How to create email signatures with rotating banners

Learn how to configure CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 to rotate through a number of different promotional banners or different signatures over a selected period of time.

Setting up CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 in a way that allows emails sent on different days to contain different promotional banners is an interesting way to attract more attention to your business. If your email signatures change from time to time, they are more likely to be noticed, as opposed to email recipients ignoring the same banner they see over and over again.

Basics

This article shows how to configure CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 for a specific email signatures usage scenario. If you need more basic information, use the links below:

How to configure the program for this scenario

In this example, the graphics designers have prepared a collection of promotional banners for email signatures. The company wants to showcase them to as many customers as possible, so they configure CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 to change the banner added to email signatures every day over the following month.

This scenario relies on the use of the Scheduler feature. To learn more about this feature read this article on Scheduler and its use in some scenarios.

Use the following links to learn how to set up:

How to set up rotating banners in server-side mode

CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 working in server-side mode lets you create separate signature rules for adding a different part of a signature. In this example, we will use this functionality to create an email signature comprising the signature’s main body (fixed), rotating promotional banners (4 different ones), and a disclaimer (also fixed), each added by a separate rule. Each banner will be rotated on a 4-day basis.

Start by opening app.codetwo.com. Create a new server-side signature and name it accordingly, e.g. Sales campaign signature body. Go to the Senders tab and select Add > All senders or configure the conditions so that the rule adds signatures only to the messages sent by selected users, as discussed in this article. On the Recipients tab, select Add > All recipients. If you would like to limit the scope of people who receive emails in this campaign to specific customers or to those originating from specific markets (countries), you can set up the conditions as discussed here.

Next, go to the Design tab and click Edit signature to open the signature template editor. Create the main body of your signature that will always remain the same. For this scenario, we need to create the body of the signature without any banners and without a legal disclaimer (Fig. 1.), as these elements will be added later by separate rules. Read this article to learn more about creating signature templates.

A signature template containing the main body of a signature.
Fig. 1. A signature template containing the main body of a signature.

On the Options tab, select the following options:

If this rule is applied > Go to the next rule
If this rule is not applied > Go to the next rule

as shown in Fig. 2.

When this rule is applied, the program will go to the next rule and process it.
Fig. 2. When this rule is applied, the program will go to the next rule and process it.

The next step is to create separate rules that will add the rotating promotional banners. To do so, clone (ESIG 365 clone rule button) the first signature rule so that its conditions, exceptions and settings are recreated in the new rule. This rule will be used to add the first variant of your rotating banner, so be sure to name it accordingly, e.g. February campaign – blue banner.

Go to the Design tab, open the signature template editor and create a signature rule containing only the promotional banner (Fig. 3.).

Important

Some email clients may not display a signature that contains an image only. If you don't want to create a separate rule that adds text content to your signature, be sure to apply this workaround

A signature template containing only the promotional banner.
Fig. 3. A signature template containing only the promotional banner.

When the template is ready, go to the Options tab. In the Scheduler section, enable the Scheduler (Fig. 4., item 1) and click Schedule to configure it.

Opening the Scheduler configuration window.
Fig. 4. Opening the Scheduler configuration window.

Choose the appropriate time zone. Select the Daily recurrence pattern. In the Rule activity time section, check the All day option and select every 4 day(s), because in this example we will be using 4 different signature templates. In the Range of recurrence section, set the start and end date. In this example, we use the 1st and last day of the month (Fig. 5.).

Scheduler configuration for the first of four rotating banners.
Fig. 5. Scheduler configuration for the first of four rotating banners.

Confirm by clicking OK.

When the signature rule for the first banner is ready, clone it using the ESIG 365 clone rule button button. Rename the new rule to e.g. February campaign – red banner. Since the configuration of this rule is identical to the previous one, you only need to:

  • create a new signature template on the Design tab. This template will also contain the banner only.
  • go the Options tab, click Schedule and make the following change: in the Range of recurrence section change the Start date to the 2nd day of the month (Fig. 6., item 2). Confirm by clicking OK.

Repeat this process as many times as necessary. In our example, we will clone the existing rule to create two more rules. i.e. February campaign – green banner and February campaign – yellow banner. In the case of the 3rd rule, we set the Start date to the 3rd day of the month (Fig. 6., item 3) and in the case of the 4th rule – to the 4th day of the month (Fig. 6., item 4).

Scheduler configuration for banners used in the marketing campaign.
Fig. 6. Scheduler configuration for banners used in the marketing campaign.

Add a rule that uses the same conditions and exceptions as the previous rules. This one will add a legal disclaimer. Name it accordingly, e.g. Disclaimer for emails. As before, you need to clone a previous rule and change the signature template. When configuring this rule, it is important that:

  • the rule contains only the legal disclaimer text,
  • the Rules that follow section on the Options tab is set up in the following way (unless you want any other signature rules to be used):

If this rule is applied > Stop processing next rules
If this rule is not applied > Go to the next rule

  • the Scheduler should be turned off so that the disclaimer is added at all times, even when the campaign is over.

When all the rules are ready, put them in the correct order in the Server-side signatures list (Fig. 7.). Save your changes by clicking ESIG for O365 rule save.

The order of rules for adding the signature body, a rotating banner and a legal disclaimer.
Fig. 7. The order of rules for adding the signature body, a rotating banner and a legal disclaimer.

When configured as above, the banners will change in the order presented in the following diagram (Fig. 8.).

The order of rotating banners during the campaign period.
Fig. 8. The order of rotating banners during the campaign period.

How to set up rotating signatures in client-side mode

When using CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 in client-side mode, you can create as many signature templates as you need and make them available for your users in Outlook desktop and Outlook on the web (OWA). In this example, we will create four signature templates, each comprising the same signature’s main body, a different promotional banner, and the same disclaimer. Then, we will set up the program to rotate through several signatures over a promotional campaign period.

To begin, open the signature management app and create a new client-side signature rule. It will be used for adding the first variant of your rotating email signature, so name it accordingly e.g. February campaign - blue banner.

Go to the Senders tab and select Add > All senders or set different conditions and exceptions, as discussed in this article. Then, go to the Design tab and click Edit signature to open the signature template editor and prepare the first email signature template for this campaign (Fig. 9.). Read this article to learn more about creating signature templates.

A signature template with a main body, a banner and a legal disclaimer.
Fig. 9. A signature template with a main body, a banner and a legal disclaimer.

When your signature template is ready, open the Options tab and select the Set this signature as default for new messages and Set this signature a default for replies and forwards options, as shown in Fig. 10. That way, the program will add the signature configured for this rule to new messages, replies and forwards by default.

By selecting these options, the CodeTwo signatures add-in will add the selected signature to all Outlook and OWA emails by default.
Fig. 10. By selecting these options, the CodeTwo signatures add-in will add the selected signature to all Outlook and OWA emails by default.

In the Scheduler section, enable the Scheduler (Fig. 11., item 1). Then, click Schedule to configure it.

Opening the Scheduler configuration window.
Fig. 11. Opening the Scheduler configuration window.

Choose the appropriate time zone. Select the Daily recurrence pattern. In the Rule activity time section, check the All day option and select every 4 day(s), because in this example we will be using 4 different signature templates. In the Range of recurrence section, set the start and end date. In this example, we will use the 1st and last day of the month (Fig. 12.). Click OK to confirm.

Scheduler configuration for the first of four rotating signatures.
Fig. 12. Scheduler configuration for the first of four rotating signatures.

Important

Setting up the Outlook signature adding options and the Scheduler is optional and lets you automate the signature adding process. If you want your users to have access to all signature templates at all times and let them select a signature with a different banner manually, you can skip these steps.

When the first signature for this campaign is ready, clone it (ESIG 365 clone rule button). Rename the new rule to e.g. February campaign – red banner. The configuration of this rule should be identical to the previous one, except for the following:

  • modify the signature template on the Design tab by adding a different banner,
  • on the Options tab, make the following change to the Scheduler: in the Range of recurrence section, change the Start date to the 2nd day of the month (Fig. 13., item 2). Click OK to confirm.

Repeat this process as many times as you need. In our example, we have created two more rules, February campaign – green banner and February campaign – yellow banner, the same way as described above. In the case of the 3rd rule, we set the Start date to the 3rd day of the month (Fig. 13., item 3) and in the case of the 4th rule – to the 4th day of the month (Fig. 13., item 4).

Scheduler configuration for the first of four rotating signatures.
Fig. 13. Scheduler configuration for the first of four rotating signatures.

When all the rules are ready, make sure they are placed on top of your Client-side signatures list (Fig. 14.). That way, you make sure that correct signatures, with rotating banners, are the ones added by default to emails in Outlook and OWA. Save your changes by clicking ESIG for O365 rule save.

The order of rules for adding the signatures with rotating banners.
Fig. 14. The order of rules for adding the signatures with rotating banners.

When configured as above, the signatures will change in the order presented in the following diagram (Fig. 15.).

The order of rotating signatures during the campaign period.
Fig. 15. The order of rotating signatures during the campaign period.

Result

When set up correctly, the banners (or signatures) will change each day over the period of one month. In server-side mode, signatures are changed automatically, and no user interaction is required (Fig. 16.).

Signatures added to emails on different days.
Fig. 16. Signatures added to emails on different days.

When using client-side mode, the rotating signatures will be added in Outlook and OWA to composed emails by default. The current signature will be displayed in the CodeTwo Signatures pane (Fig. 17.). If there are any other client-side rules configured in CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365, they will are available in the pane to the user as well.

Rotating signatures preview in the CodeTwo Signatures pane.
Fig. 17. Rotating signatures preview in the CodeTwo Signatures pane.

Changing the banner with a CodeTwo custom attribute: an alternative approach

When you manage CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 for your organization, you can access our free User attributes manager available at attributes.codetwo.com. The tool lets you, among other things, create custom attributes that prove useful in many scenarios.

For example, your marketing staff can edit such an attribute’s value (promotional banner’s web address) to periodically change the banner in their external email signature. All of that without:

  • creating a number of signature rules (with the CodeTwo custom attribute, you need just one rule);
  • having to periodically edit the rules; and (consequently)
  • assigning access rights to the signature management app for e.g. the marketing team members.

This approach is useful especially when you need more flexibility (in terms of banner’s change interval) and, at the same time, want to give your marketing people more control over the currently used banner.

Setup and design

The procedure is the same, regardless of which signature rules you’re using in your organization: cloud (server-side) ones or Outlook (client-side) ones:

  1. Log in at attributes.codetwo.com (the User attributes manager) using your admin credentials and create a CodeTwo custom attribute as highlighted here, naming it e.g. Current banner. The attribute will store a web address of a currently used promotional banner.
  2. Once the attribute is added in the manager, make sure that both the Visible and Editable checkboxes are selected next to it – otherwise your marketing people won’t be able to set and change the promotional banner.
  3. Now, go to app.codetwo.com and log in with your admin credentials.
  4. Create a server-side or a client-side signature rule, depending on which type of rules you’re using in your organization, and name it e.g. Marketing campaign. In this scenario, you’ll need just one signature rule.
  5. Configure your rule on the next tabs according to your liking:
    • Senders – you might want to choose people belonging to the Marketing Team who will use the banner in their communications with customers.
    • Recipients (server-side only) – you might want to choose External recipients because the signature is likely to be used in emails sent to your customers.
    • Keywords (server-side only) – you might want to use keywords to e.g. let your Marketing Team decide when they want to use the signature with the promotional banner and when not. Learn more
  6. Start designing your signature by creating the signature’s body – you might want to include disclaimer as well (Fig. 18.). For easier and quicker design, you can use one of the available templates.

The initial design of the signature – still without the banner.
Fig. 18. The initial design of the signature – still without the banner.

  1. Now it’s time to insert the banner. Start from inserting a table row for the banner. To do this, right-click the row with disclaimer and go to Insert rows/columns > Insert row above (Fig. 19.).

    Info

    If you don’t use the disclaimer, right-click any table cell which is directly above the place where you intend to insert the row for the banner and go to Insert rows/columns > Insert row below. If the inserted row appears divided into several table cells, highlight the entire row, right-click it, and select Merge cells.

Inserting a row for the banner.
Fig. 19. Inserting a row for the banner.

  1. Check the width of the newly inserted row – you’ll need it in the next step. To do it, click inside the row, go to Table layout tab, and check the value in the Column width field (Fig. 20.).

Checking the width of the newly added row.
Fig. 20. Checking the width of the newly added row.

  1. Next, click inside the newly inserted row once again and choose HTML snippet on the editor’s ribbon. In the Insert HTML snippet pop-up, configure the settings as follows:
    • paste the following code:
      <img src="{Your custom attribute’s name}" border="0" width="XXX" height="auto">
      

      where Your custom attribute’s name should be replaced with the name of the custom attribute you created in step 1, and XXX with the value you found in the previous step. In our example, these will be Current banner and 600 respectively (see Fig. 21., item 3);

    • uncheck the check-box below (Fig. 21., item 4); and 
    • click the INSERT (Fig. 21., item 5). Once you insert the snippet, you’ll see an icon representing a broken/corrupt image  don’t worry, it’s the expected behavior.

Inserting the image code with the name of the custom attribute as the source (src) of the image.
Fig. 21. Inserting the image code with the name of the custom attribute as the source (src) of the image.

  1. Making sure the cursor is inside the banner’s row, go to the Table layout tab once again and click the Cell padding button. Set the spacing (padding) above and below the banner image, so that it is not located too close to the content above (contact info) and below (disclaimer). You can use values as shown in Fig. 22.

Setting the top and bottom padding (spacing) for the banner.
Fig. 22. Setting the top and bottom padding (spacing) for the banner.

  1. Go to the Main tab on the ribbon and click Apply & Close to save your design and close the editor.
  2. Once you’re back to the signature management app, remember to save your rule for the changes to take effect. As opposed to the method described first, you can leave the default settings on the Options tab unchanged.

Application

When using this method for the first time, you can organize the process it the following way:

  1. Upload various marketing banners designed for the signature to your company’s server or an image hosting service.

    Important

    A banner image must be uploaded to a secure web location that begins with https://. The location needs to be publicly available (it cannot require to be logged in to view images).

    Since a custom attribute can hold a value of maximum 255 characters, make sure that the address of the server (to store banners) and a filename of each banner image file do not exceed this value in total.

  2. Send the images’ location to people included in the signature rule, along with the following instructions:

    To add the banner for the current marketing campaign to your email signature, complete the following steps:

    1. Log in at user.codetwo.com, using your credentials.
    2. Copy the web address of the chosen banner image and paste it into the <your custom attribute name> field (see example in the picture below). Click Save & update to save the changes.

User setting up the banner to be used in their signature in the coming time period.
Fig. 23. User setting up the banner to be used in their signature in the coming time period.

That’s it. With the current setup, users can change banners whenever they decide that another one is more fitting.

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