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Exercising Your Send Glands (Email Signatures as Social Media Tools)


NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral Metrics I wrote a series (see links below) on some NextStage research regarding how people could use their email signatures for social media purposes.

I wrote that post because several times a month someone contacts me regarding something in my email signature — and it’s a long signature file — to tell me they followed a link, need some help, would like to schedule a consultation, want to get involved in our programs, …

Using your send glands really pays, if you know how to use them.

As with last month’s Blogging 101 post, the material in this post was offered at an Intro to Social Media workshop I taught a few months back.

And as with that post, I’m now going to share some of the teachings regarding email signature as social media tools with you:

My signature (what some people call my other “book”) is at the bottom of this and all my emails. I update it regularly (usually twice a week minimum so there’s always a reason to look through it should you receive an email from me). Email signatures are another social media tool and what follows are suggestions for how to use your signature file accordingly.

  • Note that my signature appears in smaller font that the bulk of the email (in most email readers, anyway). This is a visual clue to readers that the “text and tone” of the email content has changed. It lets them know they don’t have to read any further, that the meat of the email is complete.However, the smaller font is also a non-conscious visual signal to pay attention. Nine times out of ten the non-conscious signal wins and the smaller font gets skimmed if not completely read. In either case, it’s done its job by promoting myself, my causes, my work, my publications, so on and so forth.
  • Remember I mentioned a hook during the 22 Apr workshop? Notice my opening quote. Definitely not an overused one. I cycle these quotes often. Some are sincere, some whimsical, some are research findings. What they all have in common is that I picked them to be signature quotes, therefore they tell the email recipient something about me.
  • Next comes my “identity” block. It shares my affiliations and lets people know that several nationally and internationally known entities think I’m pretty. In short, it gives me credibility.
  • Next comes my “organization” block. It’s what most people include in their signatures. Mine includes some standard ways to learn about me.
  • Next comes shameless self-promotion, but with a difference. I start with what I want people to do (a link to NextStage’s online store), then a comment from Gartner, an internationally recognized consulting organization. This quote gives everything that follows credibility (for those who are familiar with Gartner. The majority of people I correspond with are).
  • Next comes what I’ve written recently. At least twice a month people contact me because they directly or indirectly received an email from me, followed those links and wanted to get in touch about work, consulting, tools, …
  • Finally I list where I’ll be appearing, teaching, anything indicating where and when I’ll be publicly available. People may not be sure about doing business with me and being able to see me is often their first step to becoming more involved.
  • Lastly there’s a standard “caveat” block indicating that this is a privileged email and if you weren’t the intended recipient, delete it. Nobody ever does and it’s a necessary evil.

(and now, my signature as of 11 May 08 (the day I’m entering this post into the CAS blogging system). Note that smaller fonts may not show up as smaller fonts due to blogging system publishing constraints)

A mathematical problem should be difficult in order to entice us, yet not completely inaccessible, lest it mock at our efforts. It should be to us a guide post on the mazy paths to hidden truths, and ultimately a reminder of our pleasures in the successful solution. – David Hilbert

<an email link>Joseph Carrabis</link>
CRO and Founder, NextStage Evolution
Senior Research Fellow and Advisory Board Member, Society for New Communications Research
Director, Predictive Analytics and Senior Fellow, Center for Adaptive Solutions
Advisor, WAWB – Save the Children
Scientists Without Borders

NextStage Evolution, LLC
49 Brinton Dr
Nashua, NH 03064-1274
603 577 4575 voice, 603 791 4627 fax
You can find me on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Skype (as nseJDC).

NextStage: Results. Nothing else. Nothing Less.

This email message and any attachments are confidential and may be privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify NextStage by replying to this message or by sending an email to
and destroy all copies of this message and any attachments. Thank you.

(and now, back to this blog entry)

The only extra piece is that an email signature with as many links as mine could get kicked out by some email spam systems. Should you regularly have that many links in your signature it may be worthwhile removing the link farm and including something like “Subscribe to NextStage’s RSS feed Subscribe to NextStage's KnowledgeShop's RSS feed to learn automatically when new blogs, books, papers, presentations, tools and trainings are available” instead.

Links for this post:

Upcoming Trainings:

Come on by and say hello.

RVMsmallfrontcover.jpgYou can follow me and my research on Twitter. I don’t twit often but when I do, it’s with gusto!

Have you read my latest book, Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History? It’s a whoppin’ good read and An Economy of Meaning readers get a 25% off the list price of all NextStage research by entering ECOMEAN1 when they purchase.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 2010/08/28 1:07 pm

    I was recently looking at best practices on this very topic. Thank you for this post, Joseph.

  2. 2010/08/29 9:14 am

    Hello, Jamie,
    I’m glad you found this useful. Please let me know if there’s something more or other I can offer.


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