Guest post by Samantha Waites.
Although email has largely displaced physical paper mail for most business correspondence, there are still instances where traditional mail is the better channel. It stands out and makes an impression in a way email simply can’t match.
Since a postal mail document is longer lasting and likely to get more focused attention than an email, it’s vital to get it right. One aspect is that is to pay as much attention to the letterhead on your company stationery as you would to a corporate email signature. Though the two are decidedly different, both are key elements in your brand identity.
Letterhead is, of course, the header at the top of a company’s official correspondence. It demonstrates professionalism to send job offers, business proposals, important letters, and bills on company letterhead instead of a blank piece of paper. What should be included in your company’s letterhead? And what design elements are optional?
One way to demonstrate that a letter is authentic is to put your branding on the top of the page. In general, your business name and logo should be on the top or top left of the letterhead. Use the same logo that you do on business cards and company signs.
It adds to the formality and seriousness of the letter. Business taglines are optional in your letterhead. The only exception is if that is part of your logo, at which point, it is…part of the logo.
Don’t send a business card attached to a bill or letter. It is liable to be lost, though you obviously think this information is of value to the recipient. Instead, put your company’s contact information on the letterhead. This should include your business’ mailing address and phone number.
Unlike a business card, your business website is less important and optional here. You may not want to include your email address, since you either want to talk to them in person or on the phone in response to a serious letter.
If there is room, include a general company email (such as sales@ or info@) and website address. Keep in mind that the email address you put on the letterhead will get everything from billing inquiries to customer complaints.
Don’t create letterhead unique to each team member, or even top executives. You’re wasting paper if they decide to leave or even change roles in the organization. That’s what the signature is for.
If you have more than one office or store location, you may want to create letterhead for each location—or you may want to refer all correspondence to a head office. Determine how you’ll handle such incoming letters before you print hundreds of pages of company letterhead.
Design details can serve a purpose when you’re having formal letterhead printed. For example, a thin line separating business contact information from the rest of the page sets off the formal correspondence from the header.
Avoid time-saving shortcuts that can count against you in the wrong situation. For example, leave off pre-printed signatures like “thank you for your business” or “we appreciate our customers.” After all, that signature line could end up below a layoff notice or warning letter.
Skip pre-printed page numbers. People will label it when they print it if that is required. Instead, design the letterhead so that the address on the pre-printed page will show your address when folded and put in an envelope with a clear window. You can do double duty by printing the business address and logo on the back of the page while the front is designed for formal correspondence.