Always Use Your Signature Files

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As discussed previously, signature files are a great marketing tool. Always attach your signature file to your online communication. See later in this chapter for information on signature files. Remember to be sure that the signature files are right for the intended audience.

Discerning Use of Attachments

If you are sending a fairly large amount of data, you might want to send it as an attached file to your email message. However, only include an email attachment if the recipient is expecting it. You would never consider going to someone’s
home, letting yourself in, finding your way into their living room, and then leaving your brochure on the coffee table. However, people do the online equivalent of this when they send an unsolicited attachment. The attachment is sent across the Internet to the recipient’s computer and is downloaded and stored on the computer’s hard drive. This is considered quite rude and, in most cases, is unwanted.

Also, unless the recipient of your email is aware of the file size and is expecting it, don’t send an attachment that is larger than 50K. Although your Internet connection might be a cable modem or a T1 line, and a 3 MB file is sent in seconds, the person who is receiving your message and attachment might be using an old 56 Kbps modem and a slow machine. If you send a 3 MB file, it might take the person with the 56 Kbps modem awhile to download the file. Needless to say, he or she won’t be too pleased. Yes, there are still people on dial-up.

Another factor to consider when sending an unsolicited attachment is that the attachment you are sending might be incompatible with the operating system or the software on the recipient’s system. You might be using a different platform (Mac/PC) or different operating system, and the recipient might not be able to open and read your file. Even PC to PC or Mac to Mac, the recipient might not be able to open and view the attachment if that particular program is not installed on his or her machine. Someone using an old version of Corel WordPerfect might not be able to read a Microsoft Word 2007 document sent as an attachment. Thus, you have wasted your time sending the file and the recipient’s time downloading the file.

Finally, it is a well-known fact that email attachments can act as carriers for computer viruses. Many people will not open anything with an attachment, even if it is from someone they know, unless they have specifically requested a file. You
might unknowingly send someone an attachment with a virus, and even if the file you send is virusfree, you could still receive blame if recipients find a virus on their system, just because you sent them an attachment. Basically, avoid sending email attachments of any type unless you have the recipient’s permission. Be mindful of the size of the file you intend to send, compatibility with other platforms, and computer viruses. One alternative to sending a large attachment is to post the file on a Web server, and in your email message direct users to a URL from which they can download the file.

Viruses
A software program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to files or other programs on the same computer.