Automation Studio Outlook Signature Cloud Banners: Make every email sell your story!

Five reasons why running advertising creatives on your email signatures is a great idea:

  1. Market your organisations products and services on every email your entire organisation sends out
  2. Automatically keep your existing customers up to date on your latest offers
  3. Empower marketing to create and manage campaign creatives outside of I.T.
  4. Use as free A/B ad testing platform, use ad tracking data to gauge ad performance
  5. Cost per click (CPC) = ZERO!

Do you like the idea of free advertising?

Surely everyone would answer this question with a resounding ‘YES’ however most would ask a follow up question of ‘What’s the catch?’. Well there is none. Whilst marketing departments might plough many thousands of pounds into Google Ads or LinkedIn campaigns, it’s quite possible they overlooked a premium advertising space that is right under their noses and completely free to use. We are talking of course, about the area of white space that sits underneath your company email signatures.

Make every email sell your story!

With Automation Studio Outlook Signatures, you automatically improve the quality of your organisations email signatures (delivering a more consistent, coordinated and professional impression on your customers). With our campaign banner functionality, you get to strap a virtual sandwich board on to every single member of your organisation. The entire workforce would then (without having to actually ‘do’ anything) dutifully spread whatever wonderfully crafted messaging your marketing guys come up with.

If you have 50 people emailing in your company, then you have 50 people advertising your services that were not doing so before. Most of their emails are to clients, so that’s great to get new offers / reinforcement. There’s also a ‘halo effect’ in ‘non customer’ contact, so staff emailing suppliers, family and friends, the vet, school, who knows – everyone gets the message.

The key here is we feel *passionately* that every email that leaves an organisation has to not only ‘look’ the part first, but also – what’s wrong with it also ‘selling the part’ too? After all – it’s company email – it’s a completely untapped resource with huge opportunities.

Choose your banners: Local or Cloud?

There are two features within Automation Studio which enable a ‘Banner Ad’ like functionality: Local Banners, and Cloud Banners.

Local banners

Included in Automation Studio Enterprise Edition, Local Banners are essentially ‘placement’ areas for images within signatures, and these banner images are taken from ‘locally’ inside your business, perhaps on a network share. So you set the placement area up in our Outlook Signature designer, tell it where the source for the image(s) from and that’s it.

With multiple signature templates for different teams, you would now be able to assign different banner sources, and therefore different banner images to different teams. When more than one banner image exists in a directory, the image is shuffled when the user logs in.

Updating a banner image, or batch of images in a set of local Banners is very easy. All that needs to be done is to physically change the images out on the network share, there is no need to touch any of your Outlook Signature configuration. As such, images could theoretically be batch created and therefore automatically updated, if that was what you wanted to do.

The big difference with Local Banners vs Campaign Banners, is that as these images exist on your premises, images and the use of them are not ‘tracked ‘so you get no metrics back from users clicking on them. If you created some special links for your network banners, then you could at least glean some click metrics that way.

To set up Local Banners:

Step 1: Open your email signature template and select where you would like to place your banner

Step 2: Click the ‘Campaign Banner’ icon (top right) to bring up the banner type selection screen. Click ‘Local Banner’

Step 3: Paste in the network share / resource where you banner images reside. After you paste in, your banner images will appear in a preview window below. If you have multiple images, use the arrows to shuffle through them to preview all banner images you have loaded in.

Step 4: That’s it – your local banner(s) are now all set. Whoever has this signature template assigned will see the banner appear to all their outgoing email the next time they log in. Every time they login after the banner image will shuffle if multiple banners were used.

Cloud Banners

Automation Studio Platinum Edition ships with Local Banner functionality, but also includes the more advanced variant, Cloud Banners.

Cloud Banners work quite differently from Local Banners, in that the campaign images themselves are uploaded to a portal which we run. Because these images are ‘centrally stored’ it’s now possible to collect campaign metrics such as impressions, clicks and more information such as IP address, country etc.

Having the banner images loaded in to a portal means that it’s much easier for Marketing Departments to manage banners, and they can do so from anywhere. There is no need to update images on a local network share as would be required for Local Banners.

To set up Cloud Banners:

Step 1: Load your campaign images into the Cloud Banner portal. Make a note of the ‘Campaign ID’ provided’ (not visible in this screen shot).

Step 2: After clicking the Campaign Banner icon in Outlook Signature Designer, click ‘Cloud Banners’ option

Step 3: Enter the 12 Digit Campaign ID that was generated in step 1, you will then see your banner preview appear, just like with Local Banners, you can use the arrows to shuffle through your Cloud Banners to preview them

Step 4: Your Cloud Banner placeholder is now complete, and shows your unique campaign ID.

How the completed signature / banner combination looks when sent with Outlook

Suggestion: Keep your Outlook Signature banner ads bright, interesting and informative!

So now we have empowered you with the ability to leverage Outlook as an extremely cost effective advertising platform, it’s important not to go completely mad, and start hard selling ads over email.

We are using a ‘personal communication’ space to transfer messaging, so it’s important that images you use for Outlook banners, convey a ‘softer’ message, less pushy, more interesting and informative. If you don’t have the in house marketing skills to do this, we would certainly recommend employing the services of a professional marketing agency to take this task on – it will result in much better engagement.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *