Closing sales deals remains the top priority for marketers and salespeople. This is according to research conducted by Hubspot on 6200 professionals from 99 countries. 69% of the markers polled said they would want to generate more leads while 75% of the salespeople polled would like to close more sales deals. However, both teams maintained that the process is getting harder.
This is indeed concerning because companies rely on sales and marketing teams for their success. A successful lead generation process is therefore not negotiable; even though the process gets harder, stakeholders in the process always look for new ways to fill their pipeline.
For lead generation teams, every contact point represents an opportunity to turn prospects into leads. it also takes a combination of skills, and the application of lead generation best practices and techniques.
Key among those lead generation techniques is email marketing; it is a time-proven technique for reaching, nurturing and converting prospects.
Several aspects of email marketing prove useful when it comes to lead generation. But for the purposes of this article, we will discuss email signatures and how sales leaders use email signatures to increase their sales closing rates. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the impact of email.
Is email marketing that big?
The answer to that question is “Yes, email marketing is big”. According to Radicati, roughly 293 billion emails will be sent or received daily in 2019 and this number is projected to grow in the years to come.
Email is the preferred method for business communication, say 86% of business professionals. Yet sadly, for such as impactful marketing and lead generation channel, 59% of b2b companies do not use email marketing, according to the 2019 State of B2B email marketing report
One could argue that due to crowded inboxes, emails are not likely to be read by their intended targets. But there are ways to increase the open rate, such as:
- Personalizing email messages
- Using an impactful subject line
- Reaching the right decision-makers
- Being relevant by providing value and addressing pain points
- Including CTAs
With these points in place, the email signature of every email that your prospects open represents a key opportunity to connect with that person through any of your active channels: phone, email, social media, website, tradeshows, etcetera.
Below are reasons why you should optimize your email signature for lead generation purposes.
7 ways to generate leads with your email signature
While it’s okay to exit your business emails with a generic sign off like “Kind Regards, Patrick Doe, Area Sales manager”, a sign off like that doesn’t tell your prospects anything about you, your company, or your product. It doesn’t advance your goals at all.
As you cannot fit in every important detail in one email, the signature becomes the place where you can put relevant details that will lead prospects to your other resources, and to the actions you intend them to take.
Note however that when it comes CTAs, choose one or two that will drive the intended results. Otherwise, you risk crowding your email signature by including too many CTAs.
Here’s how to leverage your email signatures:
1. Share your work calendar
Lack of prompt response is one of the reasons why companies lose valuable leads. Due to your busy schedule, you will now always be immediately available to respond to your emails. Since your prospects or customers don’t know your schedule, they could give up if your phone goes to voice mail.
It is quite possible for people to assume that a phone call that goes to voice mail means you never pick up the phone.
To prevent this from happening, do the following to offer helpful information about your schedule and as such manage your customers’ expectations and prevent disappointment:
a. Indicate alternative contact details for home, office and travel. Who on which one you can be currently reached.
For instance: I am currently travelling: Text me on (+1 234 567 891) and I will get back to you within xx hours.
Notice it says “text” and not “call”. This is because when travelling, you may not be immediately reachable on phone.
b. Notify prospects and customers of the hours and days during which you are available
For instance: I’m in meetings today. I will be available at “1100hrs to 1200 hrs. and 1500hrs to 1700hrs”
Note that it’s always good to put your out-of-office even for a short period such as a lunch break. You may assume that prospects will automatically know you are out for lunch, but this is not always the case, especially if there are time differences to consider.
An out-of-office informs your prospects of this fact and reassures them that they will hear from you once done with lunch.
c. Invite contacts to schedule a meeting
You can do this by including a link to your scheduling page so that customers can choose a time that suits them perfectly. This proactive approach prevents back-and-forth conversations and allows ready prospects to move on to the next step immediately.
2. Promote company Events
If you have any upcoming events, including such details in your signature is a great way to inform customers and prospects and get them to sign up. Below are some examples of CTAs to include in your email signature if you have events:
- Include a registration link. E.g “Register here”
- Increase urgency with sign-up discounts. E.g “sign up now to get discounted tickets”
- Pass information. E.g “click here” to learn more about our trade show/new product
You can also link to your teaser campaigns for your events or product launches.
Update your LinkedIn page or website so that all these links lead to updated information resources.
3. Educate prospects
Inbound marketing resources allow prospects to do their own research before they engage with a vendor. As such, it is crucial to have a solid strategy that inches prospects into the decision-making stage from the first contact.
Through your email signature, you can include links to resources such as videos, white papers, eBooks, case studies, blog posts and webinars. These links will also help you track valuable data to rate the effectiveness of your campaigns.
For this purpose, a CTA like this would suffice: “Download our latest case study here.”
4. Leverage customer testimonials
Reviews and customer testimonials are important for boosting conversions. According to research by Fan and Fuel, 35% of customers are less likely to buy if they can’t find reviews, 32% will hold off on buying until they do more research, 23% will have a harder time arriving at a buying decision, while 2% will not buy.
This shows the kind of influence that trusted reviews have on increasing your closing rate.
So why not use your email signature to lead your prospects to your customer testimonials? Whenever you email a prospect, you can either:
- Include a link to your reviews and testimonials pages or videos
- Include a catchy quote from one of your trusted customers
- Show your review rating
5. Make company announcements
If you have any announcements to make or the latest news to share, you can do it in your email signature. For instance,
- The launch of a new product. You can direct customers to a landing page for the product
- A free product trial or product demo
- Rebranding news
- Latest business performance
6. Find social media followers
You can increase your social media following in an organic way by adding social icons to your email signature. As mentioned above, for this tactic to work, your social media profiles should be updated with relevant content and should also portray high engagement.
It’s more effective to use social media icons as opposed to long URLs as icons are instantly identifiable and give a cleaner look to your signature. A good example is this email signature inspiration from WiseStamp.
7. Form a connection with prospects
According to research, people are more likely to remember images with people than those without. Not only does including a face make your signature more memorable, but it also helps the prospect to “put a face to the name” and feel a connection with a rep beforehand. Photos also make a deal appear legitimate, increasing chances of CTA conversion.
Earlier in this post, we mentioned that including a priority CTA is better than including too many CTAs, thus clogging up your email sign up. The email signature below is a good example of this best practice.
“Request a demo” clearly stands out because of font size, font colour and placement. It is also the only CTA in the sign-up, hence prospects are unlikely to get sidetracked.
All the examples above have one thing in common. They all direct prospects towards a call-to-action. Having a CTA banner below a signature has been shown to increase the engagement rate.
From endorsing your offering to offering discounts and offers and increasing subscription rates and downloads, tailored email signatures will give your lead generation efforts a significant boost in the right direction. Not to mention, tailored email signatures make your emails more attractive and thus more likely to be read.
While leveraging your email signature will positively impact your closing rates, it is easy for this tactic to work against you if you use it wrong. Some of the things you could do wrong include:
- Adding too many phone numbers, email address or social profile
- Adding links to resources that are not up to date
- Including too many graphics
- Including too many CTAs
To maximize the efficiency of your email signatures, integrate your email campaigns with your CRM software, to allow you to change your email signatures to suit your leads’ or prospects’ position in the sales funnel. For instance, if a lead has gone cold, include a discount offer in your sign off.
If a lead is further down the funnel, include “request a demo’. If a lead is at the top of the funnel, include links to further information sources.
Lastly, it’s always important to remember that the goal of your signature is to push prospects down the funnel with the ultimate aim of closing a sale.
There are a lot of things that go into making this happen and you may not have the expertise or time to get it right. If this is the case for you, it’s always best to contact an agency that provides lead generation services.
Abbey Houston is a PR at Unbound B2B. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing.