How to increase your leads with auto signatures

By Jim James,
Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

Something that people should start paying attention to are auto signatures and the power of the emails being sent and received everyday that most don’t necessarily take advantage of or even open. On average, 294 billion emails are sent every day across the world, and it is said that people get about 130 emails every day and send about the same amount. When you add that all up, that’s over 23,000 emails that a person will send or receive during the course of a year, and that’s a potential opportunity for direct marketing and free PR. The auto signature in emails is something that can be created for free and something most people don’t have, making it hard to reach out to them. 

What to include in your auto signature

Social media profiles can also be included in auto signatures. It’s helpful to include a link to a LinkedIn profile, since that displays a lot of information about you or the company. If you’ve got a product to sell and have a particular strapline, you can include those as well. There’s one view which is not to include your email address in the email signature, because it’s a bit like sending an envelope with your address on the front, a duplication. The other thing that you can do is to include an image in the email. Thanks to this pandemic, opportunities to meet are slim. Partners, suppliers, or prospects may have no idea who you are, but at least with an image, they get an idea of the person sending them the email. Research done by Stanford University shows that the most memorable photographs are colored photographs of people, so it doesn’t have to be your logo necessarily; it could be an image of you.

There are a number of different footers that you might want to include. One might be a legal and confidentiality footer. That may not be relevant for every email, which is why having multiple email footers could be a good idea too. It’s understandable why law firms and listed companies always have these long and legal entity footers. It could actually also just be a link to an online footer if you want to make it a little less obnoxious. You can have the GDPR-compliant footers which are available online, and these are useful especially if you’re doing a lot of email marketing. You can have a security or virus disclaimer. You can have a social media button or multiple buttons, which is a great way of getting people to know that you’re connected online without listing them all there. They’ll just have to click on it, and it’ll take them to the corresponding site. There are also the marketing email footers, which can include a call to action, for instance, "If you like this, click here to get more information or to download this product." You can include a Calendly link in your footer if you want people to book meetings with you. There’s also the unsubscribe link, and it would be better to make this button obvious, as it’ll give more accurate numbers as well to the number of people who are actually interested in what you’re sending. 

Finally, two requirements for emails are TLS and SSL encryption. Transport Layer Security or TLS setting is the trusted setting for emails, because not all emails come from a domain which has this trusted encryption, which you can verify by going to CheckTLS. If your email doesn’t have this standard TLS encrption, it will most likely end up in spam. SSL or Secure Socket Layer encryption, if you have your own domain name  with GoDaddy, is worth double-checking, because in some cases, one actually has to verify the domain name in order for it to have the encryption. If you haven’t gone through that step and you’re wondering why emails are not getting received, it’s not because your auto signature isn’t good, it’s not because people don’t want to hear from you, but because they’re simply not getting your emails.

Is one auto signature enough? Does grammar matter?

It helps to have at least two different auto signatures, one which includes a photograph for when you’re sending an email to people you’ve never met and whom you’re writing to for the first time, and one without the photograph for people you know well and correspond with regularly. The point is that auto signatures, which are in the footnotes of all emails are an amazing resource for PR work, and they’re entirely free. Remember, some 23,000 emails get sent by you, not to mention emails from direct mail campaigns.

Interestingly enough, the same research from Stanford found that the impact of misspelled emails is not that great if the phrase, "Sent from my phone," is included in the email. You may be forgiven for that, although ideally, one would use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, because the same research found that the sender was considered to be credible if the grammar, spelling, and punctuation were all correct. If you’re in a business like public relations and you’re sending emails with text that is grammatically incorrect, no one’s going to trust you, because they might assume that you will do the same when you correspond on their behalf. Fortunately, there are plugins like Grammarly that will double-check  the tone of your email signature, the email itself, and also the grammar. Grammarly, by the way, also works when creating tweets, posts on LinkedIn, and posts on other social media websites, because it’s browser-based.

Check out these platforms that will create auto signatures for you

When pitching to the media or to a customer, the body of the email is important, but so is the auto signature. There are a number of different filters that can be included in the email as well as a number of tools. One is Yesware, which creates auto signatures that state one’s name, title, company, link to the website, and phone number, since being able to contact or reach someone easily can attract more people to the business or service. Another option is Newoldstamp, and this creates unique and interesting colors and formats for your auto signatures which work to increase your visibility by incorporating a photograph and social buttons. It’s almost like an Instagram style feed, and they have 11 email signature templates you can choose from. 

WiseStamp is a platform that creates auto signatures, and they have 1.2 million professional users. In their research, they claim that using a professional auto signature, which includes a picture of yourself, your name, your job title, your phone number, and a link to your website or LinkedIn account, plus icons to your social media, will get you 32% more replies, a 10% increase in social reach, and a 15% increase in leads. That translates to 22% more clients. HTMLsig is another platform which, again, allows the creation of auto signatures that includes one’s name, phone number, and LinkedIn profile, and so on, and it’ll auto generate for you a graphic. You can also create signatures on your mail platform itself, as Outlook enables that. iOS enables that on the iPhone, the iPad, and the desktop too, however, integrating pictures or links are slightly more time-consuming as it can’t simply be cut and pasted.

Why emails are the best free PR strategy you need to maximise

With the transition to an era of automation, studies by Yesware and Stanford show that site visitors come to make purchases and that website visits from emails are up to 4% more likely to make a purchase than those from search engines. In other words, sending out emails to people means you’ve got their email address, and assuming it’s by valid means, you’re a trusted correspondent already, and the email, be it a general or personalised email with a specific intent, can lead to a transaction. 

All the elements within the email auto signature are there to serve a purpose, so identify that. What is the goal of the email that you’re sending out? Is it to inform someone? Is it to enable them to avail of a product or service? Is it to help them make an appointment? Is it to correspond with other people on your behalf?

Email signatures and auto signatures, as seen from the WiseStamp research, can lead to a 15% increase in leads and a 32% increase in replies. What to avoid is getting another 30 emails, because that becomes 30 more emails to sort though. Another suggestion would be to automate a response which says, "Thank you for responding. Please visit my website to get this offer, to get this download, to buy with this purchase discount." Clearly, email management is very important. Some people don’t want to spend money on public relations where they can’t see a direct result, so hopefully, these free tips and tools can help other business owners get noticed without spending a lot of money. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and a little bit of ingenuity.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo by Krsto Jevtic on Unsplash

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