February 2006 Archives
Email signature guidelines
Make it easy for people to reach you. Whether it's the media, a prospective client or members of your own team, not being readily accessible can cost you time, money and even business.
Always include your phone number in your email signature, even if you're just replying to someone with whom you've been working. Case in point: I recently needed to contact a facility rep about a point in his proposal, but didn't have the file with me at that moment. I checked recent emails from him but none included his direct line (or any phone number for that matter). I ended up googling his facility to find the main number, then had to endure a series of phone transfers between departments before finally reaching his voice mail. The irony was all his emails include a fancy logo graphic in the signature area...with only his company name.
Automate your signature. Most email systems allow users to automate signatures. Take advantage of this feature. For instance, set up one signature for inclusion in new emails you send. Create another for inclusion in replies or interoffice emails. I have several signatures set up in Outlook and all I have to do is click on "Insert, Signatures" and select the one I want to use. It's a lot faster than typing my phone number every time I send an email!
External email - initial contact
External email - reply
Discussion list email
Don't put your email address in your signature. It's redundant since recipients already have it in the "From" line of the email. And if you insist on including graphics, such as your logo, be sure to keep them small so they download easily and don't tie up bandwidth. I'm hearing a lot of complaints about email "stationery" and large, unnecessary graphics in email.
I've Been Tagged
My friend and fellow PR colleague Doreen Perez tagged me this week so here goes:
Four Jobs I've Had:
Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
Four Favorite Dishes:
Four Websites I Visit Daily:
Four Places I'd Rather Be:
The beach - any beach
Four Bloggers I'm Tagging:
When to fire a client
One of the joys in owning your own business is the ability to choose the people with whom you will work and the work that you will do. This ability translates into a huge benefit for both you and the client. You get to work with people you enjoy and they get a professional genuinely excited about the work.
On a rare occasion however, you may have a client who turns out to be a total nightmare and you're left pulling your hair out. You've exhausted all options and there's nothing else you can do. It's time to fire the client.
Todd Defren shares his views on firing clients on the PR Squared blog (I was amused to see his thoughts were posted on Valentine's Day.
Kevin Airgid offers some good solutions for "Managing the Monster" over at Creative Behavior.
Fortunately, I've only had to fire a few clients since launching Elizabeth Charles & Associates nearly ten years ago. The first time was a bit scary as I was still getting my business up and running, but years later, I count it as one of the best business decisions I made in those early years. The amount of time and effort saved during the first week after parting company gave me a chance to breathe. Without the unnecessary stress, I was able to think more clearly and focus more attention on my own business. It paid off - I landed two new clients in less than two weeks!
So how do you recognize the signs of a potential client from hell? I'll talk about that next time.
Wendy Kurtz is President of Elizabeth Charles & Associates, a business development and strategy firm that helps executives, authors and professional speakers grow their business and realize their full revenue potential. Learn more about Wendy...
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Random Thoughts & Observations