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Email Signatures - Make Them Work for You

by Moshe Mikanovsky on 8/12/2010 9:03:07 AM

This article is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

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.



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Backstory: About Clint. Email EditorTwitter. Republish. ]


Related Posts:

Have You Signed My Guest Register? and Other Ideas to Build Your Mailing List

Getting Your Artwork "Out There"

Advertising - A Long Term Committment

Art Marketing: Inbound vs. Outbound


Topics: art marketing | FineArtViews 

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 21 Comments

Charlotte Herczfeld
via canvoo.com
Thank you Moshe, great advice! Once that siggy is set up, and on automatic, it is not complicated at all.

Questions: Image is a great thought (we're visual, right?), but what is an "embedded image"?
Would a pic in the siggy cause spam-filters to react?

And then the question about artists and phone numbers... might be that women artists avoid it more than men do, for a good reason. I know a 'Lisa' who put in an add for selling her lawn-mower, and out of 50 calls, only one (1!) was interested in the tool, the others were... of the 'suggestive' kind. Now, my experience from art related things is that it is quite safe to put one's telephone number in sigs and on sites, cards, etc. Very nice, as the easier it is to contact us, the better. The cell-phone is our 'office'.

Helen Horn Musser
via canvoo.com
This is a great post, Moshe, I needed to know about signatures for email; have never established that and I' going to seriously think about it. How is a signature protected from a hacker using it and sending erroneous email?

George De Chiara
via canvoo.com
Thanks Moshe for reminding me about this. I alsways forget about doing it with my email.
In addition to email signatures, you can also set them up on most forums on the web, like wet canvas. The advantage to this is the posts on the forums remain forever and so does all of your links and info.


Donna Robillard
via canvoo.com
Such helpful information! Thank you for sharing with us.

Lorraine Khachatourians
via canvoo.com
Thanks for the information re gmail changing what can go into the signature. I will change mine right away.

Moshe Mikanovsky
via canvoo.com
Thanks everyone for the comments and all the email.
I'm at the lowest place on earth right now so I can't send everyone the proper reply. I'll do it once I get to my laptop in the city.

Cheers
Moshe

Tom Weinkle
via canvoo.com
Excellent info and suggestions! Thanks

tom

Marian Fortunati
via canvoo.com
Hi Moshe..

You are sooooo right!! Those signatures are powerful.
I include a different image and my website address as part of both new and reply mail and I often have people comment on the work or inquire about purchasing. I change them every once in a while when I tire of what is there.

It's a GREAT tool that is easy to use once you've set it up.

Nancy Cupp
via canvoo.com
Shalom Moshe!
That was some great advice. I have been using signatures for a long time. I believe it has helped me generate some sales and people to my website. Well, I know it has actually.

I like using my MAC email program, because I can insert my latest artwork in the signature. I can't figure out how to do that in my yahoo mail though. Do you know if there is a way to insert art images in Yahoo's signatures?'
Nancy

Phyllis O'Shields
via canvoo.com
Thanks for the new information on GMail. One of my emails is in GMail and I did not know this... Phyllis O'Shiels

Judy Mudd
via canvoo.com
Great post, Moshe. I, too use a signature with links to my website/blog, to sign up for a newsletter, and to follow my page on Facebook. I have four or five photos of paintings lined up at the bottom on my signature. I try to change at least one of the photos every week with whatever is the latest, just to keep it fresh. It has helped and people seem to look forward to seeing the new paintings.

Carol Schmauder
via canvoo.com
I am always learning something new when I read these posts. Thanks for the info Moshe. I am certainly going to utilize this information.

Barb
via canvoo.com
I have my signature set up, but not in the depth you suggest, thanks for another great article.

Joanne Benson
via canvoo.com
Hi Moshe, I've had my signature set up for a while with blog link, etc. When I did it I couldn't figure out how to insert a picture. Perhaps I'll try again. I use outlook express so if you know how to insert a picture I'd appreciate the feedback. I've tried inserting a file but outlook wants a text file and won't take anything else. Thanks, Joanne

Moshe Mikanovsky
via canvoo.com
Hi Everyone,

I am finally back from the lowest place on earth, and have my laptop (and a wifi connection...), so I replied to everyone who sent me an email to see my signature. Thanks everyone! Believe it or not, in the begining I forgot that I even had this article schedule for Thursday, and when I got all the emails requesting my signature, I thought it was some new spam! :-)

Now, to some of your questions:

Charlotte - an Embedded Image means that you insert the image into your signature, rather than attach it to the email. That way the image will usually appear on the reader's HTML enabled email reader as part of the signature. I don't see a reason why it should cause a spam filter to flag it. After all, it is part of the email like any other part, and there is no issue with inserting images to emails....

Helen - the signature is sent out to your contacts, so the hackers won't get the info from your computer, but maybe from other's. And then, the info you will provide in the signature is one that you wish to publish, so it won't really matter. I don't see much of a risk in that...

George - great idea about setting the signature where its available, like art forums!

Nancy - I don't see a way to insert images to a Yahoo signature. They have an icon called Stationary (last one to the right), but it says "coming soon". Maybe that will do the trick...

Joanne - I will have to check it on another computer. On mine I am using MS Office Outlook (not the express), and on the signature editing area, there is a button for inserting a Picture (second from the right). I am not sure if it is the same on Outlook Express...

Cheers
Moshe

Moshe Mikanovsky
via canvoo.com
Thank you Helen,

I am off today to another part of the country (do you know where I am? or should I say "Where is Moshe?") and will be off my laptop for few days... I will reply new emails when I am back.

Cheers
Moshe

Janet
via canvoo.com
As soon as I read about email signatures, I added a new painting and current art show. Thanks...for keeping me up on ways to stay in front of my contacts!

Janet

max hulse
via canvoo.com
Moshe

You certainly opened my eyes to some new
information. I am not new on this computer
but definitely have a lot to learn, so I really enjoyed your essay on the signature.

In fact, I would appreciate it if you would
send me your signature.

Thanks

Max Hulse maxhulse.com maxhulse@msn.com

Moshe Mikanovsky
via canvoo.com
Hi Max,

I sent you an email with the signature. Hope you get it OK.

Cheers
Moshe

Moshe Mikanovsky
via canvoo.com
Hi Everyone,

Quick update:
Following Clint's strong suggestions :-) to build the newsletter list (and use it), I just added this line to my signature:

PS if you would like, I can add you to my newsletter list. Just let me know, or go to join my Newsletter

I added it before my name, and it will appear right after I say "Cheers, Moshe".
The last three words are also hyperlinked to the newsletter registration page that I have on my site (http://mikanovsky.com/newsletter.html)" target="_new" rel="NOFOLLOW">http://mikanovsky.com/newsletter.html)

So now I just need to see if this will increase registration....

Cheers
Moshe

PS.... ;-) you know the drill... you can go to http://mikanovsky.com/newsletter.html

Lauren Nash
via faso.com
An e-mail signature is extremely useful, I agree! =D A nice timesaver too.

However, I was really surprised at the length of the sample given. There's so much information that it's hard to fully look at and take in everything. People want to scan over e-mails and if they really want lots of extra information; let them click on your website link where the ”˜contact' page should be easy to access within 30 seconds. I personally don't like signatures that include every single bit of contact information at the end. (Imagine when you reply to messages and have the same default signature inserted over and over too.) It can look cluttered.

This is what my e-mail signature looks like: http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z225/tippytoes89/fab57c3b.jpg

It's my signed signature, beneath is icons representing my Facebook and Twitter. A phone number wouldn't hurt at all, but I chose not to have it in this instance. My logo is at the top and overall I think it's personal, clean, and most importantly, people can read it easily.

I do like the idea of including an artwork at the end a lot actually. Though the size of it seems a bit too large maybe? It'd be neat to have an automated image inserted at the end and it puts in one of your artworks at random.










 

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