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A new client recently asked me to review their communications strategy.

At the time, their big push was a food drive at a local event. They wanted to fill a food pantry as well as raise awareness in the community. They were using email marketing, online advertising, traditional local print ads, and local PR. These were great ways to get the word out to the right audience. But then their strategy went off the rails.

Their emails and ads all had different calls to action. Some said, “Donate.” Others said, “Give.” Still others: “Make a difference.” Most people need to hear the same message seven times before they remember it, and if that message is not consistent, it will not stick. Decide on an effective call to action and then stick with it. Repeat it over and over, in a variety of channels. Let the message come from different places, but the message itself should always be the same.

This consistency needs to carry through to your visuals as well. If your email is linking to a web page, be sure that the email and the web page have a consistent look. The person needs immediate reassurance that they’ve arrived in the right place. Colors, visuals, and mood should all support your messaging and your call to action.