Business today is a lot less formal than it was in our fathers’ day. People generally refer to each other by first name, and some of us are even working from home. But no matter how informal your approach is, you still need to take every opportunity to put your brand out there, and one approach to this is to think of your email as your letterhead. You’re being informal, not unprofessional.
Following on my post about using your brand every place you can, let’s talk about your Word files. Even in this electronic age when you are more likely to email a PDF of an invoice or letter rather send it through the mail, even a quick note should be branded.
In an email, this branding happens with your email signature and the “from” address of your email (more discussion of that here). But in your invoices, letters, or any other communications that are in document form rather than just an email, the branding is taken care of by your letterhead.
I know, I know. You see “letterhead” and think of a box from the print shop with matching envelopes and top sheets with your logo and return address. If you send things through the mail then you should have that box of paper, but what I’m talking about is a letterhead template made in your word processing program (or your presentation program). The point is that you have a letterhead template in your program so that even for those quick docs you throw together to send to your client, it has your logo and contact information on it.
Making your template
You’re going to need a file of your logo and your contact information, to create your template template.
The logo: You don’t want the mega-high-res 25MB file–remember that you’ll want finished letterhead that will be easy to email. I use a JPG file for my logo that is about 300 pixels wide and I have it sized on the page at 1.5″. It looks great on the screen and it still looks fine when I print the document on my desktop printer.
Contact info: Especially for those of us working from home, consider what you want to have for your contact information. I just have my email address, phone number, and company URL on my letterhead. If you anticipate people needing to contact you through the mail, then include your home address, a PO Box, or use a mail forwarding company such as EarthClass Mail.
Saving as a template: Once you have put together your letterhead file, the key to making this easy for you to use is to save your file as a template and making sure you save the file where all your other templates are. That way, when you tell your program you want to create a new file from a template, your letterhead will be one of the choices offered to you. Following are instructions for how to create and work with templates in two popular word processors:
Only send PDFs
Ok, you have your template set up and are committed to using it for everything you do that you send to your clients. The next important point is that you should not send your original Word (or other word processing) documents — send PDF files instead. When you send a PDF, you are safeguarding the look of your document, ensuring that your brand is being presented as you intend. I have Adobe Acrobat Pro for creating and working with PDFs, but there are lots of other ways to convert your files, and many are free. Check out CutePDF, or find many other options by doing a web search on “free pdf creator.”
The moral of the story:
Every time you communicate for your company, you are wasting an opportunity if you don’t use your brand. Use letterhead PDFs for all your emailed documents to help keep your brand in front of your customers.
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