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
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
New Speaker Video http://www.antion.com/speakervideo.htm
Tom Antion Communications http://www.antion.com
"A Rare Mix of Business and
Keynotes/Seminars and Advanced Presentation
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
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
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
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.
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
Organize your email
Reduce the impact of SPAM email
The greatest keyboard shortcuts
Respond to emails while you sleep with
Using templates so you never have to reinvent the
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