Sigstr Aims to Unlock the Marketing Potential of E-mail Signatures

Bryan Wade, the new CEO of Indianapolis-based startup Sigstr, says e-mail is the next great marketing frontier. This insight comes after having spent more than a decade as a digital marketer, including a stint serving as the chief product officer for Salesforce Marketing Cloud just before taking the reins at Sigstr.

The average business, he explains, has 100 employees sending 10,000 to 20,000 e-mails each per year.

“That’s millions of interactions,” he says. “As a marketer, you’re always looking for a new channel, and we saw a big opportunity in integrating content into e-mails.”

Wade says Sigstr’s software turns corporate e-mail signatures into a marketing channel, where staff can reinforce branding strategies and create tailored sales pitches. By incorporating clickable call-to-action banners, he adds, Sigstr helps stoke engagement with and awareness of events, product updates, job openings, and internal communications for a variety of customers, including Angie’s List, United Way, and the Indiana Pacers basketball team.

The heart of Sigstr’s offerings, delivered to corporate customers on a subscription basis, is the branded e-mail signature, Wade says, especially useful for a company that wants everyone in the office to be on the same marketing page. From there, Sigstr layers on other services: weekly marketing campaigns that tie into a company’s customer relationship management platform and are coordinated with social media to measure how traffic is driving leads and conversions, viral event marketing, and integrated drip marketing.

In the past year, the company has grown its team from eight people to 25, and Wade expects that number to double again before the end of the year, thanks in part to a 550 percent increase in annual recurring revenue. Sigstr, the first startup to launch out of High Alpha Studio in 2015, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed capital from a number of investors, including Scott Dorsey and 4G Ventures.

Wade, who is also an ExactTarget alum, decided to make the jump from Salesforce Marketing Cloud to Sigstr because he was interested in building a company from scratch. And, he says, “I wanted to be a CEO. I looked around, and there were lots of opportunities, but this was one where I could really get in on the ground floor.”

The company’s previous CEO, founder Dan Hanrahan, will stay on with Sigstr as president and shift his focus to leading strategic partnerships and enterprise relationships, according to a company statement.

And what does Wade say to people, including a former Xconomy correspondent who once described it as a “plague,” who believe e-mail is a cumbersome form of communication on its last legs?

“I can tell you there are more interactions over e-mail than 10 years ago,” Wade maintains. “Your e-mail address is your primary key to the online world—you can’t open a social media account without one. It’s a prolific part of the Internet fabric, so I don’t see e-mail going away.”

In fact, Wade eventually wants to utilize the entire e-mail, from subject line to signature, as a marketing tool, and says that goal will be a big part of the company’s strategy in the future.

“It’s such an open field,” he says. “It’s so easy to implement, and the value we can show is a quick return on investment.”

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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