Sig Lines: Using your Email Signature to Communicate

In one of her recent email newsletters, Nancy Schwartz focused on a simple and cost-free marketing technique, email signatures. Also called “sig lines,” email signatures are often overlooked as a quick marketing tool.

Schwartz points out: “Consider this: If your organization has 30 employees, each of whom sends 30 emails daily to folks outside the org, then (assuming 250 business days) that’s 225,000 ad views annually, at no cost or much extra effort. If you have 100 employees, that’s 750,000 ad views annually.”

The sig line consists of several lines of text, set up to be added automatically at the end of each outgoing email. Sig lines began as a way for the email sender to include a consistent identifier, and they have become mini-banners to promote a special event, publicize the mission of an organization, join a social media group, or otherwise make a short communications statement.

Schwartz’ own sig line is:
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Why Customize Your Sig Line?

With people getting spammed, phished, and otherwise inundated with emails, your personal sig line helps identify your emails as legitimate. Schwartz notes that a customized sig line, “is a clear signal to your recipient that the message is from you and provides the context (e.g., job title, organization name, and web site) that reminds that person who you are and enriches their understanding of your message. That’s a lot more than can quickly be deciphered from your email address in the ‘from’ field.”

Think of the sig line as your email business card, she adds. It also functions as a small online billboard to announce an event, company news, or other information.

Sig Line Standards

If your organization decides to use customized signature lines, it is important to develop a format so that all sig lines are consistent throughout the company. This may involve some short training in how to set up and change sig lines.

Name, title, and phone information generally go first. You can then add additional elements such as web site URL, a tagline, event announcement, or invitation. These items must be reviewed periodically to keep them up-to-date. Schwartz believes that a good sig line is between four and six lines in length, with each line limited to 80 characters. Be careful not to overload your sig line, and do not use images or rich text. She also cautions about overwhelming your regular recipients, and notes that she sets up her sig line so that the longer version only appears once in each email conversation.

One-to-One Marketing

Consider using a variety of specific, customized sig lines with different types of recipients.
Internal communications sig lines might include reminders for company events, fund-raising efforts, or other important employee information.
External sig lines can be individually customized to include information that would be of interest to that specific recipient. Think of using your sig line as a mini-ad that is directed to each recipient, and targeted to them.

Signing Off Doesn’t Have to Mean Goodbye
Remember, using sig lines effectively is a great and inexpensive way to add an extra punch to what might otherwise be a routine email.

Nancy Schwartz’ email newsletter is available by free subscription at

Amy Blake has over 25 years of experience as a communicator and creative professional. Her firm, Blake+Barancik Design, provides marketing communications services including strategic planning, writing, graphic design, Web site development, and project management. Her clients include major utilities, healthcare organizations, non-profits, and professional service consultants.

Amy Blake can be reached at, or at 215-588-9190.

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