Did you know that the humble email signature is one of the greatest untapped marketing channels you have at your disposal? Or that it will give your marketing campaigns an extra boost without too much effort? Email signatures are a great way for you to broaden your social reach, promote your latest content, maintain brand consistency across all your email communications, as well as showcasing and therefore extending the reach of your key marketing communications activities. Basically, it’s win-win for you as a marketing professional!
However, before we continue, stop us if you’ve heard these statements before:
- “Email is no longer important.”
- “Email is dead.”
- “Everyone’s using social media and instant messaging now.”
- “You can’t have a proper conversation over email. It’s too impersonal.”
- “Email is so last decade.”
It really is time we stop predicting the death of email. The first email was sent in 1971 and nearly 50 years later, it’s still going strong.
The Supposed Death of Email
There are now 3.9 BILLION email users worldwide according to the Radicati Group. That’s roughly half the world’s population. When you think of it like that, that’s an insane amount of email users. And with a growth rate of about 3% annually over the next four years, that’s adding another 100 million users every year.
Even more staggering is that almost 294 BILLION emails are sent every day, according to Statista, including business and personal. And this is going to rise by an additional 13 billion emails per year and reach 347 billion by 2023, which is simply an astounding figure.
Now does that sound like a communications platform that is on its last legs? Yes, we all use instant messaging tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack and social media. However, there are roughly four times as many email users than users of all those tools combined. You can argue that’s because email has been around a lot longer than instant messaging and social media, but it’s actually due to the fact that email is still the corporate communication tool of choice for businesses across the world.
Current research from DMR also shows that the average office worker receives 121 emails a day. That worker will then send roughly 30-35 emails in turn. Taken over one year, discounting things like annual leave, that’s over 11,000 emails that just one worker will send. Then multiply that by the number of employees in a company and you start to see the sheer volume of emails that are flying around out there. When you take all global email users into consideration, that equals 3.5 million emails sent every second. And then you have nearly half of all these users checking their emails every few hours.
Admit it, we’ve all checked our emails while watching TV, having breakfast or travelling. It’s just what we do now particularly given the fact that almost all of us use smartphones. We’re basically drowning in a flurry of emails and we continue to use it is a medium to an extreme level. And just to be clear, we’re not talking about marketing emails. We’re talking about the day-to-day corporate emails that we are all receive from colleagues, customers etc. That’s every email sent out via your company on a B2B basis.
This information is important as it really shows you where email signature marketing comes into play.
Defining Email Signature Marketing
Now, we all know what an email signature is. At its most basic level, it’s a contact block added to an email. Essentially, it’s an electronic business card. It gives information to a recipient on how to contact the person who’s emailed them. Name, job title, phone number…you get the gist. It’s an uncomplicated item that appears in standard corporate email.
However, where an email signature can add much more value is if it’s treated as if it’s another marketing channel. Yes, a marketing channel! Not just as a means of communicating contact details.
Think about it. How many promotional emails does your company send to customers and prospects? We’re sure it’s a very large number. And you’ll get an average open rate of about 20-25%? That’s about the industry standard. So, you’re looking at 75% or more who never even see the message you’ve put in that specific email. You’ve spent ages designing the template, getting the messaging right, segmenting the lists and choosing the appropriate time to send it to now realize that most people won’t even read it.
Now, we’re not saying that email marketing isn’t valuable. Of course it is, and it often plays a key role in any integrated campaign. Still, your message won’t be received and read by every single person you’ve sent it to. And you want it to be read by as many people as possible, don’t you?
Now think about all the standard corporate emails that are sent from your company. The normal everyday messages that your employees send on a daily basis. You’re looking at hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions. The majority of those emails will have some kind of value to the recipient, and will, for the most part, contain important business information.
The recipient will often trust the sender. They either already have a business relationship or they’re in the process of building one. Trust is a difficult thing to come by over email, particularly given phishing scams and the high level of spam out there. But if you trust the person you’re communicating with, you’re going to be more receptive to what they have to say.
You then take that simple contact block you’ve appended to your message, add in your brand elements, display banners promoting your latest offerings, add links to your social media and award recognitions, and you are clearly, yet discretely, promoting your latest marketing efforts in a way that is clearly seen by a recipient but in an unobtrusive manner.
Factor all that with the trust element we mentioned earlier, and this recipient will be much more willing to engage with your content. The marketing message is not forced on them like it can be with other channels.
Yes, you will have to add a legal disclaimer to your signature as well, but this is just part of regular compliance with email law. It’s the marketing messaging that will get through. Using email signatures as part of an integrated marketing campaign is a great way to increase additional engagement depending on what you are trying to achieve. And this is where we get the term “email signature marketing.”
For more information on this topic, check out our on-demand webinar on how email signature marketing can open up new opportunities for your business.