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Friday, February 6, 2009

Killer Campaigns: Signatures

I have a special fondness for passive promotion. Gentle reminders like book marks, bumper stickers or linky love are like little nudges. I can choose to notice or ignore them.

And email signatures must be the easiest, cheapest and most passive promotion there is. But they can be annoying if they're not properly controlled.

Many authors use banners in their sig line. I love banners, particularly animated banners (as you can see at the top of this blog). The problem with banner sig lines is that they can be intrusive so I'm always wary about adding them unless I know the person on the other end will appreciate it.

Much as I love banners, they slow my computer down a lot. When I was on Verizon FiOS, it meant nothing. That thing was so fast, you could throw a dozen gorillas on it and it wouldn't notice the extra luggage. But now that I rely on satellite, every kilobyte of memory takes a chunk out of my operating speed.

If the banner negatively impacts my working speed, chances are good it will negatively impact me as a consumer too. My modus operandi is to give readers as few reasons as I can -NOT- to get mad at me.

For this reason, I limit using my banner sig.

Die-hard promoters will disagree with me here. Do what you think is best for your situation.

My choice is to keep my sig line clean. For my intimate friends, my sig line has my first name and blog address. For colleagues and business people, I let my email default to the full sig line with name, Facebook link, blog link, and a link for Touch Of Fire.

When in doubt, try to imagine yourself on the other end. This is how I reached my decision. 

Here's my checklist: 

• Easy to read font. Nothing screams 'needy' like a busy font, which may or may not be recognized by the recipient's email program.

• Keep the links down to a minimum. Are you really going to read someone's laundry list of links and awards?

• Remember that if you're on a list group and on digest, you won't see all those pretty banners.

• If you do use banners, keep them small. I've seen some humongous ones come across. It just makes me grumpy as it struggles to appear on my screen.

• Taglines after your name are nice (and brand-worthy). When you find a good one, hang on to it and use it everywhere. (I can see that'll be a post for another day.) *grin*

• Create default sigs for your email. Microsoft Outlook makes it very easy. It's why I always use it. I like easy. It uses fewer brain cells.

If you do nothing else for yourself, sit down right now and create an email signature that points to your website and blog, and/or your latest book.

You are saying brilliant things, right? That means people are going to want to follow you home. Be sure to leave bread crumbs. 

Want to get a whole book with this information for $2.99?

Find it on Amazon.


J.K. Coi said...

Perfet blog today, Maria!

I'll leave you with my traditional blog sig--the one I use when I'm not a regular on someone's site.

J.K. Coi
Immortals to Die For

Maria Zannini said...

And that's important too. Some blogs won't let you leave a link, so you have to write your own.

I do that when I visit people on Live Journal. It is notorious for being so insular.

BTW...I was thinking of your tagline when I wrote this. Brilliant catch phrase!

Shelley Munro said...

I like simple sigs. Many of the sigs with banners annoy me because they're too big. With my email they often show up as a blank box and a red cross anyway and I don't look at them.

I don't like the sigs that are many lines long. I generally keep to my tag and website address with my latest release. My current sig has three releases at present. I actually think that's too many and will knock that down to one again.

Great post, Maria.

Maria Zannini said...

I think the longest signature I ever saw was 8 lines long.

That's too many.

In the end I think it sent the wrong message.

Mary Winter said...

Word! Many business groups I'm in limit your sig line to four lines, and I think the RWA ones used to too. Frankly, to me, a huge signature line with crazy bold fonts screams amateur to me. Four lines is great to get in your name, your tag line, website addy and latest release.

Plus, it's just good netetiquette.

Great post! Thanks!

Maria Zannini said...

Business. That's the magic word, isn't it?

Thanks for stopping by, Mary!