How to Brand Your Marketing E-Mails - dummies

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

Branding in web marketing is the use of graphic design elements to give your business a consistent and unique identity while forming a mental image of your business’s personality. Examples include:

  • Graphics and logos unique to your business

  • Text and fonts that differentiate your business

  • Colors used consistently to give your business an identity

Branding your e-mails helps your audience to immediately recognize and differentiate your e-mails from the unfamiliar e-mails they receive. Keeping your e-mail branding consistent over time allows your audience to become familiar with you and your e-mails as they receive multiple e-mails from you.

The following show how you can brand your e-mails to match your identity and the expectations of your audience.

Branding your e-mails with colors and design elements requires using HTML. If you don’t know HTML, look to your EMP. Most EMPs allow you to customize your e-mail templates with your branding elements. If you aren’t using an EMP to send your e-mails, a web designer can help you create a custom look and feel for your e-mail templates.

All your business communications should contain consistent branding elements, and your e-mails are no exception. Matching every e-mail to your brand gives your audience confidence and makes your business more memorable every time your audience clicks to access your website or walks into your store and sees the same branding elements.

You can design your e-mails to match your brand in the following ways:

  • Include your logo in your e-mails. Position your logo in the upper-left quadrant or top center of your e-mail, where readers are most likely to see it.

    Using a company logo along with identifiable design elements brands your e-mail and reinforces your company’s image.

    [Credit: Courtesy of Avalon Photography]
    Credit: Courtesy of Avalon Photography
  • Use the colors from your logo in your e-mails. If your logo has multiple colors, pull the colors from your logo and use them for the borders, backgrounds, and fonts in your e-mails.

    If your logo uses only one color, you can use a graphic design program to create a palette of colors that works well with the color in your logo. A lot of free and low-cost color-matching and color palette tools are online. Use your favorite search engine to find your favorite.

  • Use the colors from your website in your e-mails. When readers click from your e-mail to your website, they might hesitate if your website looks different from your e-mail. When you design your e-mails, use the colors in your website in a similar fashion. For example, if your website uses a gray background with black text, use the same colors for those elements in your e-mails.

  • Match your website offers with your e-mail offers. If your e-mail includes an offer with a specific design, make sure that your website uses the same design elements in the offer if you’re directing people to your website to complete a purchase or to read more information about the offer in your e-mail.

  • Match your print communications to your e-mails. If you’re sending direct mail or printing ads to follow up or reinforce your e-mail messages, make sure that your print communications match your e-mails as well as the rest of your communications.

  • Use fonts that match your brand in your e-mails. Consistent fonts add to the overall look and feel of your e-mails as well as add emotion behind the text. Keep your fonts consistent in all your communications, and use the same fonts for similar visual anchors.

    For example, if your e-mail contains three articles with three headlines in one column, use the same font for each headline in the column. The benefits of font consistency are negated if you use too many different kinds of fonts in one e-mail. Stick with two or three different fonts in each e-mail to avoid heaping visual distractions on your audience.

  • Make sure that your e-mails reflect your business’s personality. Just as you want design elements that match your brand, your writing should match your business’s personality, too. Show your e-mails to a few trustworthy friends or advisors and ask them to tell you whether your writing style is a good match for your image.

    If you aren’t a good writer, consider using a copywriter to help you maintain your image using the text of your articles and offers. Tell your copywriter whether you want the text in your e-mail to make your business seem

    • Serious or humorous

    • Professional or casual

    • Formal or friendly

    • Exclusive or universal

    • Urgent or customary

    • Insistent or politely persuasive