I want to share a little secret that has brought a tremendous amount of value to my business. But before I tell you what it is, I want to see if you can find it. It’s hidden in my email signature. Below is a signature I often use. Can you spot what my secret might be? Let’s see if you can figure it out.
George’s Email Signature:
Vice President Sales
p (973) 747-5924
You’re right- it’s all the links at the bottom! But note that they are not advertisements. They are pointing to several popular articles I’ve written over the last several years that I feel could be useful to customers and potential customers. My signature also points readers to my Twitter account, where I Tweet several times a day on relevant freight topics that will help my customers and potential customers.I am proud to say that I work very hard at bringing value to the business world. I try to do my little part to help our economy by educating manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers about ways they can improve their supply chain.
However, unless I tell people about my articles, my Twitter account or my www.freightsavingstips.com blog, nobody knows about them. So I subtly direct people to my site with little links that are on my email signature.
In the time since I started doing this, the number of visitors to my site has quadrupled. But more importantly, I feel that people view me as someone who is more than simply a sales person, just looking for the next order. That is because the links in my email bring value.
HOW THIS COULD BE USED FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
The reason I just shared this little technique with you is because I think it is a terrific way to create a ton of value to any supply chain. Just think about it for a minute; how many emails are being sent from your company to customers and potential customers in any given day?
Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the average person at your company sends about 100 emails a day (which I don’t think is a stretch for most sales, customer service and purchasing people). Now let’s say that there are 20 sales, customer service and purchasing representatives in your company. That is 2,000 emails a day that are reaching customers and potential customers. Over the course of 260 working days in a year, that is 520,000 emails being sent out in a year. Opportunistically thinking, that is 520,000 times you could be delivering extra value to your supply chain.
WHAT SORT OF MESSAGE SHOULD WE PUT IN OUR SIGNATURE?
The message you want to put in your email signatures is up to you and your company. However, I would highly suggest not making it a sales pitch. Remember, this is about creating value to your supply chain. So you need to ask yourself what will bring value to your supply chain in the eyes of customers and potential customers.
I would recommend that the messages be individually based on the specific department. Each department works with a different audience, so it makes good sense to curtail the signature’s value to the particular clients they are dealing with on a daily basis.
In other words, customer service people are usually interacting with your customers. So adding a signature tag links that direct them to “how to track shipments,” “how to get your product faster,” or to a “FAQ page” would be a logical way to go.
Sales people are usually dealing with potential customers. Perhaps their email tags could point your customers to an article a big publication wrote about your firm. For purchasing, maybe you’d want to direct links to your FOB terms. For accounting, a link to credit scores could be useful.
A good technique for efficiently directing people through the use of email signatures would be using an analysis of the most common inbound calls each departments get. For example, if sales people are constantly getting calls on the latest overstock items, then add a link to the overstock page of your website.
If customer service is regularly getting calls related to questions of when products get shipped, then put a line in the signature that says “Every Order is Shipped the Same Day or Next Day, Guaranteed!” I think you are getting the idea.
HOW POWERFUL IS THIS TECHNIQUE?
I think this is technique can be very powerful if it is used in the right way. The true expert with regard to this idea was Hotmail. Back in 1996 they had 500,000 registered users. In less than a year they grew to 12,000,000 by simply putting a small advert at the bottom of all emails.
That Hotmail case study is a lot of fun to tell. I am sure many of the readers of this article are familiar with that story. However, it is amazing how many people are not using the potential that their signatures offer. In fact, it’s important to note that there are still an enormous amount of crazy people in the business world who are not even putting their contact info in their signature.
The fact that most email programs allow you to add a default signature is a lob pitch right down the middle of the plate. Now swing and hit the ball out of the park with this idea.
If you would like to book George Muha to visit with your company or association meeting on this topic or any other topic that he writes about contact him at email@example.com.