Question: Should my e-mail design match my website?
Answer: It's very important to use design elements—such as color, art, logos, etc.—to make visual connections between your website and your e-mail. When you sign up e-mail list members on your website, you want the e-mail to be an extension of the site that your customers re-cognize. If there is a disconnect because the e-mail doesn't look like the website, 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 website that doesn't look like the company you portray in your e-mail.
When designing your e-mails, look to your website for design elements and incorporate some of those elements into your e-mail. If you have an html website, you can even use elements from the site to easily design your e-mail.
Remember: it's all about integrating the same look and feel from website 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.
Originally published April 14, 2010