Mobile devices are everywhere. How many of us remain glued to our respective screens – phone, tablet or laptop – regardless of where we are? As I went into the elevator yesterday leaving the office, I noticed three of four of us were glued to our small screens, rather than talking to each other. Sadly, I was one of them.
Device overload has affected us, with one result being our manners having become worse. One place where this is prevalent is in our signature lines. I received a happy belated 50th birthday the other day from “Sent from iPad.”
What does that communicate? It screams, “I don’t have the time to even sign your Happy Birthday note because I’m too busy.” Doesn’t that defeat the point of sending it in the first place – to make someone feel special?
As marketers, the signature line should be sacrosanct. Imagine if you have 100 employees a day and they each send out 30 emails a day… that is 3,000 messages associated with your brand or organization. What do they say? Is your name or branding treated correctly? Are you using that opportunity to market something, like an upcoming conference? Do you have a link to a landing page for feedback or other connection to your company?
For many companies, the email signature has become the wild-wild west of marketing. IT may setup each computer, but sadly employees tailor it and not for the better. Even worse, employees tailor their mobile devices’ email signatures with something silly, or don’t tailor them and “Sent from iPad” becomes the signature line. Most importantly, employees rarely update Outlook or mobile signatures to reflect the latest important item we need to market.
The signature says a lot about the person, which is important even for business emails, because people do business with people. For example, a friend of mine signs his emails (even business ones) with the word “Love,” relating to his Christian faith and his belief in the (agape) love we show for each other. I sign mine, “At your service,” to let clients and employees know I am at their service, and to remind me to act as a servant leader. Because the word, serve, comes from the Greek word, diakonia, (“deacon”), the signature line is meant to drive home a significant meaning to me (a Deacon at church) and my recipients.
The signature line also says a great deal about one’s company. Are your email signatures filled with two paragraphs of legal disclaimers for every email you send? Are you promoting your company? Is your email signature friendly and legible? All of it communicates something.
Luckily, there are organizations that provide a tool to manage email signatures centrally. One such company, aptly named eMailSignature (www.emailsignature.com), provides a solution to update hundreds or thousands of email signatures of employees by employee role, etc. And, they can be changed throughout the year, enabling marketing to update them centrally to improve brand and engage customers.
eMailSignature asks on their website, “What does your email signature say about your brand?” They’re dead-on, but I would also add, “What does it say about you?” Nobody cares if it was sent from an iPad or Droid – but most likely, they definitely care about you!