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Our E-mail Signature: Choosing Courteous and Great Marketing by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

In a public e-mail to her clients, someone near and dear to me (an expert) said most people look at the first two lines of an email. That’s it. They aren’t interested in fishing through pages of post-signature blather. People need to have ways to learn about you, not reasons to put up shields.” She advised three or four lines, tops. Boy, did that set me off? So, these people we send mail to are in such a hurry that they’d rather spend time looking up in dozens of places for the information that could just as easily have been in the contact’s e-mail signature? Here’s my rant-er . . . rebuttal:

My old friend, I so disagree with this.

For one thing, there are no fast rules. Much depends on the genre an author writes in. Another depends on the author’s personality. But more than that, I view a signature as a courtesy. Put that word in caps! COURTESY!

There is nothing more annoying than getting an e-mail from someone who doesn't have proper contact information in it. And the trouble is, depending on what the recipient plans to do with the email, it is difficult for the sender to know exactly what will make the life of that contact easier. Will she need your website address? Will including your Twitter moniker help her in some way? Won't the repeated visual of your book cover to your contacts help your branding? And if your contact has seen your cover before, will it hurt her that much to see it again? Especially considering that old marketing advice based on research that people need to see something seven times before they act on it.

And don't you––as someone whose business it is to help authors--want your authors to sell as many books as possible and to get as much media attention as possible? In the PR world, the winner is the person who makes it easiest on the gatekeeper to do her job. It is a busy world. She doesn't need to be searching for information, especially information that could easily go into a signature.

To arbitrarily tell anyone how to sign their emails without any idea of the tone or purpose of the email seems very presumptuous to me.

I hope you will give your authors this alternative view. Many authors are already far too reluctant to get the word about their books out there. Telling them to arbitrarily limit information in their signatures may encourage their reluctance to do right by their books—and their own careers.

Hugs, [Yes, hugs. Even rants are mostly designed to help rather than make enemies!]
CHJ

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a former journalist, retailer, and marketer who started publhing how-to books for writers for the classes she taught for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program. Members of the California Legislature named her Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment. Learn more about her how-to books and her creative writing at http://howtodoitfrugally.com Learn more about book promotion (and avoiding being the reluctant book promoter!) in her The Frugal Book Promoter and the rest of the multi-award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers at http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo. Subscribe to her #SharingwithWriters newsletter at http://howtodoitfrugally.com where you’ll find a great free Writers’ Resource section, too. The newsletter subscription form is at the top right of almost every page.

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Tags: blog, books, carolyn, email, frugally, howard-johnson, marketing, signature

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