When communicating with an audience about your company, you're presented with an opportunity to build your business and online presence through effective branding. This starts with consistent design elements across all platforms of your business, and can give you an exponential advantage in terms of generating brand recognition and customer loyalty if done properly. If a user is questioning the credibility of your business due to a lack of familiarity, they likely aren't going to convert, and a consistent user experience throughout all outlets can solve this issue by instilling confidence and legitimacy in your company in the eyes of consumers.
With an increasingly high number of mobile users, there’s an immense need for a site that uses responsive design. Shockingly, only 11.8% of sites use responsive websites today. For a successful online presence, the mobile site and desktop site should closely mirror each other with very similar design elements, and this concept of a similar user experience on different devices should carry over to how you set up your social presence and emails as well.
Let’s take a look at how you can build brand consistency by integrating creative design elements from your website into each of these platforms, while still considering the varying needs and objectives of each:
Infusing Email with Website Design
When it comes to emails, generating traffic and sales should be your number one priority. However, in a lot of cases it is just as important that your audience is able to tell with certainty that a newsletter is coming from your brand. A good place to start when it comes to branding your company emails is by including your logo on every one that you send. Most businesses already do this, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any other strategies that you can use to brand your emails.
One of the most effective ways is to simply use a color scheme in your emails that is consistent with your website. The same colors that you have in your logo or on your website should be the colors that you use throughout your emails and other visual assets where color scheme can be easily changed. Using a unique color that doesn't make it more difficult for users to read your content and that ties back to your online presence's color scheme will help users make the connection between the design of the email and your brand. This will help the audience feel more comfortable clicking on the content you’re providing them with.
Another simple and effective method for incorporating website layout into emails is to use the same typography your company uses on your website. This again provides familiarity, recognition, and give users a general idea about your brand identity. Whether you use a sophisticated, elegant, or clean font you want to make sure that the culture of your brand and the industry you are in are as clearly presented in an email as they are on your website. Depending on the content of the email, sometimes you may choose something that is more formal, but in general if you’re sending any kind of “business as usual” email, it should use your standard font. When we send emails, we often use the same font that you’ll find on our website so that users feel comfortable when they end up on a page that reflects similar design elements.
The call to action in your email should also be relatively similar to your website so that there is absolutely no hesitation from users as to whether they are clicking the correct button or not. If a user recognizes the same CTA button from the email that brought them to your site as they navigate from page to page, they will feel more comfortable clicking on it and converting as you have already made it clear to them what your CTA buttons look like in your email. The one exception to this rule is if your standard CTA colors don't have enough of a color contrast to stand out from the rest of the email. If this is the case, colors should be changed - but things like button shape and font choice should remain to keep providing consistency between your email and website CTAs.
Integrating Social Media Profiles with Your Website
For social media, many of the same things that are best practice for email design consistency are true, as the ultimate goal is still to maintain a cohesive presence across your online brand presence. Just like email, many of the same iconography, font, color, and other design elements should be consistent as you go from a social media profile to your website. However, your thinking needs to be a bit different in order to properly use consistent design elements while also catering to the individual needs of each of the online communities you are interacting with.
A simple place to start with brand consistency on social is through images. First and foremost, your logo should be presented prominently on all social platforms. When determining which other images to include for each outlet, it’s smart to take concepts from the existing pages of your website that are the most relevant to that platform. If your company has a blog that is regularly updated, use the main image from your post as the featured image in your Facebook posts - if they click on the image from their news feed and it takes them to your post featuring the same photo, it assures them that they have landed in the correct place, and encourages them to read the post immediately instead of stopping to question the significance of the image. By doing this, you create consistency as a user goes from social media to your website, while still meeting the unique needs of your audience.
As well as design, the narrative voice you use for content is incredibly important and should vary slightly depending on the outlet. Each social channel has a different target audience, and as a result it comes as no surprise that each should have a different personality and feel in order to engage their respective audiences. Companies that have multiple employees responsible for social media posts should establish a general narrative voice in order to make sure that this personality maintains consistent regardless of who is posting. You don’t want different posts or outlets sounding like they are coming from different people — even if they are.
Users often choose social media platforms based on how they prefer to receive information about a certain industry or topic, so it makes sense that different outlets should focus on different aspects of your business. The material you present on each platform should be similar to what audiences would discover on your website, but the presentation should differ as it is tweaked for each group and audience. For example, your LinkedIn page may showcase the same image as your website’s services page, while your Google+ page’s main image may use your “Contact Us” location image so that local users understand that you’re in their area.
The best images to choose should focus on the information someone on that particular platform is likely interested in. You don’t necessarily need to use different images for each outlet, but you should be using images that are meaningful and are similar to images that are already on your website.
Aligning design elements from your website across email and social media is important to the success of your branding and business growth. A consistent brand presence across multiple online channels is what is ultimately going to set you apart from competitors and provide your users with the confidence they need to convert with your company. Wherever possible, use the content and design elements you feature on your website and repurpose them to appropriate specifications for other platforms, whether that is in an email, on social media, or on another marketing channel.
Your online presence provides the user with a good sense of what your overall brand is about and with an opportunity to prove your credibility to them, so the last thing you want to do is create contradictions in design or content that presents them with a misleading representation of what your brand is about. Ultimately, the user should be able to seamlessly switch from other aspects of your online presence to your website while having a consistent experience and building a better understanding of your business.
How do you go about incorporating your website design into your other marketing platforms? Let us know in the comments section below.