Answer: Consistency, loosely defined, means adhering to the same principles or form. And when it comes to e-mail, it’s good marketing practice to consistently reinforce and promote your brand in each program your company delivers. So while it is important to incorporate relevant content, it is imperative to maintain a consistent and defined look across all e-mail programs to ensure your customers do not perceive your message as a phishing scam. Wondering how to maintain that delicate balance between relevant content and consistency without being boring? Consider the following:
Establish ground rules. Create a manual that outlines a foundation for e-mail templates. The manual should include information on using the correct logo, font, terminology, grammar, abbreviations and legal language. The manual can serve as the guidebook and educate everyone in your company on the importance of e-mail consistency. When employees understand why it is important to use the current company logo and ditch their improperly sized, circa 2001 file, they ensure e-mail recipients won’t question the message’s legitimacy.
Use the same “from” address. How many “from” names and addresses does your company use for outbound e-mail marketing programs? Most Fortune 1,000 companies either can’t or won’t answer that question. Remember, if recipients don’t know who the e-mail is from, they won’t keep it. Your clever “from” name may make sense to your marketing department, but ask your Mom if she knows who that “from” is.
Align all channels. Your goal is to educate the prospect, not to confuse them. When you set up your e-mail program templates, make sure the information is aligned with what is on your Web site. Aim to be a trusted resource within your niche. Your e-mail should mirror the look of your Web site.
Show them what to expect. Placing a sample of each e-mail program template at the point of Web site opt-in allows the new subscriber to see what will arrive in their in-box. No surprises. Banks and retailers have taken this strategy a step further by including their permission e-mail policy next to opt-in.
The recipient sees one company; conduct yourself as such. Keep your brand identity in e-mail consistent and communicate it internally every chance you get.
Spencer Kollas is director of deliverability services for Premiere Global Services (www.premiereglobal.com), an outsource provider of business process solutions.