The Signature File

by Kerch

years ago when I got my first business cards
for my first business, I thought it was
the best $20 I ever spent. It made me feel
professional and assured that whoever got
my card had all the pertinent information
about me and what I was selling. I still
think it’s the best marketing money
spent, but now even more important is your
signature at the end of your email. It’s
advertising that is allowed by all but the
strictest of email groups or message boards.
It often remains attached to your emails
even when they are passed further—and that’s marketing!

The signature file, also called a sig
file, comes after your closing on every
email—even the ones you forward
It should not be more than about seven
to ten lines long. It should contain at
least your full name with appropriate
credentials, your business name, your web
site address and your phone number
I also include my street address
and my email address
in case the body of my email is detached
from the header (the top part of an email
that includes the to/from info).

Don’t be tempted to leave
out the phone number
. In a column
on the website,
a website for journalists, one of the top
ten beefs was emailed press releases with
no contact phone numbers. You sure don’t
want to mess up a contact with the press.
You also don’t want to delay prospective
client who just prefers real conversation.
And if you want me to call you, don’t
presume I can find your number in the scraps
of paper on MY desk!

Store more than one sig file in your mail
manager (Outlook, AOL, Eudora, or what ever
program you use to view your mail). I have

  • a standard default one that includes
    everything I mentioned above,
  • one that refers to me in my role as
    VOICE editor. It includes links to organization
    website, and

  • a similar one for the official correspondence
    as editor of another publication.

I can choose to use none. But that must
be a conscious decision.

By the way, think carefully about including
a graphic as part of your signature file.
It is especially annoying for people with
whom you correspond regularly. Personally,
I don’t need 72 pictures of my sister
in my email files!

If you think you might be too big or too
busy to be bothered with a sig file, check
out the website of the Fayette
County Public Schools in Lexington, KY
They have a great technology site. You’ll
find simple instructions of how they show
kids in grade K-12 to set up sig files using
Outlook. Their list of what should be included
is a bit shorter than mine, but not much.
And their information is for little kids!

About the Author:

Kerch McConlogue, CPCC, PCC is a coach
in Baltimore, MD, US. She works with people
who have too many ideas. Find her on the
web at or contact her
by phone at (410) 233-3274.

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