of the most powerful traffic and community building tools you have at
your disposal is the signature
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Your email signature file
by Jim Wilson
One of the most powerful traffic and community building tools you have at your disposal is the signature lines that appear at the end of every email you send.
There is nowhere on the Net that it is considered bad form to include a small blatant commercial for your web site or product. Many, if not most, of the discussion lists and newsgroups prohibit postings that are self-promoting in nature. You can't post an ad about yourself or your site or product. But you are always allowed to tag a sig onto any post you make and it can be very self- serving without being considered bad form.
to your web operation
What makes a good sig?
Not that mine is perfect, but let's take a look at my infamous sig file:
I've got a line to separate my sig from the body of the email and draw attention to my sig.
My name is there so that my message comes from a person, not from a company or web site. Companies and web sites don't send email.. Individuals do. My email address is right there next to my name, and it is clickable no matter where this message winds up. By having the mailto: with the address lets most email readers and browsers display it as a clickable address. Without the mailto: someone would have to cut and paste it into their email program to send me a message. This is very important when posting to a newsgroup or discussion list where the information is included in a longer message from multiple people so the reader cannot just hit Reply to reach me.
Next comes what's known as a 'tag line' in the advertising world.. This is my little commercial to make people curious enough to visit my site. Put some real thought into this line. I see lots of people waste this valuable advertising space by including some quote from some famous person. If your site is about that person, great. Otherwise, let him or her do their own promotion. You should be promoting yourself, not them.
Next comes my plug for the Gazette and finally my plug for JimWorld, which is the Personal Web Server running here on my desktop and has lots of stuff to look at and chat rooms to gather in.
to discussion groups
When I send someone an email, I don't have to take up time and space telling people how to reach my web sites. The information is in the sig. And since it is always the same, I don't have to worry about making a typing blunder and giving someone a URL that doesn't work. Imagine slaving for an hour over a beautiful post to a discussion group that really establishes you as an expert on the topic at hand, and including your URL or email address that doesn't work. You've just wasted the hour and actually done yourself some damage.
blunders to avoid
If you do nothing else this week beyond setting up your email program to send a great sig with every email you send, you will have taken a giant step forward towards improving results from your web efforts. I get email every day from people running beautifully developed sites that have major blunders in their sigs, if they even have one. This is too important to continue to be ignored.