What is email signature marketing? It’s actually a rather simple concept but one that many people (understandably) mistake for email marketing. The two are not the same, however. Let’s look at the differences before we dive into why your company should be leveraging email signature marketing in its advertising and marketing initiatives.

Email Marketing is…

The process of sending out promotions, notices, announcements, and various other marketing collateral and literature via email. You have received these yourself – think of all of those emails you receive from discount airfare providers or your favorite clothing retailer – and may very well be utilizing them in your company’s own marketing campaigns.

Why Email Marketing Often Doesn’t Work

Quite simply, because most promotional emails are sent immediately to the Spam or Trash folder, either automatically (thanks to built-in email filters) or manually by the recipient. Think back to those email messages you receive announcing cheap airfare to X or affordable hotels in Y. How many do you actually open? Not many, right? That is the challenge of email marketing in a nutshell. It falls on deaf ears.

Email Signature Marketing is…

The process of utilizing your company’s outbound emails for promotional purposes. The key difference here is that you are leveraging emails that are already being sent out. For a large company (say, Microsoft or BP, for example), there may be thousands of users sending out hundreds of emails each and every day. Over the course of a year, this can amount to hundreds of millions of emails. The idea is to use the unused space at the bottom of the email message for marketing purposes. You can change this content daily, weekly, or monthly – what’s important is that you leverage this space to your advantage.

An example of email signature marketing: an email signature with branded content and offers.
Email signature marketing can take on many shapes and sizes. Here is but one example.

Why Email Signature Marketing Can Work

The biggest difference between email marketing and email signature marketing is the open rate. With email marketing, you may be lucky if five percent of recipients open your email. With email signature marketing, you can fully expect 90 to 100 percent of your recipients to open your email, as there is already a pre-existing relationship. This builds trust and understanding amongst you and your recipients. Most if not all of your recipients will already be accustomed to receiving emails from you and your team. Why not take advantage of this?

Getting Started

For email signature marketing to be effective, it pays to have some basic ground rules. These include being consistent, having a clear goal in mind, and making sure that signature content is being updated regularly. Recipients must clearly understand that the promotional offers and content within the signature are for their benefit.


Everyone within your organization should have an email signature that is uniform and consistent. In some cases, there may be differences among separate departments, but on the whole, most if not all of your company’s email signatures will be identical (save for personal information, like name and phone number). Why? The simplest answer is strength in numbers. Even among your peers, associates, and trusted customers, many email signatures will be overlooked or ignored. By ensuring all are the same, you improve your odds of the signature content having an impact. How do you ensure consistency across an entire department or organization? Particularly one as large as Microsoft, BP, or General Electric?

With centralized email signature management, of course.


You should have a clear goal in mind when it comes to email signature marketing. What is it that you want to promote? Do you want recipients to read your Blog? Are you hosting a webinar or trade event in the near future? Would you like to increase sales by way of a promotion, discount, or up-sell? Create a content calendar so that you always know what comes next. Not only is this the pragmatic thing to do, but it can help inspire future promotions and marketing initiatives as well.


An email signature that stays stagnant may as well not exist at all. It basically screams, “Don’t read me, I’m not worth your time.” For email signature marketing to be effective, you must be active – constantly creating new content and regularly offering up new materials for your email recipients. They must come to understand that the sender’s email signature is as important as the email body itself, because it contains useful, beneficial information, content, or offers. And there’s only one way to achieve this goal: by frequently updating your company’s email signature with new content that is topical and useful for your readers.

In Part Two…

We will be discussing analytics. Topics including tracking, geo tracking, where users are clicking from, how many are clicking, and more will all be dissected with a fine-tooth comb and magnifying glass. Stay tuned!