be sure that the image isn’t so large that it takes away from the rest of your e-mail because that’s not how signature files are supposed to be used. However you decide to approach this idea, just if you are marketing a specific product or service, be sure to include a direct link to that product or service, and not just a link to your business’s main page.
Want to give your customers or clients the impression of superb customer service? You can do this by setting up an auto-responder. An auto-responder is a feature included in your web host’s e-mail service that allows you to automatically send a pre-written response any time someone sends you an e-mail. At the very least, any time someone sends your business an e-mail, you can have an auto-responder send a reply indicating that you have received their e-mail and that they can expect a response within 48hrs. If your website contains a frequently asked questions page (FAQ), you could provide a link to that page in your automated reply to help improve your customer service.
As with the Signature File, you can also take advantage of auto-responders to help market your products. Maybe a potential or current client / customer isn’t aware of your complete product or service line. Don’t be afraid to include a listing of everything your business has to offer.
If your business offers an e-mail based newsletter, you can set your auto-responder to immediately send the latest edition to the subscriber. This method is much more professional than making your subscriber wait until you can send the newsletter manually.
When used properly, signature files and auto-responders can be a free and effective way to market your business. You should be advertising your products and services every time you send an e-mail. It is the next best thing aside from have a website to automatically generate sales. If you haven’t utilized these two neglected gems already, what are you waiting for?