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Avoiding Forgotten Stepchild Syndrome in Email Design

by Karen Talavera

10 14, 2010 | Posted in Creative, Email Marketing | 0 comments

A good day out

photo credit: Pranavian

Thankfully, the days of silo-ed email marketing run by two techies hunched in a shared cubicle wedged into a forgotten corner far from the marketing department are largely over at most companies.  However, marketing email can still suffer from “forgotten stepchild syndrome” when it comes to design.

It’s a fair enough question: “Should my email creative match the design/look/feel of my company’s website?”

Ideally yes, provided your website was created or at least had a face lift in the last few years.  (If it hasn’t been touched since 2002, that’s a different story.)  But in general, yes, from a creative standpoint your email marketing messages need to be included in your digital family.

Think of it this way: you want to make the transition from in-box to landing page asseamless and consistent as possible for your valued list members.  Since most email marketing messages include a call to action that links to a page directly on or bridging to your site/blog, this makes sense.

Although your email message designs don’t need to be a carbon copy of your site/blog design, you definitely want to create as much familiarity and comfort as possible in your email to assure recipients of your identity and avoid confusing them.  If your email arrives and list members can’t be sure it’s really you because the design doesn’t look like an extension of your other digital points of presence, you run the risk of both response and reputation problems.  The last things you want your own subscribers thinking are that your message is spam or that you’re being spoofed.

Here are a few tips to ensure email stays up-to-date and in good standing with the rest of the online marketing family:

  • Use defining graphic elements from your brand and website creative in your marketing email designs.
  • Include your logo in email design templates, preferably at the top.
  • Echo the key colors, fonts, image style, layouts and other defining elements of your graphic standards in your email messages.
  • If you update your graphic standards or change your brand creative considerably, remember to update your email message designs to reflect your new look.
  • Design different templates for different types of email messages (reminder, newsletter, thank-you, announcement) but give them a cohesive “family” look
  • Don’t be a do-it-yourself-er unless you have HTML and graphic design experience.  Otherwise, put email design in the hands of a professional web designer, preferably one who has designed specifically for email.  Digital graphic designers are plentiful these days (I’ve worked with and often recommend Kat’s Eye Creative)

Remember: consistency – not just in your online marketing but also from online to offline– goes a long way toward creating trust which is critical to ongoing engagement. In case you haven’t heard, engagement is the 64 million dollar marketing buzz word today because without it, you don’t have an interested tribe, which means you don’t have customers, sales, or loyalty.  Recognizing continued, repeated engagement as your ultimate marketing goal is a hallmark of enlightened emarketers.  So maintain a familiar trustworthy look across all your audience touch points.  It will make prospects and customers comfortable with your brand, which in turn increases their comfort when it comes time to buy.

Need an email or website creative review? Get it with coaching from Karen.  For more information on hourly or monthly coaching programs contact me for a free 30-minute consult.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Pranavian

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