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Converting mobile devices to powerful marketing tools

Corporate e-mail signatures are increasingly used as powerful, low-cost, high-return marketing tools by corporates, incorporating not just the sender's name, title and contact details, but also images, links, advertising messages, brand campaigns and more.

However, growing use of smartphones and tablets for e-mail correspondence is undermining these branding efforts as they cannot carry this messaging.

That's because e-mails sent from the latest mobile devices are generated in Plain Text, while e-mail signatures and marketing banners must be composed in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language).

Now, Johannesburg-based software as a service (SaaS) specialist, SYNAQ, has developed an easy-to-use solution to this problem for users of its popular, locally developed e-mail software, Pinpoint. Called Pinpoint Branding Text to HTML (T2H), it automatically converts Plain Text e-mails to HTML.

SYNAQ managing director Yossi Hasson says the importance of e-mail signatures cannot be underestimated.

“At its most basic, the e-mail signature is a virtual business card or ad that alerts the recipient to special news and enables them to have direct access to the corporate Web site. However, the incorporation of banners and messaging can make it much more.

“As part of a standard e-mail message, it's the most effective way of getting business cards and marketing messages to an enormous number of people. If a company has 30 employees, each of whom sends out 15 e-mails daily, then - assuming 250 business days - that's 112 500 business cards or ads distributed annually at no cost. For an organisation with 100 employees, that's 375 000 cards or ads annually.

“No wonder smart marketers work so hard at ensuring that everyone in the organisation uses the same signature format and consistent corporate messaging in their e-mails,” Hasson adds.

He points out that while desktops and notebooks can be programmed to ensure that all e-mails are composed in HTML – often a major headache for IT administrators - this is not possible with smartphones and tablets.

The result is that any corporate branding included in Plain Text e-mails generated by mobile devices or incorrectly programmed PCs is lost. The messages are sent out unbranded and unsigned.

With the new Pinpoint Branding T2H conversion feature, all Plain Text e-mails sent from mobile devices or PCs are automatically and consistently branded by the Pinpoint Branding service.

“Administrators no longer have to worry about ensuring that all end-users compose their e-mails in HTML on their PCs. All they have to do to ensure consistent corporate branding with e-mail signatures and e-mail banners across all devices and e-mail clients is to enable the T2H feature in their Pinpoint Branding application,” Hasson adds.

The T2H feature also addresses the problem of e-mail recipients who have set their PCs to receive e-mails only as Plain Text – and thus don't see any signature information included in corporate e-mails.

Pinpoint Branding automatically enables customers to apply a standard text-based signature derived from the HTML signature to the text part of the e-mail.

“The branding may be somewhat diluted, but at least the e-mail is signed and any important contact information can also be included,” Hasson concludes.