Employee Comms

Top Tips for improving the performance of your internal email campaigns


 — May 19th, 2015

Top Tips for improving the performance of your internal email campaigns

Want to boost your open and click rates?

Do you want your all employee announcement to be seen by as many people as possible? Here’s a quick and effective tip - Ask for permission to send from your CEO’s email address.

We wanted to see how our customers could achieve the best open rate when communicating to all employees. Sending from the CEO was just one of the tips we identified.

Having aggregated our customer statistics, the average open rate for general flyers sent to all employees was 58%. Flyers sent from the CEO to all employees achieved an open rate of 67%. That’s a significant difference.

However there’s a lot more to improving your internal email campaign performance than attaching the CEO’s name to a message. Here are our top tips for boosting your numbers.

Make content relevant

The more relevant information is to an individual, the more likely they are to pay attention. I was a customer of Newsweaver myself at Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW) for two years. Shortly after Vodafone acquired CWW in 2012, Newsweaver ran a report for us looking at the most popular content over that two-year period. What got the most opens and clicks? An announcement that Vodafone would be replacing our company phones.

That was the moment the importance of answering the ‘What’s In It For Me?’ question really hit home. We’re all naturally interested in news that affects us. Explaining how news will impact your audience’s daily work life will make it far more interesting to them.

Some Newsweaver customers have taken this a step further. Surrey County Council use the Newsweaver ‘Dynamic Content’ feature to deliver personalized newsletters direct to each employee. It means content is far more relevant to each individual. It also helped them to boost their newsletter open rates by 40%.

Adapt content for online reading

In 2013, the average human attention span was 8.25 seconds (goldfish can manage nine). This means it’s vital that we get key messages across as clearly and concisely as possible.

It’s not just our attention span that’s changing either. We behave differently reading online compared to reading print. Online, the eye moves vertically down the page as we quickly scan content.

Adapting your content to meet these changes in behavior can have a major impact. You can do this by:

  • Breaking up long paragraphs
  • Using descriptive subheadings
  • Replacing paragraphs with bullet-point and numbered lists
  • Using bold type for important words and phrases
  • Left-aligning text
  • Using white space

Think beyond the written word

One of the big bonuses of digital communications is that communicators can use rich media to help convey your message. Videos are great, but keep them short. Very short. Another of our customers, in the financial services, is seeing great results from creating Vine-style, 15-second videos. They’re much easier for people to watch, as viewers can quickly understand the message.

Podcasts and audio recordings are also great options for helping to get a message across. Infographics are another great way to communicate complex messages. Experian UK&I have greatly increased understanding through the use of infographics to explain employee survey and financial results.

Don’t forget the power of images

Spend some time building an image bank that you can use across your communications. Tell content contributors that you’ll only run their story if they supply a suitable image. Ensure someone is on-hand to take photos at internal events (employee photos are a sure-fire way to capture attention).

Color visuals increase the willingness to read by 80%. Don’t just use them on your newsletter cover page, but on each article page too.

Make sure you’re mobile-friendly

Today, almost 50% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. In 2011 it was just 8%. If you’re not making it easy for mobile users to engage with your communications, a number of your audience will remain out of the loop.

Responsive templates that automatically resize to the readers’ device can address this, but they won’t work on all devices. Make sure the content you’re creating is also ‘mobile-friendly’. Using a simple single-column design, a minimum font size of 14 and including whitespace and touch-friendly calls to action goes a long way to improving usability.

Think about timing

Do you send global messages in one go? Our research has shown that messages sent between 08:00 and 09:00 or 12:00 and 14:00 achieve above average open rates.

Even the day you send out messages can have an impact. The same research shows that Mondays, Tuesday and Friday mornings and Thursday afternoons achieve above average open and click rates. Tuesday and Friday afternoons should be avoided.

Review the content you’re sending

Finally, use your reports to work out what content is most popular with your audience. Studying what works, and what doesn’t, lets you identify the type of stories that your audience engage with the most.

Do stories about employees constantly perform well? Do articles with videos get more views? What types of stories aren’t popular? Find out what works well and use those insights to inform your content strategy.

Want more tips?

Newsweaver’s Success Community is packed with best practice articles that will help you to get the most from your email communications.

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