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Email signatures: A strategic view on their marketing value

Find out exactly how much value your email signatures could bring as a marketing channel.

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For as long as companies have been sending corporate email, there’s been a need to present consistent signoffs on all messages.

Email signatures began as a simple feature of email systems, allowing users to identify themselves. At a basic level, it’s a contact block added to an email, effectively an electronic business card. It gives information to someone on how to contact the person who’s emailed them. A simple name, job title, and phone number, it’s an uncomplicated item .

But when treated as a marketing channel, email signatures offer more value beyond just being a contact block. This is why countless organizations use email signature solutions to control them at scale.

The challenges and economics of achieving targeted exposure

In a world full of marketing noise, targeted exposure plays a huge factor in marketing success. It’s all about exposing your target personas to relevant communications about your products and services, to make your team more efficient and reduce marketing spend.

Marketing professionals recognize that getting in front of their target audience is only half the battle. They also understand that the leading form of business communication is still email. In fact, by 2025, the number of emails sent everyday is set to exceed 370 billion; each one a potential vehicle for showcasing marketing content.

Email versus ad-based marketing

Email isn’t the only way to achieve targeted exposure. Using digital advertising is another way of reaching recipients that attempts to tap into live, intent-based behavioral customer data. Digital advertising campaigns can harness global platforms and budgeting models that can put monetary values on individual views, impressions and clicks.

The currency of these campaigns is expressed in cost per mille impressions (CPM) and cost per click (CPC). Both of these enable marketers to make like-for-like decisions on budgets and campaigns, and to evaluate results and return on investment (ROI). Email marketing cost models are broadly similar, allowing for the use of third-party opt-in lists on a per recipient or per message basis.

The value of trust

The main challenge when it comes to digital marketing, is trust. Trust is what makes audiences tune into your message, and is reflected in how high-trust marketing activities are budgeted.

High-trust advertising channels cost more to place in. High-trust search terms attract the largest bids. Endorsements from trusted influencers cost more and the relationships are harder to create. High-value email recipients that consent to be contacted are worth far more.

The junk mail paradox

Email is universal, easy, and reliable. And it supports our individual identities in profound ways. Think of a trusted service you consume or any digital access you have; it’ll always be connected to your email address.

However, the sense that anyone can be reached at any time makes the threat of email spam and cyberattack all too real. But this cheapening of some emails paradoxically makes others more valuable. Think of the physical junk mail you get through your letterbox. It arguably makes the birthday card you receive much more cherished. Therefore, email from a trusted source that you’re freely corresponding with receives your undivided attention.

And when an email is known to be trusted, it offers the perfect opportunity to land that tailored messaging.

The decline of trust in traditional digital channels

The average open rate for email campaigns is around 21% according to MailChimp. This means four out of five emails are never opened by seemingly relevant and interested recipients. Click rates are even lower at around 2.5 percent.

Other forms of digital media continue to suffer from trust issues, particularly social media which experts agree is in decline. Advertisers are increasingly wary of placing their brand into channels full of disinformation, hate speech, and personal attacks.

How trust influences existing customers

Maintaining existing customers is a business investment well worth making. The cost of acquiring new customers can be high and the ever-present risk of customer churn undermines the ability to grow profits.

Research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. Being good at retaining and upselling to customers offers a huge opportunity for marketing decision makers.

And the reason it’s easier to sell to existing customers? It boils down to trust, familiarity, and convenience. If buying from you worked well the first time, it’ll feel safe to do so again. Targeted marketing activities are essential to achieving increased wallet share from your existing customers.

Your next signature move

What makes the email signature such an exciting marketing tool is that it can be attached onto a trusted business exchange in a discreet way. When used correctly, an email signature can easily communicate calls-to-action that make perfect sense for the recipient and promote opportunities without making them feel like a hard sell.

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