E-mail Blasts: Using Outlook’s Signatures

In a previous post, I’ve stressed the importance of a relevant subject line as a key to getting the recipients of your e-mail blast to open and read your message.  Time spent writing a good subject line is time well spent.  A subject line that is relevant to the recipient’s interest will greatly increase the open rate for your e-mail blast.

For more information on this important topic, Google “writing subject lines for email blasts” and you’ll find web sites, videos, and PDF documents that will help you write winning subject lines that can greatly improve your open rates.

Today, I’d like to talk about the body copy of the e-mail, and common sense again says that a well written message will out-perform a message that was drafted in haste.  The good news is that for any “standard” message (such as a “Let’s Stay in Touch” message to finalist candidates on a particular search), Microsoft Outlook offers a very useful tool that goes by the name of “signatures”.

The term “signature” in Outlook refers not only to the signature block that can be appended to the bottom of any new message that you create, but to any number of “canned” or stored messages of any length.

I use Outlook signatures when people upgrade from an older version of RESUMate to the current version, or when people purchase RESUMate for the first time.  These signatures are complete messages that may run to several paragraphs.

For me, these are important messages that need to get a job done, in this case the successful installation of the RESUMate program, and so are worth careful drafting to avoid misunderstandings.  They are identical to messages that I would create individually, but once I’ve created an Outlook signature, I can use the same message over and over again, which is both a time saver plus insures consistency over time.

Here are a few examples of standard messages that a recruiter may find useful:

  • A fee agreement message
  • An acknowledgment of a signed agreement
  • Information about a new opportunity to selected candidates
  • A reminder to a candidate to send a fresh resume
  • A request to a placed candidate for referrals
  • A request to finalist candidates for referrals
  • A request to a hiring manager for a testimonial
  • A thank you note to finalist candidates
  • A “let’s stay in touch” message to hiring managers from past assignments
  • A “let me introduce myself” message to prospective new clients

These are important messages that deserve careful drafting.  Requests for referrals can pay immediate dividends, and a few well-written sentences can establish you as a credible business associate with whom to exchange information.

The procedure for creating signatures will vary depending on the version of Outlook that you are using.  I use Outlook 2007, so my clicks are Tools/Options/Mail Format. In the Mail Format dialog box, click the Signatures button.

If you’re uncertain how to find this Signatures dialog, touch F1 from anywhere in Outlook, and type the word “signatures” into the search box.  One of your choices will be “Create and include a signature in outgoing message.”

Since you’re going to be using a signature over and over, possibly for months or even years to come, it’s worth taking the time to create a quality message.  You can certainly lay out your signature so that you can fill in some specific information, once the signature appears in your message.

So, for example, if you have a signature informing candidates of a new job opportunity, you can add the specifics about the employer and job into a larger message that includes well written credibility statements about yourself and your company.  If you specialize in an area, include some convincing sentences that let the recipient know that you have depth of knowledge in his or her specialty, and so you’re the right recruiter to represent this candidate exclusively.

When sending a BCC message from Outlook, use RESUMate’s E-mail Clipboard Copier to fill in the BCC line in the outgoing mail, type in a relevant subject line, and then click “Signature” in the main Outlook tool bar above your message.  You’ll see a list of all of the signatures you’ve created.  Select the appropriate signature name, and click Send.  It’s fast and easy, and your well written message will help get the results you’re looking for.

If you use the “E-mail Merge Pro” program that I referenced in a previous post to send personalized mail, you can also use an Outlook Signature to send a message in which the recipient’s name appears in the body copy of the message.

Finally, signatures work just as well when sending individual messages, not just messages that are part of an e-mail blast.  Having well written messages that cover all of the standard topics that you deal with on a regular basis is more than a time saver.  Signatures are a good tool to insure that you always “look your best” when communicating with candidates and hiring managers.

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