How to analyze the effects of effective communication
Building a solid communications strategy will require continuous analysis and tweaking to ensure you are creating effective communications that people respond to and take the required action. Here are some tips on how to analyze the effects of your communications.
Communication is a two-way interaction: you speak, listen to and react to another person. Critical to good communication is listening, which ensures you understand what’s being said and can react appropriately. When face-to-face, communication is straightforward as you can read physical cues – body language and eye contact – to determine if the person you’re speaking with is listening to you and understands what you’re saying.
With digital communications (online, mobile, social media, etc) you will need a little more help. This is where analytics come into play and give you the tools you need to analyze the effects of effective communication.
Why is analytics so important?
If you don’t measure the effects of your communications, you will have no idea who has received your message, who has read it, what they thought about it or how they reacted to it.
The analytics associated with your message allows you to listen to your audience and understand them; their preferences, their engagement levels, their opinion of the company. By understanding them, you can foster engagement.
Put simply, analytics show you what works and what doesn’t work. Email communications can be analyzed through click-through rates, and you can also quickly see which content is proving most effective, what time is the best time to send critical messages and what channel is reaching the most employees. This is incredibly valuable information that will allow you to develop a more targeted approach to your communication. And by adapting your communication to match your employees’ unique preferences and behavior, you can increase the effectiveness of your message.
What are the key metrics you should be looking at?
- Click-through rate: shows you how many people have engaged with your content by clicking through on links in your email.
- Conversion rate: the number of people who have clicked through a link in your email and completed a desired action – filling out a survey or ticking a box to signal their attendance at a meeting.
- Email forwarding: how many people have clicked the ‘share this’ button to post the message on social media or email it to a colleague.
- Page views: how many views a particular page has had.
- Bounce rate: the percentage of single-page visits. Typically your homepage will have the highest bounce rate.
- Exit pages: the pages where people have left the intranet.
- Time of week/day: when people are accessing the intranet.
- Site searches: what people are searching for on the intranet site.
- Site downloads: how many people are downloading specific documents or forms on the intranet.
Enterprise social network metrics
- Likes: how many people ‘like’ your updates.
- Shares: how many people have shared your content.
- Comments: how many people have commented on your content.
To gain a detailed understanding of how your employees are reacting to your communications, it’s important to use an internal communications platform that has been built specifically for the task. These made-for-purpose programs give you that added layer of information that can be turned into actionable insights. Detailed analytics within Poppulo serve up comprehensive reports on your multi-channel campaigns. We have also developed bespoke analytics platforms that can collate and present detailed metrics for multiple channels in one single dashboard, making for easy channel comparison.
Get a before and after picture of your communications
To measure the effectiveness of your communication, you will first need to understand the current state of play. What are the figures telling you? It’s a good idea to examine each figure on its own: as we’ve shown above, most metrics are self-explanatory. The important thing here is that you get a baseline reading. This will mean you now have figures that can be used to develop a before and after picture.
Now you can start making changes:
- change the time of day you send your email newsletter
- segment your target audience
- test different subject lines
- improve navigation or search function on your intranet
- add internal links to relevant information
- enhance your content through multimedia
- make policy documents print friendly
- use a multi-channel approach to communications
All the time, continue to monitor and assess your figures so you can see if your changes are having any effect.
Quick polls and calls to action
You can also use quick polls, or Pulse Surveys to measure employee reaction to your communication. Have people understood an important policy of IT changes? Asking simple questions will allow you to gauge their level of understanding or interest in the message.
At the end of each message think about including a call to action. Whether it’s asking people to confirm their attendance at a meeting, print out and sign a document, fill out a survey, or simply click through on a related article, by adding a call to action you can quickly check if people are engaging with your communication. If not, you will need to work harder at making the call to action more obvious or informative. But again, this is where having the baseline figure will help you, by showing you how many people are taking the requested action.
Continuous monitoring and measuring the secret to good communication
As employee engagement expert Sean Trainor says, “measurement isn’t a one-off activity, it is a critical success factor for communications planning, execution, and evaluation of effectiveness”. Ongoing assessment, measuring, surveys, and polls are key factors in developing an effective communication strategy. Listen to your audience, they will tell you all you need to know about how you’re doing.