Classic Dojo, back at shamelessly stealing from the business world once again…
Bear with us, bear with us. Long-lasting results are worth momentary boredom, no?
We're vocal in our belief that best practices from the fields of business can take an actor’s game to the next level. After all, being an actor essentially is being a small business.
Today we're going to tackle the sexiness that is the email signature.
But look, the ten minutes we take to set this bad boy up now could result in a career's worth of residual results. Stack. Those. Odds. Baby.
What the hell be an "email signature" anyway?
An email signature is a small block of text and/or media added to the bottom of emails. The deceptively effective example we're probably most familiar with is "Sent from my iPhone". Which, for us as actors, is an outrageous waste of a marketing opportunity. Apple doesn't need our help with their branding. They're doing pretty alright by themselves.
An email signature is also likely to be the last thing we see before closing or replying to that message. "Last impressions have a lasting impression", as the saying goes, so while they're criminally underappreciated, email signatures have the potential to separate us from the pack and keep us out front.
Further, email clients have now made it possible to set up more than one email signature per email address. Which is a godsend if we wear multiple hats but operate out of one inbox.
Relevance in Actor Land
As actors, we spend a significant portion of our time effectively striving to stand out to various "gate-keepers". If we're repped, our team spend the majority of their days doing the very same as well.
We can think of many aspects of digital marketing (i.e. email signatures, casting profiles, social media accounts etc.) as a 24/7/365 (or 366) version of us and our team. They exist in the virtual realm, working their booties off non-stop on our behalf.
Back in 2015, the Radicati Group released a report stating the average office worker receives about 121 emails per day. Not only is this figure naturally going to be higher today (a recent study by McKinsey found that 28% of the average workweek is now spent corresponding via email), but we can sure as hell bet in-demand casting directors, producers, executives etc. are dealing with even more. And a good chunk of them will be coming from our fellow actors.
This being so, we're wise to give ourselves an edge wherever we can.
Hello, sexy email signatures!
We strongly encourage actors to include a headshot in their email signature. If our full name and headshot are all we have our email signature be, awesome, we automatically place ourselves in the forward-thinking minority.
Humans are visual creatures. We respond to images at a deeper level than we do text, and this effect is compounded if the image is of another human face. Yes, our headshot is our "calling card" as actors, but we’re talking about an innate Homosapien wiring to connect and trust here too. Let's imagine we're a casting director: we open our inbox to 121 emails, two of which feature smiley little headshots in the email signature (sent by badass Dojo actors), the other 119 are monotonous rows of black text with no email signature at all. Which would we be more drawn towards?
If we do decide to go beyond the name-and-headshot combo, we level up yet again. Links are the next tools we can most benefit from. Instead of leaving our reader with just one way to engage with us (i.e. via email), we simply — unobtrusively — offer them an alternative or two. This could be a link to our website, casting profile(s), social feed(s), the trailer of our next release… Whatever feels relevant and of value.
Let's get buildin'
Before we get building ourselves, here's an actual, real-life screenshot of what Tahlia's personal signature looks like today:
It's previously been fancier — both in terms of design and content — but since jumping on the minimalist bandwagon (hi fellow homies!), this is what it's been pared down to. And it's proven just as effective as the more elaborate iterations. The two links ("actor" and "writer") direct to two separate Linktrees that then list out all the places people can go to explore further.
This won't sail everyone's ship, and nor is it supposed to. What matters is that we have something in place (that ISN'T "Sent from my iPhone") and that it vibes with us. Remember, as our digital "representation", our email signature should represent us.
Some items we may want to consider playing with include:
- Full name
- Titles (e.g. "actor", "actor-muso" etc.)
- Mobile number
- Hyperlinked website (if we have one)
- Hyperlinked casting profiles (e.g. Spotlight, Showcast etc.)
- Hyperlinked social feeds (if we use professionally)
As with many things in life (and not just in minimalist land), less is more:
- Keep the text lean, about three lines max
- Stick to a monochrome scheme, potentially injecting a colour or two if our soul feels called to (this can work particularly well if we match the colours in our headshot)
- Use web-safe font types (think Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Georgia, Trebuchet, Verdana etc.)
- Space the individual elements well, leaving just enough room to be easily thumb-tappable on mobile devices
We personally choose to build our email signature on Gmail directly to ensure it'll be optimised for different browsers and devices. However, some folks swear by their Canva or WiseStamp creations, so if that feels like the way for you, go for your life.
If you're wanting to opt for the email-client-direct option, the flow is as follows. We operate on Gmail, but the steps are similar across all major email providers.
- Go to Settings (the cog icon in the top right-hand corner)
- Click "See all settings"
- On the page that opens ("General") scroll down to the "Signature" field
- Click "Create new"
- Enter your signature name then hit "Create"
- Add your headshot by tapping on "Insert Image" (the little mountain icon)
- Enter your desired text and links
- Scroll to the very bottom and hit "Save Changes"
Important final step: send a test email before launching into full beast mode. Let's be sure this spicy piece of digital marketing displays as we intend it to, and all the links direct to the correct pages. If it does, go get 'em, legend. If not, return to Settings and edit and adjust until we've got it juuust right (à la Goldilocks).
For the most part, we can now kick back and leave our new "representation" to work its magic. Of course, we can always return to make updates when necessary, but it's largely a set-and-forget situation once we have something locked in.
Worth the momentary boredom? We hope so.
Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.