Some businesses and organizations develop different signature files to use with different groups of recipients. It is a good idea to use a different sig file for each different group you are targeting—one that is appropriate for that group. It is also important to update the tag line in your sig file often to reflect current marketing-related information.
Some email programs allow sig files with a maximum of 80 characters per line. No matter what program you are using, you should design your sig file to fit well within the limits of all programs. To ensure that your sig file will be viewed just as you have designed it, a good rule of thumb is to use no more than 65 characters per line. Sometimes people open and view their email in a small window and not the full screen. To help ensure that what you have on one line in your sig file appears on one line (and not two) in your viewer’s browser, the fewer characters used the better. See Figure 9.1 for more suggestions on signature files.
Some businesses and organizations get really innovative in the design of their sig files by including sketches, designs, or logos developed by combining keyboard numbers and punctuation. Including graphics, icons, or sketches in your sig file that are developed with numbers and punctuation is not a good idea. It might look quite nice on your screen, but when you send it to another person who has a different email program or is using a different screen resolution, it could look quite different on their monitor.
On the other hand, professionally designed graphics can really reinforce your brand and your identity. Remember: people do business with people they know and trust.
The use of sig files offers a number of benefits to your company. If you use sig files appropriately, you promote your company and your online presence in the following ways:
- The use of sig files increases your company’s online exposure. By including a sig file at the end of a posting to a newsgroup, you ensure that your company name will be seen by thousands of people. A great tag line with a call to action can encourage people to visit your site.
- As with any ad, the design and content of your sig file can be used to position your business and create or complement a corporate image.
- Using your sig file can enhance the reputation of your company based upon the email it is attached to. If your postings to newsgroups and mailing lists are helpful and continually appreciated, this will become associated with your company name.
- Using appropriate sig files signals to the online community that you are a member who respects proper netiquette.