Pop quiz: what’s the least used but most effective digital space in your content arsenal?
If you said “email signatures,” you’d get a straight A.
The average user sends 32 emails every day. For marketers, salespeople, entrepreneurs and hustlers, this figure is likely much higher.
Every time you send someone email, your email signature—and its message—flashes in their inbox. Done right, this is a powerful persuasion tool. Let’s examine what goes into making a great email signature and how you can create one for your own emails.
How to Create Conversion-Focused Email Signatures
Old-school text-only email signatures are woefully inadequate for the dynamics of modern inboxes. The interactive, visually-rich nature of Gmail and other mail clients means that you’ll have to do more than add a line of text to stand out.
On that note, here are four tips for creating email signatures that get you clicks, traffic and leads:
1. Show a Glimpse of Your Content
One of the unwritten rules of marketing is to show, don’t tell.
This applies to email signatures as well. People are much more likely to remember visuals than text. A visually rich signature that shows your content in a visually arresting manner can get you more eyeballs (and clicks).
For example, this signature shows a small gallery of images from a business owner’s Instagram. This works far better than simply asking people to click an Instagram link. With the gallery, people have a glimpse of what your social media content actually looks like.
This tactic works best with visually rich content such as Instagram images or Flickr galleries. You can take things up a notch by turning your visual content into a GIF. This GIF can either be a showcase of your product’s features, or simply an animation that demands attention.
Here’s an example that captures the attention-grabbing aspect of GIFs.
This not only shows the business owner’s product, but also holds your attention.
Here’s another example that combines animated and static imagery.
The animated GIF captures attention while the static image highlight the product.
2. Link to Your Latest Content
Your blog posts and videos are powerful persuasive weapons, especially if they are related to the subject of your email. They can help you subtly expand on a topic without explicitly drawing attention to it.
This approach works best for cold outreach. Since your goal with cold emails is to keep your messages short, a link to a content related to the email gives you space to expand your thoughts on the topic without adding to the length of the email. Align the content link with the subject line for a major boost to the quality of clicks you get from email signatures.
Alternatively, you can use this space to share your latest content on your blog, social media or YouTube. This serves the same purpose, albeit it’s less targeted.
For example, this blogger includes a link to his latest blog post in the email signature.
This small business owner shares a link to his latest video. Note how the video link includes a thumbnail preview as well, drawing attention to itself.
For this tactic to be successful, you should be able to share your latest content automatically. A tool like WiseStamp can help you control the link you share in the signature.
3. Promote Sales, Offers and Open Positions
Every person you send an email to is also a prospective customer, a potential hire, or barring that, a referrer for either of the two. It makes sense to include links to any recent promotions and open hiring positions in your email signature.
Take this for example:
This signature includes a link to register for the writer’s new sale. The bold ‘SALE’ tag in red is hard to miss. If you send out 50 emails a day, even 5 people clicking this link and signing up (10% conversion rates) translates to 150 people per month, or 1,800 new leads each year.
Beyond sales, you can also use this space to promote an open position in your company. Perfect for recruiters, HR folks, and business owners, like this:
4. Include a CTA
While it’s a good practice to include all your contact details – name, phone number, social media profiles – these are mostly superfluous. The recipient already has your email; he knows how to contact you.
In this context, the most important part of the email signature is the call-to-action (CTA). This is the part you want to draw attention to the most. It can be anything – a link to a webinar, your recent blog post, a video or an image gallery.
When it comes to CTAs, the most important consideration is design. You want the CTA to look good and draw attention to itself.
There are three ways you can do this:
A. Use contrasting colors
The easiest way to make a CTA stand out is to give it a color that contrasts the other colors used in the email signature.
For example, here’s the ‘hiring’ signature again. Notice how the CTA and the font color are contrasting (blue and orange respectively)?
B. Use banners
An alternative to plain text links is to use a banner CTA, like this:
Notice the subtle arrow in the banner design? This tells the viewer that the banner is an outgoing link. It also draws attention to the title of the offer.
C. Use buttons
There’s something about buttons that makes our brain go ‘click me!’ Including them in your email signature CTAs is a good way to boost click-through rates.
For a button to draw clicks, it must have two elements:
- A color that stands out on the page
- CTA text that tells the reader what the button does (such as “Check out my profile”)
Here’s an example that has both these elements:
Bringing It All Together: Creating a Click-worthy Email Signature
We saw a bunch of things that go into making a great email signature. Now let’s bring them all together in a template that works for most people:
Let’s take a look at each of these components:
- Profile picture: Include a clear, positive profile picture. As Ariel Finkenstein of WiseStamp notes, including a picture improves response rate by as much as 32%.
- Contact information: Include anything necessary here – phone number, website, Skype handle, alternative email addresses, etc.
- Social media profiles: Include links to your most active social media profiles. Match profile links with the purpose of the email – LinkedIn for B2B emails, YouTube if you’re showcasing your video work, Instagram for photography work, etc.
- CTA: The most important part of the email. Include a CTA in the form of a banner, a link or a button to a web page, social media profile, etc.
- Designation: Include your full name, title and position. This isn’t necessary but still a good idea.
Combining all these elements will give you an email signature your recipients can’t help but click.
If you use an email signature generator, you can even use pre-built templates that follow the above structure. You can edit the template, add your own information, and even connect the signature to your blog or social media feeds to automatically update it with your latest posts.
Do the above and you’ll see a drastic improvement in the number of leads from the emails you send every day.
Dmitry Dragilev is a growth strategist and entrepreneur who scaled a startup that was acquired by Google within two years. He is the founder and CEO of JustReachOut, a platform that helps over 4,000 businesses, large and small, pitch relevant journalists and get press coverage without the help of PR firms. He also offers exclusive growth strategy content via Criminally Prolific.