It's your signature.
While many of us communicate more than we ever imagined via messages on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and many other networks, we still rely on email as our main communication stream.
Regardless of your social media savvy, you will surely agree that you still send more business proposals via email than any other means, short of possibly doing so with snail mail, or my preference, the original real-time method, face-to-face.
Why then are so many people shooting themselves in the foot by sporting email signatures that are laden with logos and buttons that connect to their Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles? My guess is they do not understand these HTML images practically guarantee their vital communication will be pushed into the junk folder of the intended recipient. Of course, the same goes for their e-newsletters, which have a variety of other problems that drive away customers.
I understand this tendency so I make a conscious effort to regularly check my junk folder. Is this something you can count on your prospects to do? I don't think so. It's not worth it! For the sake of time we all move forward. And that is what your prospects are doing. They are moving ahead with what is clearly in front of them, which is your competitor's proposal.
As a former landscape architect, I am tuned into design. And as an art lover, I appreciate color and the wonderful things designers can do with it. However, as a businessman, I know that I have to temper my creative urges with my need to convey a message, as raw and stripped-down as it may have to be to safely arrive within the inbox of my targeted decision maker.
This is not an economy where you want to take a chance on missing an opportunity. I know, because I recently missed one because I assumed my client would be sure to include me in their mix for an upcoming event. I was wrong. I am sorry and so are they, but that doesn't change anything. All I can do is look ahead to their 2011 event.
Do yourself a huge favor and stop sending emails that include anything other than text, links,and attachments. If you need to send graphic images, they will normally arrive safely as attachments, but a link is still the surest method. If you have images embedded in your email signature or the body of your email correspondence, which includes your pretty logo and "follow me on Twitter" badge, you run the risk of missing your target up to 50% of the time.
This is one of those "you don't know what you don't know" things, but it is easy enough to fix. Go green - lighten up your signature to only text and links. That's the solution. Now you can sleep well knowing that you have effectively communicated, which was your initial intention, wasn't it?
With that said, how good do you want to be? It is always a good practice to follow-up. Ask for a confirmation of receipt at the close of your email. If you don't get one. Make a telephone call.
You will thank yourself for it.
I guarantee it.
Photo Credit: Narisa