Tom’s Tech Tips

Tom’s Tuesday Tech Tip: Market FREE with Your Email Signature

Let’s look at what email signature files can do for your legal nurse consulting business. All of us use email, some of us use it sparingly, others incessantly and a few for actual business communication (you know – not “mom-spam”). In the good old days of snail mail, people sent letters using a decent grade of actual bond paper with a letterhead printed at the top – that was the signature file. Today in our increasingly paperless society, business emails are sent with a signature file at the end to promote the business and its services to every recipient.

An email signature, depending upon the email program you use, is a short file (either text or html) containing a few lines of text (and sometimes a logo) that is inserted below your name or other usual signature. Choose from the following components to create one or more signatures for your CLNC® business:

  • Your name, credentials and title.
  • Your company name, address, telephone number and fax number.
  • Your email address and website URL.
  • A quick marketing note or company vision.
  • A recent achievement, award or recognition.
  • A special offer.

Many Certified Legal Nurse Consultants create multiple signatures that they can select from depending upon the subject and the recipient of their email communication.

A few examples follow. The first is commonly one full signature advertising your business and containing your title and contact information:

Susan J. Smith, RN, MSN, CLNC
President
713.555.1212

Smith & Associates Legal Nurse Consulting
Providing Quality Legal Nurse Consulting Services since 1994
1313 Mockingbird Lane, Suite B, Mockingbird Heights, CA 91210
SmithNAssociates.com
Phone: 713.555.1212
________________________________________________________

Another might be a shorter one that just contains the name and title so that you’re not overwhelming your recipients:

Susan J. Smith, RN, MSN, CLNC
President
713.555.1212
________________________________________________________

The next might be one stating that the communication is private, privileged or confidential.

Susan J. Smith, RN, MSN, CLNC
President
713.555.1212

CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT
This is a confidential and/or privileged communication. Any additional dissemination or copying of this electronic communication is strictly prohibited. If you received this communication in error, please notify us immediately at 713.555.1212 and permanently delete and/or destroy the original and any electronic or printed copies of this communication, including any attachments.
________________________________________________________

The last may be one containing a HIPAA statement (don’t use a signature file including a “confidentiality notice” or “protected under HIPAA” notice unless the message actually is confidential or protected under HIPAA). If you are sending Personal Healthcare Information (PHI) that may be covered under HIPAA, you’ll need to talk with your attorney-client about the policies for their office and how she wants you to proceed. For most plaintiff work after suit is filed, the information generally falls out from under the HIPAA HIPPO. For defense work if no suit has been filed, you’ll be working under the defense firm’s guidelines. At a bare minimum, you must send a test email first and verify that the recipient’s email address is correct. Then make sure to send any PHI as an encrypted attachment and that no specially protected PHI (i.e. HIV/AIDS, substance abuse treatment information or mental health information is included).

Example:

Susan J. Smith, RN, MSN, CLNC
President
713.555.1212

The materials in this email are private and may contain Protected Healthcare Information (PHI). If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that any unauthorized use, disclosure, copying, distribution, or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately at 713.555.1212 and permanently delete and/or destroy the original and any electronic or printed copies of this communication, including any attachments.
________________________________________________________

Back in the bad old days when bandwidth was at a premium, it was netiquette to try and keep your signature short – that is between 4-6 lines of 80 characters or less and to use plain text instead of html. I still recommend this today (even though I break those rules). Plain text keeps its formatting and style no matter what kind of email reader your recipient is using and will also maintain that format when it’s forwarded – something html doesn’t always do.

Another bit of signature netiquette is to only use the full signature on the initial email. If you get a reply and your first communication remains in the body of the email – use only your short signature in any replies – not the full signature (especially if it’s long). Either use an extra-short (name, title, phone extension) or use no signature at all when communicating inside a network as an employee. And finally, if your email client allows you (like Outlook®) the flexibility of switching signatures, set your default signature to “none.” Then it’s easy to select the one you want when you’re ready to send.

Keep on Techin’,

Tom

P.S. Comment to share your best email signature marketing strategy.

7 thoughts on “Tom’s Tuesday Tech Tip: Market FREE with Your Email Signature

  1. I am embarrassed to ask this, but I cannot figure out how to do an email signature. I want it to include the NACLNC® logo as well.

  2. Julie,
    Every email client (that’s tech-speak for ‘program’) is different. I’d recommend that you do a Google search by typing in “How do I set up a signature using [your program name]?” Almost every possible question has been asked and answered so I’ll bet that will help.

    Then, if that doesn’t help, contact your Internet provider for help (if they’re the one who gave you or recommended the email program). You should be able to include the logo as an image – ask the help desk at the same time you call about the signature.

  3. Julie,

    I too have been wondering how everybody has been getting those pretty signatures with their business names and contact info at the end of their emails. After reading Tom’s blog this morning, I was determined that I was going to conquer this challenge after many attempts with no success.

    Like Tom said, each Internet provider is probably different, but if you have AOL as your provider, look all the way to the top of the home screen where you see the words File, Edit, Mail. Click on Mail. This gives you several options and you need to pick Set Mail Signatures. Then it is pretty self explanatory after that. It comes up with a block that has create, edit etc., at the bottom and you create your email signature using what font size, style or color you want.

    Good luck!

  4. Thanks for the info on HIPAA and confidentiality. Living in the medical world exclusively for a long time, I was shocked to learn PHI is generally not protected for the plaintiff once a case is filed.

    I have set up email signatures at work and once you figure out where to start it isn’t difficult.

    I enjoy the blog!

  5. I use Gmail, and although it offers a lot of great features, the signature is a weak area. I can only create one signature and I cannot include a logo (such as the NACLNC® logo). If you use Gmail, simply go to settings and you will see the page that includes signatures.

    I get around this by saving my other signatures as drafts and pasting them when needed. I learned early from Tom and Vickie not to have a confidentiality clause on all email to my clients. I would love to have the NACLNC® logo shining brightly…alas!

  6. Not all the plaintiff’s PHI becomes “generally unprotected” once suit is filed. That’s why I recommend you work with your attorney-client to stay within his/her policies on this matter — whether you’re working for the plaintiff or defense.

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