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Premiere Issue December 2001

Computer / Automation Technique
A Better Way 
to Use the Signature File Function

People ask me all the time how I get so much done. My answer is always the same. "I learn to make the computer do the work for me." Now don't get me wrong. I don't want to get the reputation that I'm a techie because I'm not. I just learn the bare minimum necessary to get my job done.

Many of the tools that you probably already have on your computer are very powerful if you would only learn how to use them. Today we are going to talk about one specific email automation feature that I'm virtually sure you already have that can enormously increase your productivity. 

Signature Files
Most email programs have a function that allows you to add your name, address, phone number, email address, website, brief advertisement, etc. to the end of your emails. You can either set it to add the information automatically or you can add the information manually. It's normally your choice. This block of information is called a "Signature file" or "Sig file" for short.

Here's a sample of one of mine:

Get your free Subscription to Great Speaking Ezine 
New Speaker Video 

Tom Antion Communications 

"A Rare Mix of Business and Entertainment"

Keynotes/Seminars and Advanced Presentation Skills

Voice 1-757-431-1366 Fax 1-757-431-2050
Box 9558, Virginia Beach, VA 23450


This is added automatically to the end of emails I send out through Microsoft Outlook. If I don't want this sig file to be used, I have a variety of them ready to go to suit the nature of the recipient to which I'm sending the email. For instance if the recipient is already on my Ezine, I might sent them a different sig file encouraging them to join my associate program. 

Even AOL gives you the capability to have five or six different sig files. Outlook gives me an unlimited number that I can create and choose from and this is where it starts to get really helpful. 

Repetitive text
The cool thing is that you don't have to use the sig file as a sig file. It can be used for any kind of text and popped into your email anywhere you want it.. You can imagine that with the size of my "Great Speaking" Ezine (over 100,000 subscribers) I get all kinds of questions that are similar. If I had to take the time to create a custom response for each person that wrote me, I would never get anything else done. When I recognize that I've had a question before, I type the response and then copy it to use in the sig file area. That way I never have to type it again when I get a similar email from someone else.

You can use this for all types of boilerplate text about your products and services. It will save you an enormous amount of time.

Here's a sample of my response when people ask me about my Internet consulting services: (all I have to do is put in their first name and hit send. My investment in time is no more than 10 seconds)


I help people get their websites designed "properly." By properly I mean that anyone can make one that looks nice. The marketing aspects to suit the nature of search engines and directories must be worked into the site.

Then I teach them how to use email effectively (this is where all the money comes from).

Then I teach them product development.

I also keep them from making the costly mistakes that I made along the way and provide a sounding board for their ideas and someone to talk to when they need expert help.

I also find trustworthy people to do the work that they either can't or don't want to do. These people don't mess up with my referrals because they know they won't get any more from me if they do.

I highly recommend that you find some way to get to one of my Butt Camps. This way you gain most of the knowledge you need to get started at a minimum cost. I can tell you these things on the phone, but it will cost alot more.

Next best would be to get the Butt Camp CD. It will give you five hours of training and you can watch it over and over. We now also have the entire Butt Camp on audio tape.

For distance consulting my three hour starter package is $750 and eight hours is $1600.00

Let me know what works best for you.



You should still customize
When you pop in one of these boilerplate responses it's still a good idea to put the name of the person at the top in the Dear Joe area. Also, just because you've popped in a block of text, doesn't mean that you can't edit it a little bit as necessary to make sense in a particular email.

Sometimes you don't have to customize. I remember recently doing a large TeleSeminar and at the last minute people were emailing because they lost the instruction email and the phone number to call. No problem. I already had all the details set up in a sig file. I was busy as heck, but in less than two seconds I was able to get them the info they needed.

More techniques:

  • To get to your desktop immediately without minimizing all your programs hold down the Windows key (little Windows icon near the bottom left of your keyboard) and hit letter "D"

  • To get to your file listings in Windows explorer again hold down the Windows key and hit the letter "E"


Upcoming topics for this section

  • Pop in strings of repetitive text anywhere (not just in email)

  • Organize your email

  • Reduce the impact of SPAM email

  • The greatest keyboard shortcuts

  • Respond to emails while you sleep with autoresponders

  • Using templates so you never have to reinvent the wheel

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