A great email signature can help your business by building your image and credibility as well as making it easier for people to contact you. In this short post I look at what things a good signature block can do for you, what you want to put in, and what you should leave out.
The most important thing to remember… Your signature block needs to be as small as possible particularly since so many emails are only a few lines long… but it still has to achieve several objectives.
The objectives of a good signature block
A good signature block should do most if not all of the following for you:
- Let people know who you are
- Let people know how they can contact you
- Show people who may not know you what you or your company does
- If possible, convince people who don’t know you that you are a credible person that they can safely work with
- If you use social media a lot, let them connect you via your preferred social media website.
What you should include:
- Your Name
- Your Title (Optional but very useful, particularly if you have an important or at least important sounding title)
- Your company name
- (Optional) Your company logo
- (Optional) Logo or text details of any awards or memberships that build your credibility. Keep this as short as possible. Don’t list too many things or it loses it’s impact.
- A tag line that makes it easy to understand what you and your company do (Optional only if your company name is immediately recognizable)
- Your Phone Number
- Your web site address
What you do not need to include
Personally I feel that it is a waste of space to include the following:
- Your email address (they already know that sine they received the email from you)
- You fax number (unless you are in an industry/country that still makes use of fax)
- Your postal or physical address (they can always ask for this if they need it)
What do you think?
I hope that you find this article useful.
Do you have your own tips for better email signatures? Please share your ideas with other readers by leaving a comment on this post.
Do you know where your emails are saved on your computer?
They may not be where you think they are. Here’s how you can find out where your emails are so that you can be sure that they are part of your backup plan.
Last week at the golf club, I spoke to a frustrated fellow golfer who had just lost all his emails…
The harddisk on his old computer had crashed… and when he used his backups top restore his data to his new computer, he was in for a shock.
His Outlook emails were not there… despite having a well-thought out and implemented plan for backing up his computer.
Because Outlook does not actually ask you to save emails in a particular location, it is easy to forget about them.
Where does Outlook save emails?
If your emails are hosted with Office 365 or MS Exchange then a copy of your current emails will be on your server. Hopefully your network administrator is backing them up.
However, if you are using a POP3 mail account (which many people still are) or if you are archiving emails outside of Exchange, you need to know where your emails are being saved.
All your emails are generally saved in one big data file (PST file… which is short for Personal Storage Table). Unfortunately Outlook does not always create this file in a folder that you would remember to backup.
Some users may also have multiple PST files with additional files for Archives etc.
To find out exactly where all your data files are in Outlook 2010/2013:
- Click File.
- On the Info Tab, click Account Settings and then Account Settings again.
- Click Data Files to display a list of all your currently connected data files as shown below.
Makes sure that you are backing up all the Outlook data files shown above.
Additional Tip: If you’re not using Exchange, you may want to put your main Outlook PST files in your Documents folder. Assuming that you’re backing up your Documents folder regularly, you should be safe.
In the post last week, we looked at some of the ways that you can customize outlook to suit your style of working and also effective handle the pile of emails in your inbox.
Other than emails, Outlook users also use the calendar and task to manage their daily lives and projects… and yet Outlook does not give us an easy way to manage projects inside Outlook. Outlook users frequently ask us how they can see all appointments and tasks that make up a project in one place.
Why is this important? Most work or projects are made up of a series of steps all being related to each other. As we finish a step, it is important to know what the next steps are to get the project completed. Things also don’t always go according to plan… and we need to see what else gets affected when things change.
Our research showed that there is no simple way to organize and view related tasks and appointments under projects… so we added this functionality to our Outlook Project Management addin Smart Schedules for Outlook.
With Smart Schedules for Outlook you can:
- Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
- Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button.
Here are step by step instructions showing you just how easy this can be:
Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
- Open Outlook and go to the Calendar/Task folder that the existing appointment/task is located in
- Select the appointment/task
- Click on Assign Project button on the Smart Schedules toolbar/ribbon. This will display the following screen:
Select an existing project from the Project list.
- Note: You can also type in a new project name if you would like to create a new project and add this selected appointment/task to that project.
- Click OK.
Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button
Smart Schedules Project Centre makes it easy to see all appointments and tasks that you have associated with a project.
On the Smart Schedules toolbar, click Project Centre
- From the Project drop-down, select the Project to which you assigned the appointment or task
- You will now be able to view the appointment or task assigned to the project and all other related appointments and tasks for the project as shown below:
Smart Schedules for Outlook was designed with the help of almost 20,000 Outlook users. Try it for yourself today and tell us what you think.
Download a fully functional version of Smart Schedules for Outlook.
Watch a short video of our Outlook based Project Management tool (Smart Schedules)
I hope you find this tip useful managing your projects in Outlook.
If you know of other ways to manage projects using Outlook, share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.
Have you started using Microsoft Office 2013 yet? Here’s a quick way to get up to speed with all the new features.
Microsoft has published printable Microsoft Office 2013 Quick Start Guides with useful tips, shortcuts and screenshots to get you started.
There are 9 different guides in total for the various applications that make up Office. Here are links to them all.
Do you have an important message that you need to communicate to all your customers now? Your customers are already saved as contacts in Outlook… so maybe you could just create an email and CC it to all of them. NO!
Using the CC field to send out your sales and marketing emails is not recommended. It can result in annoyed customers and lost sales because:
You are violating your customers’ privacy: When you use CC to send out emails, every person who receives the email will be able to see everyone else’s email address. The problems this can cause are:
- Your customers may not want other people to know that they are working with you.
- Your customers may not want other people on your list to have their email address.
- One of the recipients may decide to use your list for their own marketing efforts.
A good example of this recently happened at our golf club which circulates its weekly newsletter using the CC field. A few of the members have simply copied the list and started advertising all kinds of things… from cars… to computers… to garage sales. I’m not quitting the golf club because it is the only one close to my home but your customers may quit on you.
Your email may never reach your customer: One of the rules that junk email filters use to work out if an email is spam is based on the number of recipients. Stuff too many people in the CC field and suddenly your email ends up in the Junk Email folder where it is never read.
Your email never gets read because it is obvious to the customer that this is a bulk mail out: Even if the email gets to your customer, it looks like a marketing email. He thinks you’re just trying to sell him something so he either deletes it… or leaves it in his Inbox to read later (how many of those emails do we ever read later?).
… can you use the BCC field instead!
The BCC field is no better at customer communications. Because the email is not addressed to the customer, the junk filters either move it to the junk folder… or the user recognizes it as marketing and deletes or ignores it till too late.
So what can you do?
If you’re one of the tens of thousands of users of the Email Merge for Outlook addin, you already know. Email Merge takes your chosen list of people (from Outlook or Excel or wherever) and:
- Creates a separate email for each person… with only their email address in the To field.
- Personalises the Subject and/or body of the email with their personal details (name, company name etc) if you want.
- Sends the email out immediately or schedules it out at a time suitable to you.
- It does all this and more inside Outlook using a Wizard that steps you through the process in a few minutes.
If you haven’t tried Email Merge yet, click here to learn more and download a fully functional version of the Email Merge for Outlook addon.
You’ll be sending out your first set of sales and marketing emails within 5 minutes.
Did you know that Outlook let’s you refine your searches using human friendly English words. The following examples will get you started…
If I want to find all emails that were sent by James Raman, I just need to type the following into the Search Box…
From: James Raman
If I want to find all emails with the word Rugby anywhere in the subject, I just have to type the following in the Search Box…
If I want to find all emails with the word Rugby in the Subject that were sent by James Raman, I just have to type the following in the Search Box…
From: James Raman and Subject:Rugby
I can even refine this further to something like…
From: James Raman and Subject:Rugby and To:Sanjay
Other tags that you can use include BCC and CC.
This simple technique has greatly reduced the time it takes me to find emails. I hope you find it useful.
Do you have any other Search tricks that you find useful. Share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.
Fixing Search Problems in Outlook 2007/2010
Outlook 2010 has a new feature that makes it really easy to send screen shots (pictures of any screen) to someone else via email. This is really handy if you need to send someone a picture of your screen because of technical problems etc.
- Create a new email.
- Click on the message body part of the email (otherwise the options for inserting the screenshot will be disabled).
- Click Insert and then Screenshot on the ribbon (Screen shot is one of your choices in the illustrations group… it may be displayed simply as an icon depending on the size of your email window).
- Outlook will display a list of Windows that you can pick from or you can click on Screen Clipping (at the bottom of the list) to copy any part of the screen.
The screenshot will be inserted automatically into the email that you are working on.
What are other features in Outlook 2010 that you like. Let us know by leaving a comment on the blog.
Outlook Addins are an essential productivity tool to most business users of Outlook. You may however find that you are running some unnecessary addins that you are not even aware of. Disabling or removing those addins can help speed up your system.
You can turn addins on or off from the Com Addins screen.
To display the Com Add-ins screen in Outlook 2010, click File-Options. Click Addins. Com Addins should already be selected in the Manage drop-down. Click the Go button to display the Com Add-ins dialog box.
To display the Com Add-ins screen in Outlook 2007, click Tools-Trust Center-Addins. Com Addins should already be selected in the Manage drop-down. Click the Go button to display the Com Add-ins dialog box.
To display the Com-Addins screen in Outlook 2000/2002/2003, click Tools->Other->Advanced Options->COM Add-ins,
You can turn off addins that you are not using by removing the ticks next to them or by selecting them and then clicking the Remove button.
Note: If you had downloaded and installed an addin that you no longer need then the best solution is to simply uninstall the addin from the Control Panel (as you would uninstall any other software).
While checking something on my dad’s computer over the weekend, I found out that he will probably LOSE YEARS WORTH OF EMAILS soon… This is through no fault of his own and there will be no warning when it happens… Outlook will simply stop working.
Here’s how you can check to see if you may also have the same problem in the future.
Very briefly… Dad has been using Outlook since Outlook 2000.
If you are using an Outlook data file that was originally created by a version of Outlook prior to Outlook 2003, then your data file has a maximum possible size of 2 GB.
If this data file exceeds 2 GB (there is no warning as you approach this limit), Outlook will simply stop working. There are ways to recover your data but they’re not easy. (I’m glad I discovered this issue before the data got corrupted and he made me try and recover it)
What do you need to do? Find out the size and version of your Outlook data file. Full instructions are in the post on How to maintain Outlook data (PST) files that I did last week.
(I wrote about this topic last week but thought it worthwhile to stress the point in light of the discovery on dad’s computer)
Outlook 2010 has introduced the Ribbon throughout the interface. Here’s a quick tutorial on how you can use your keyboard to select any command from the Office ribbon.
- Press and release the ALT key. Key tips will be displayed over the Ribbon as shown below.
- Press the letter shown for the feature you want to use.
- Press the letters until the action that you desire is achieved eg, to do a reply all I have to press RA in the screen above (R and A do not need to be pressed together… you can press and release R before pressing A)
Additional key tips may be shown based on your choice e.g. If you pressed H from the screen above:
(You can also cancel the keyboard selection process at any time by press ESC on your keyboard)