Creating a Great Signature File
by Cathy Wagner
You’ve heard the term, but what exactly is a signature file and why do you need one?
A signature file is how you sign your online correspondence and it’s the equivalent of your online business card. It not only identifies you, but your business as well. It helps to build your brand and keep your products in the minds of your prospects.
Ok. To put it in plainly, think of it this way. You might interact with your contacts and online acquaintances regularly, but you’re a social person and it’s only a small percentage of your conversations that really revolve around your business. You don’t use a signature file, you’ve never really thought about it…until you find one of your best contacts just bought the same kind of products you’re selling from a competitor! Not only that, she is very sorry and hopes she didn’t hurt your feelings, but she didn’t know you sold what she wanted!
I’ve seen this happen many times and it could easily have been avoided with a simple signature file. Your signature file could have served to remind her that YOU sell just what she was looking for and, if you had been using one, you would have made the sale.
This is What is Meant by “Building Your Brand”
As a business owner, you want your business to become associated with the products you sell. Ideally you want to build that name until it is synonymous with the types of products and/or services you provide.
It’s never too early to build your brand. Some people think, “Oh, I am just starting out, I don’t have to worry about building my brand just yet,” but it’s not true. The truth is you build your brand with everything you do in relation to your business. When you create a web site, design business cards, write copy, follow up with prospects, make a sale, or handle a difficult customer, you build your brand for good or ill. You absolutely want to put your best foot forward!
So, How Do You Create a Winning Signature File?
Typically, a signature file is composed of five parts:
USP (Unique Sales Proposition)
1. The closing should be something friendly that, if possible, relates to your product. Someone who sells nutritional supplements might like “To your health!” as a closing.
2. This is pretty self explanatory. For all business correspondence, state your full name. If it’s a casual enough message that you feel comfortable using a nickname, then you probably don’t need a signature file, but even with your closest contacts, it’s a good idea to use one regularly.
3. This might seem self explanatory, but some people have difficulty with it. Of course you’re not going to write “Supplement Salesman,” you’ll want to be more creative. Perhaps “Natural Health Educator” or “Herbal Consultant.” These kinds of titles help to convey the benefit others will get from working with you.
4. Writing a USP (or Unique Sale Proposition) can be the most difficult part for some people. Your USP is meant to reach out to your perfect customers and let them know exactly what they will get from your product or service. It’s made up of three parts:
– A word ending with ing, this can be something like providing, supplying, teaching, offering, etc.
– Your perfect customer, summed up in two or three words.
– The highest benefit of what you offer in four words or less. Not a feature, but the end result of taking you up on your offer.
example: Teaching health conscious women how to lose weight naturally.
5. URL is simply the URL for your web site. Be sure to spell it all out including the http:// part. This increases the chances that your link will be clickable from your prospect’s mailbox.
All Together it Looks Like This:
To your health!
Teaching health conscious women how to
lose weight naturally.
It’s not an ad, but it tells very clearly who Jane is and what she does. If the reader is at all unsure about how they know Jane, this signature file will jog their memory easily without being pushy. If they have any interest in weight loss products, they will realize that their friend/contact offers just what they are looking for. The reader may even remember, after seeing the same signature over and over, to tell a friend who is looking for this kind of product that they know just where to get it!
Resist the Urge to Make Your Signature File Too Long With Multiple URL’s
If you have several offers, create signature files for each and use them individually where appropriate. For example, if you’re talking about health you might want to use the example above, but if you’re talking about business, you might want to direct people to a more business oriented site. Or, if your offers are related, consider creating your own web site that links to all of them so you can promote them all with just one URL.
Use a P.S. to Let Prospects Know About Special Offers or Promotions
I recommend using the same signature file(s) consistently. It conveys stability and success with your endeavor. But there will be times when you want to highlight something special that’s going on with your business. These are perfect times to use a P.S.
A postscript stands out to readers as important info and most will at least glance at them. Keep it short and make it compelling to inspire action. Like this:
P.S. Free Shipping on all orders during the month of October! http://www.janessite.com/promo.htm
(If you have a special page that talks directly about your promotion, be sure to include the URL here so prospects don’t have to look for it on their own.)
Copy and Paste
Once you’ve created a signature file (and doubled checked it for accuracy) save it somewhere that gives you easy access. Whenever you need it, simply copy and paste it into your message. This saves time and reduces your risk of typos.
About the Author – Cathy Wagner, owner of ONE STOP Internet Business Services,is a writer/author, webmaster, and online business consultant. Her articles and business advice have been published all over the Internet. She personally helps a wide variety of online business people sell their products and services more effectively and she’s earned an excellent reputation as an honest and knowledgeable expert in her field who is truly committed to helping others.
*This article is freely available for reprint provided the resource box is included intact.