As a professional business sending correspondence to your customers, there are several mistakes that are made that can be extremely costly to the reputation of your brand. Here are a few tips for designing your company’s correspondence from the letterhead to the letter itself. We’ll explain why these mistakes are so costly, why they occur in the first place and how to avoid making them yourself.
In an age of mass marketing, mass customisation has been the focus of many articles. One needs to be careful to properly address clients and avoid the horror stories of sending letters addressed to someone’s pet or putting their demographic information in the name field. These are the big errors yes but businesses need to take note that the little things matter too. For example, addressing the person by their preferred name and including relevant personal information in the letter to show that you’re paying attention to them as an individual.
Likewise, your company letterhead design is equally important and affects the image of your company. Is the company logo that people see on the letterhead congruent with the one visible on your website and your social media profiles? Is the company name, address and phone number that come up in web searches the same as the one on the top of the company’s letters? If there is a difference, are you going to explain it? For example, you could clearly identify which letters are coming from the company’s main office or billing department as clients would possibly have bought the item at their local retail outlet. Provide a consistent image while ensuring people know who they are talking to and which part of the company they are dealing with.
When company correspondence comes from a specific person in the company, their brand image and letterhead need to correspond with that of the company’s. For example, insurance agents, attorneys and sales reps should be seen in company uniform or professional attire that reflects the company’s desired image. Their means of addressing the client should, of course reflect the company brand as well. They should use the same colour scheme in their letters and company logo as the company headquarters.
The colour scheme is a nice subtle way to connect the brand and the company’s correspondence with each other. However, cost savings and environmental concerns can affect this in a variety of ways. You might get extra points for putting the company logo on the top and bottom of the page, though that’s often erased to save on printing costs. Watermarks are often eliminated for the same reason, though they can be used to help authenticate company correspondence when scanned etc. Ensure that your colour scheme in the form of stripes down the side the page or watermarks doesn’t get in the way of digitisation. Nor should it impede readability.
Know that you can use touches of colour to draw attention to key elements. For example, the company logo could be near the name, address and phone number in the letterhead, reminding people where the letter came from. You can also put the logo on the letter’s exterior, reducing the odds of it being thrown in the trash as junk mail. You may want to put the photo of team members near the letterhead to associate the letter with the familiar rep who spoke with the customer. You could also put their photo by the signature line if you prefer.
Cheaper, low quality paper can have a way of undermining your reputation if you’re trying to promote a product or service, though this is less of an issue with bills or generic marketing content. Note that poor quality print jobs that render text illegible or photos unrecognisable will also hurt your brand. It is better to leave off someone’s photo and logo than have a poor quality image on the letter or envelope.