Research that Newsweaver has carried out with both Melcrum and Ragan confirms that even with the proliferation of channel choices, email continues to have importance and value in the social age. But – and it’s a big one – there must be changes in how email is used within organizations.
I recently ran a webinar, now available as on demand, where I identified four common email challenges communicators can tackle, and gave tips and insights into how these challenges can be overcome.
Here are a few highlights from my presentation.
First do this – find and use the right internal communication tools
Use the right tools. You simply can not fully overcome your email challenges and increase your impact and engagement with email internal communications.
Many are still unaware the technology exists to bring the full power of the digital age to email. Communicators can use this technology to personalize communications to the recipient – enabling the right messages get to the right employees at the right time.
Employees receive personalized emails in a recognizable format that can be consumed on any device, and pushes only relevant content to that employee. Information is not missed, and users are not being swamped with content that is of little interest or use to them.
And, your campaigns are now highly measureable – and provide essential insight to communicators to improve going forward – plus prove business value.
Challenge #1 – Information overload
Cutting through the inbox clutter is becoming increasingly difficult. And guess what – IC is usually part of the problem!
Two types of emails contribute to inbox overload:
- Employee-to-employee – ‘All-employee’, excessive CCs and dreaded reply-to-alls often clutter the inbox and cause important communications to be lost in the deluge. In addition, email is being used for jobs it was never intended to do: collaboration, document transfer and storage. Organizations need to address this specifically to educate and improve the use of email in the workplace – which in turn will decrease inbox clutter.
- Corporate email communications – Here’s where internal communicators can make a big impact – leading by example, using best practice in all internal corporate communications.
A good first step to decluttering is to create a central calendar.
Working as a united team, set up and use central view to control and manage all corporate communications across the business. This can immediately decrease duplication, increase relevance – and ensure the frequency is right.
Rather than working in silos, partner with departments to consolidate, align and schedule regular communications; such as newsletters, as well as CEO and urgent messages. To further highlight important messages, implement black out days – and control volume by the use of protected lists that limit the capability to send mass emails. (Newsweaver has calendars built into customer accounts.)
Challenge #2 Personalization
The secret to engagement is treating your employees as individuals. Personalization lets you deliver that type of email communications – content relevant to each employee.
Personalization is also fantastic at reducing information overload because you are sending emails based on the needs of the employee. Rather than a batch-and-blast approach, you tailored content at the right time to the right audience.
Conduct a data audit to see what employee data you can use to segment audiences, personalize content, target campaigns and determine frequency.
Challenge #3 Channel effectiveness
The growing proliferation of channels can be confusing. The best advice in this small space is not to drop existing technology just to favor a new one. Instead conduct a channel audit to understand what is working, and what your employees like to use, and what you would like them to use more frequently. Here is a whitepaper on “Auditing Your Internal Communications“.
Tip – Take a multichannel approach to your campaigns, and also to drive the adoption and use of channels such as your intranet and social networks. Email can play a significant and measurable role in encouraging colleagues to adopt these channels.
If you use email to drive a multichannel strategy, don’t forget to include metrics from destination traffic links (links in the email that drive employees to your intranet, multimedia consumption, social sites and event registrations, etc.)
And, speaking of measurement …
Challenge #4 Measurement
Organizations increasingly recognize the need for – and benefits of – internal communications. However, as with mature corporate functions such as HR, marketing and finance, with this recognition comes a greater expectation to prove ROI and business value.
If you still count Outlook read receipts as a metric – you’re not getting the in depth measurement you need. Again, it comes back to using the most up-to-date technology – using the right tools and technology to create smart emails in the digital age.
Opens and clicks are indicators, but they do not provide the complete insight you need. Drill down on the types of clicks, such as content and section popularity, downloads, and event registrations, etc.
Use data to break out metrics by employee groups. This will allow you to measure employee engagement across the organization. These fields could include departments, pay grade, offices, regions or countries.
Create benchmarks and trend your results over time. While industry benchmarks are interesting, it is more important to create your own unique benchmarks tied to your goals. Review trends over months, quarters and the financial year to get a truly accurate view of peaks and troughs in employee activity.
And once you start measuring, and sharing insights with stakeholders and senior leaders – you are going to be able to work towards getting a seat at the strategic table. You’ll be in a very good position to not just ‘manage’ communications, but help create them.
If you want to see how your peers are using email across different business sectors watch the on demand edition of the webinar.