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Janet Roberts

Getting More Out of Your Sig Lines
By Janet Roberts

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Here's one of those back-to-basics ideas that's so basic it gets overlooked in favor of more glamorous ways to promote your ezine: Use your signature line - several lines of copy that makes up a standard sign-off in email correspondence - to promote your ezine and encourage readers to sign up quickly.

Of course, this is no blinding revelation from me; it's standard advice in just about any do-it-yourself ezine tutorial. What you don't see, though, are the warnings that should accompany this potentially annoying promotion piece.

First, you need to practice economy of words. Your sig line should never be more than five lines, especially if you use it with correspondents who see your email - and sig - over and over.

A while ago, publisher Corbb O'Connor asked my help in redoing the sig line he used to promote his newsletter, Just for Webmasters.

This was the original:

Subscribe to Corbb's FREE BI-monthly newsletter, The Guided
Webmaster! Click on the following link for more information or
to subscribe:

This was the first revision:

Looking for a FREE, weekly newsletter which tells YOU how to
create, gain traffic to, and make money from your website?
Learn all the tricks of tomorrow's webmaster, today! Signup
today ...

We tweaked and fiddled with it and came up with this:

Looking for a FREE weekly newsletter which shows you how to
create, build traffic to, and make money from your website?
Learn all the tricks of tomorrow's webmaster today! Sign up
today ...

Not a major change; in fact, I still prefer the original promo. But Corbb was looking for a change. He said he gained a few more subscribers each week than when he was using the old sig line, although he has since discontinued the newsletter.

If you use a sig line in correspondence, how long has it been since you reviewed the details? I still see some publishers using sig lines with Listbot directions (that list host, which preceded List Builder, folded eight months ago). Also, you should freshen it up every so often, with the frequency depending on where and how often you use it.

Three other sig-line suggestions:

  1. Keep it short. When we moderate ‘epub,’ our ezine-publishers' discussion group, we routinely trim sig lines that run five or more lines, to keep the focus on the message and not the promotion. The rule for sig lines should echo the informal guide to ezine length: the more often you publish, the shorter it should be.

  2. Keep it simple. One sentence explaining the focus or benefit of subscribing should be enough. The most important fact is where the reader should go to sign up. Choose the most direct route, whether that's a Web-page form or an email address, and make the link active by adding http:// to a Web link and mailto: to an email address.

  3. A corollary to Rule 1: If you publish newsletters on more than one topic, create several sig lines, each one promoting a single newsletter, instead of running a monster sig line each time. You're targeting your audience more and helping your most pertinent publication stand out.

Ezine-Tips for April 03, 2002

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