Stationery Design

Letterhead as a marketing tool

Letterheads are used to spread your message across. They come together with other items of your corporate brand, like business cards and compliment slips. All of them share the same goal – people must see your name and logo over and over again. And if customers see your company’s slogan (the motto) at the top of every invoice they receive, it would help them to even better remember who you are.

Have in mind that letterheads are an indirect marketing tool. So it could be the same effective as any leaflet or brochure and in the same time it does not “scratch one’s eyes” like those regular marketing items, which sometimes could make a neutral or even negative effect as people are so used to simply ignore them.


What is a compliment slip?

Compliment slips are used for a less formal business communication in any case when sending a letter is a bit too much or just doesn’t seem necessary. Compliment slips come together with letterheads, business cards and envelopes and make a full set of your business stationery. They are usually printed on the same stock as letterheads, but are smaller in size. There is no global standard for compliment slip size; the main requirement for it is to allow a slip to fit in the envelope, ideally without any folding. Therefore the most common size is one third of A4 or your standard letterhead size, which allows a compliment slip to fit in the DL sized envelope.


The Message

On your letterhead or compliment slip message comes not only in the part in black, but on the head of your letter too. How often and how many customers do you meat in person to give them your business card? Nowadays it’s usually not often and many. Letterheads can every day deliver the same message what is written on your business card. Use it to the best advantage as a marketing tool without hesitation or doubt. Make sure people, reading your letter, can easily access you by any means provided – email, phone number, website and company address. Consider if you want to display any names or other company information? In some cases you might even list several most important sectors of your business if you think that your logo alone is not enough. Think of it as an introduction you make to your prospects. On the other hand, do not overstuff your letterhead or compliment slip as people might get lost and confused. Frankly there is no single universal set of rules for what you must and what you must not display on your stationery. Different companies working in different industries and having different marketing strategies would prefer different items of information.

Seeing well designed stationery it must be clear where the head of the letter ends and the information text starts. There must be a natural feeling for a person where to start reading your letter and where to come back up for contact details. Think of it as a person – sometimes you judge him by his clothing, sometimes by the content of his mind, but you always know for sure where the fur of his coat ends and his natural hair starts. On the successful stationery this divider could be a different font, colour, some graphical element or some of them.


When to use a compliment slip

There are lots of cases then compliment slips are the best solution to get in touch with your customers or business partners. Their main advantage is the hand written note, which adds a cosy, informal touch to your main message. You could add a compliment slip together with the invoice, writing a simple note like “thank you for doing business with us”. But that works just in case you’ve got a limited amount of rather big (for your size) customers and don’t have to send hundreds of invoices every month, in which case it wouldn’t be rational to hand write every compliment slip. You might consider printing compliment slips with some standard notes, but in that case they lose a personal touch and might therefore miss all the point.

Another common case for compliment slip use is to include them together with a brochure, pricelist, catalogue or any other promotional material, possibly requested by your customer. In this case a formal letter is not necessary again and you could be better off just simply writing a simple note on a compliment slip, explaining the material you are sending. Or you could add a compliment slip with a parcel containing your product and write a short explanatory message or a note of politeness. And finally you can even send a compliment slip on its own if you feel that a short informal message is a best choice for this exact case.


The personal touch

Every item of your promotional material has its own use and the same is for your business stationery. There are certain times when you hand out a business card, or you send a letter and in the same way there are times when you would go for a compliment slip for delivering a message. The main advantage of a compliment slip is its informal way of message delivery, so use it to your advantage, but at the same time with care. This personal touch of a handwritten message could be a great way of establishing the closer relations with your customer and staying in their minds in case they need a similar product or service again. The simple polite notes like “thank you for your order”, “please, feel free to contact us at any time”, “sorry for the delay on our last delivery” or even “have a great vacation” could have a tremendous power then used in proper opportunity.

However sometimes it’s not worth to push the boundaries for personal relations with your business prospects and is better to resort to more formal ways of communication. For instance if you are contacting a person just for the first time, his or her position is a much higher one on a corporate hierarchy or the whole communication tone is very formal because of the type of industry it might be better to write a formal letter or just simply include your business card. There also are cases then you need to deliver your message on a formal letterhead for the legal reasons. In one case or the other, no matter what kind of communication form you choose so long as your prospects see your name and the logo it helps to stay in their minds big time.


Go Paperless!

Did you know that keeping a character in “Second Life” computer game produces the same carbon footprint as an average Brazilian real person? No joke, it’s all about those gigantic servers powered to run and then conditioned to operate. And now imagine how much carbon is in your paper letterhead or compliment slip. All that doesn’t make much sense to me, but apparently it is still better for the planet to send your letters by email than on paper medium. Not even taking the fact that you probably send more emails than letters by post per day. You can attach a nicely designed PDF format letterhead in your email with (or without) your own scanned signature. Or you can even make your actual email message design to fit the corporate look.