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Should my e-mail design match my Web site?

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It’s very important to use design elements—such as color, art, logos, etc.—to make visual connections between your Web site and your e-mail. When you sign up e-mail list members on your Web site, you want the e-mail to be an extension of the site that your customers recognize. If there is a disconnect because the e-mail doesn’t look like the Web site, your subscribers may think your e-mail is spam.

Conversely, when you send out e-mails with a call to action that takes recipients back to a landing page, you don’t want to confuse those readers by sending them to a Web site that doesn’t look like the company you portray in your e-mail.

This happened to me recently. I got an e-mail from a major airline that featured a color scheme that was predominately the company’s trademark yellow and orange. Clicking through to the airline’s Web site, I was shocked to land on a page that was mainly blue and purple. My initial thought was that I was on the wrong page. What I learned is that the company rebranded its Web site but has not carried the new branding elements through to its e-mail program.

While it’s not unusual for companies to rebrand or to freshen their brand, it’s important to keep some of the old elements—at least on a temporary basis—to bridge to the new brand. You also need to make sure that your e-mail program catches up at the same time. This can be a struggle if e-mail marketing and your Web site are managed by different groups, but the outcome is worth the effort.

When designing your e-mails, look to your Web site for design elements and incorporate some of those elements into your e-mail. If you have an html Web site, you can even use elements from the Web site to easily design your e-mail.

Remember: it’s all about integrating the same look and feel from Web site to e-mail, and even to printed marketing materials. Carrying a similar look throughout all these customer touch points makes customers comfortable with your brand, which in turn makes them comfortable pulling out their wallets.

Carissa Newton is director of marketing for Delivra (www.delivra.com), an e-mail marketing software and services company.

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