A Simple Change to Your Email Signature That Can Have a Big Impact

A Simple Change to Your Email Signature That Can Have a Big Impact

As I've written about recently, I'm pushing incremental changes that provide compound interest. One of the most effective of which I have been tweaking for some time, and it has paid off.

For those of you who click articles and skim read for the vital takeaway points, I'll save you some time. In my experience, most photographers don't utilize email signatures to their full potential. It might seem inconsequential at first, but it can have anything from a small amount of power, to a massive amount depending on how many emails you are sending and to whom you are sending them. I truly believe, however, they're one the of the most underrated pieces of kit in our digital arsenal.

So, first up, if you're just signing off with "Kind regards, Prison Mike" or whatever your name is, you're miles behind, but that seems rarer these days. What is common, is "Kind Regards, Prison Mike" and then "Photographer", followed by your website link. There is so much untapped real estate to be had that is being overlooked. Like most, I send a lot of emails per week. The majority of them are to clients or prospective clients, the next biggest share goes to people in my network, and then finally select personal emails (i.e emails that aren't just throwaways). I'll send anywhere between 15 and 100 emails per week; that's a lot of eyes. So what should you be putting in your email signature?

The Basics: Website, Profession, Contact Information

This is the most obvious, but you should have your portfolio linked and a brand logo or some branding if you have any. My analytics show that this is my most clicked feature in my signature and it goes a way to verifying that what I say I am, I indeed am. It's useful to have exactly what you do under your name too, for example I have "Commercial Photographer, Writer & Consultant". Finally, and this I will say is optional, contact information. I just have my mobile number which might be a step too far for many, but I want clients and prospects to be able to contact me with as few steps as possible.

Social Media

Whether or not you should have social media is a well-trodden path and frankly a debate that bores me. If you do utilize it to market yourself and your photography, include links to them. I prefer to use small themed icon images of each platform that are hotlinked to my account. There are hundreds of these icons in different styles, all for free.

My motivation for doing this is not to gain a bigger following, but rather as social proof to show how active and involved I am in my sector.

Your Content

This is one of my favorite features of my signature. I include my top 3 most popular articles of all time or the 3 articles I'm most proud of (I change between them on a whim.) This is brilliant not only to demonstrate expertise, but for further social proof, and even for talking points. Many times people have commented on articles they found in my signature and the more time they take to look at what I do, the better!

I would of course recommend blogging, but if you don't, this section could instead be filled with projects you've completed, causes you're working on, your YouTube videos, your exhibitions, an e-book; really anything you've created that you are proud of.

Call to Action

This one is nice and easy. There is an abundance of evidence for calls to action working, as mystifying as you (and I) may find it. Ask people to visit anything you would like more traffic on, take a poll, share an article, sign up for a newsletter or training seminar, and so on.

The Value

I don't want to overcomplicate this article as I did advertise it as "simple", so in line with that, I'm going to sum up the value I've had from a well constructed email signature in list format:

  • Direct people to your website
  • Establish clearly what you do
  • Social proof
  • Calls to action
  • Conversation points
  • Present your most impressive work

These are the obvious returns, but while a lot of my "proof" is anecdotal (although a lot of it is derived from analytics), the value goes further. I've had all sorts of people learn more about what I do because as the curious creatures we are, they clicked clearly labeled hotlinks in my signature. It's so easy to improve your email signature and it can make a substantial difference to your conversations, cold contact reply rates, and views of your content. Don't let it go to waste!

What's in your email signature? Do you have any secrets you can share?

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David Cannon's picture

Robert, your articles stand out here. Thanks for staying away from politics and controversies that occasionally show up on an otherwise-irreplaceable website, and for delivering good, useful content. Keep it up.

Robert K Baggs's picture

What a lovely thing to say. Thanks, David.

timgallo's picture

some practical experience.
Spark mail app lets you easily change between signatures on the fly and have a suggestions based on your recent signatures. Very useful, also an ability to schedule your mails connected with calendar - makes it easier to do a lot of mail work. saved a lot of ton of time for me.

i have a few questions. what can you possible send in 100 mails per week? every week? how do you deal with clients that dont reply?
in my experience being too much annoying with mails - usually have the opposite effect on most of clients.

in general i find that more personal mails are better (that if ofcourse if you met your clients before).

And another advice from experience. If you do billing through real mail - add some hand written letters, or a small notes that dont relate to money things (like how was the shoot or your impressions of final results and e.t.c), usually charms clients a lot.

Rod Kestel's picture

Yeah, good suggestion. Mine says 'Writer Broadcaster | Fairfax Freelance | Photojournalist'. Also an image which I learned recently they call a 'dinkus' and now appears on my columns. For private emails I often remove it so doesn't clutter.

You might also say something about business cards which, even in this digital age, are handy.

Rayann Elzein's picture

That's really good and useful! I woudl just be careful in which emails to use a signature with links. If you are approaching someone for the first time, you way want to consider twice adding any link at all in your email. More often than not have I realised that such emails end up otherwise in the spam box of the recipient.

Gabriel SAP's picture

I have a problem.
I put my website and instagram links on my signature and it makes my emails end up at the client's spam folder when they use hotmail or outlook.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

I really like the idea of connecting to a recent / hot project. Great idea!

Jordan Bush's picture

Your article inspired me to update my own email signature. An intentional, horizontally designed logo that serves as a web link, a functional Instagram icon, and an invitation to read the latest from my monthly food column.

Your signature is probably refined well beyond my own, but thanks to you, mine is more engaging.