Best Practices Email Content by Marco Marini September 27, 2011
Use Email to Build Your Brand, Not Break it
Does your email marketing work for your brand or against it?
Your brand is everywhere in everything you do. Every customer contact affects your brand perception, from the physical appearance of your store to the online look of your website to the tone of a voice on the phone. Every part of a customer’s experience of your business is part of your brand, including your email marketing.
So let’s stop for a minute to consider how well your email marketing program is building up your brand…or breaking it down.
Take a good hard look at your email marketing program overall. Does it appropriately represent your company’s brand? Does it cover the importance of brand identity? Think beyond your logo and colors. In this case, we want to consider the whole experience. And by that I mean the customer’s experience. Remember, for customers, perception is reality. If your brand is perceived a certain way, it is a certain way in the mind of your customer.
Below are some overlooked components of your email marketing program to consider when evaluating the impact on your brand.
This is a starting point in your customer’s experience with your email, remember as it’s the first thing he or she will notice. What kind of brand impression will you make with a From line that starts “donotreply@…” Or “sales@…”? Get a From name in there that builds brand, not distrust.
Are you emailing too often? Emailing too frequently is akin to a waitress who keeps showing up at your table as you eat, or a salesperson hounding you as you go through a store. If your brand is meant to be obnoxious, then too-frequent emails are in line with that brand. If not, make sure the frequency is appropriate.
Is your content relevant to your customers or only to you? Are you giving them information they want to receive? What about the tone, voice and language of your emails, does it all fit with the brand perception you want to build among your audience? If your brand is friendly and kind, and your emails are written in stiff corporate speak, you’re going to end up with a painful disconnect in the customer’s mind.
Does your offer fit your brand? If your brand is affordable home décor, but your latest email campaign touted high-end leather sofas in the four-digit price range, is that going to negatively impact your brand perception? Do your offers fit with the promises made at the time of signup? If you incented people to subscribe for certain types of emails, have you followed through to deliver those very emails?
Your brand is everything everywhere, including your customer’s inbox. Make sure your email marketing is building that brand.
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I got WAY too excited by the title of your blog post, but I was a bit surprised image rendering wasn’t mentioned as an issue. I’ve worked with a number of clients that insist on using GIANT images in e-mail campaigns due to the “need for branding”. Although I do believe the use of images in e-mails can be powerful, it’s worth noting that so many users do not display images (for various reasons) and that those users will never get any of the senders content to associate with the brand. Yes, you can use pre-headers. But more steps = less impact. Just my two cents.
The from name is also a really good point. I never realized how sensitive I am to this as a consume until I started paying attention.
by Neil Rosen, CEO eWayDirect
The initial question, “is email marketing building your brand or breaking it down?”, is measurable and companies should be tracking it regularly (BCIndex.com) – Once you know if your email strategy “is” harming your reputation there are lots of good ideas here of things you can do to improve your overall standing. Different audiences respond uniquely to most everything about email, frequency, subject lines, content, and more.
by Scott Hardigree
Thanks for contributing, Sam and Neil. Always appreciated!