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.
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.
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.
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?