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14 Ways to Help Your Internal Communication Emails Get Read

Email is still a common way to communicate with employees internally—but it can be challenging to reach those whose inboxes are full or who don't have desk jobs.

That's why it's important to use every available tool to get your strategic internal emails read. Here are 14 tips for creating an email that gets opened and read:

  1. Use a third-party tool. It would be nearly impossible to create the essential features that these tools now offer, from sophisticated designs to insightful analytics, automated features that help you manage and grow your lists, and mobile optimization. We use Campaign Monitor, but there are others to choose from, as well.

  2. Use great design that makes it easy for your recipient to engage. A reader makes a split-second decision about whether to read your email based on how it looks. Good design will absolutely increase your readership.

  3. Curate content with care. Make sure that your distribution lists and topics are right for each other.

  4. Avoid corporate-speak and overly sanitized messages that don't feel authentic. Use simple, clear words that speak to what your audience cares about.

  5. Use arresting photos. The human brain can take in the information in a photo instantly—but that same information could take pages of text to convey. Look for a great (not good) stock image that doesn't look like a stock image, or invest in a custom shot by a professional. Generally speaking, use more pictures than text if you want to increase readership.

  6. Include a video. It can increase your open rates by 19% and your click rate by more than 50%. An estimated 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after viewing a video.

  7. Keep your text short. Constant Contact says that 20 lines of text and three or fewer images result in optimal email campaign click rates. In our experience with A/B testing, shorter copy pulled better by 11 percentage points.

  8. Draw the reader in with a subject line that invites curiosity and makes a promise your reader cares about.

  9. Create a call to action that's clear and compelling. Visual buttons elicit more clicks than text links.

  10. Send it from someone meaningful that the recipient knows and would like to hear from.

  11. Do A/B testing. Change just one variable at a time, so you know which one made the difference. Try sending it with different subject lines, short vs. longer versions of your content, or using different images. You can also try sending it on different days and at different times.

  12. Review your analytics and incorporate what you learn into your next e-letter. Open rates and clicks vary by industry and audience, so compare yours to those that are similar to yours.

  13. Don't spam. Cognitive overload is real. Delivering relevant, timely messages in the right dosage shows respect for your audience and can help keep your emails from getting ignored.

  14. Invite feedback. Include an Ask-Me-Anything link and see what you can learn.

Want to see what the best are doing? Campaign Monitor provides some inspiration with Campaign Monitor’s 97 top marketing campaigns.

Break These Email Habits

Email is sometimes a first impression—and sometimes the only communication we have with a person. Which means our company and our own reputation are completely in the hands of a few lines of type.
 
Here are seven email habits you’ll want to break—from Lisa Evan’s Fast Company article:

1. Over-copying people on emails
2. Vague subject lines
3. Subject lines that don’t match the message
4. Sending one-liner responses
5. Immediately replying to an email but without purpose
6. Overusing the high priority button
7. Not including a signature

Read the whole article here.

Are Your Internal Communication Emails Working?

Employee communication is gaining more attention and resourcing in companies because it plays an important role in both employee engagement and alignment. A central tool of this is using email to convey the strategies, successes and goals which help people do their jobs better.
 
Email is a highly targeted tool that can provide metrics that help you see what messages are getting viewed and by whom, and because of this, should be a central part of every company’s communication strategy.
 
But should your internal e-letters be judged by the same metrics as external e-letters? What kind of results should you be getting from your internal communication e-letters and campaigns?
 
In this helpful infographic by Newsweaver, you can see some national benchmark metrics for open and click rates specifically targeted to internal communications.
 
We’re seeing real success with our clients in using this as a tool to build culture, engagement and alignment. Where are you seeing this used well?

8 Tips on Getting People to Read your Emails: Part 1

Some people get hundreds of emails a day, and don’t even attempt to read them all. How can you see that yours get to the “read this” status?

1. Start with the main point in a single sentence.
We’re sometimes tempted to start at the beginning to tell the whole story, thinking that a reader needs to understand what led to the point. In some cases, this requires too much work for the reader to get to the point, so they jump ship. Start with a summary statement that gives them enough information if they go no further—or a reason to proceed.

2. Invest in writing a good subject line.
This not only helps someone decide if he or she should read it, but helps them find it later. Retrieval of emails later can be time-consuming and downright frustrating if the subject line isn’t clear. Examples:

  • Need your review on the Smith case by tomorrow
  • Potential delay in shipping of the direct mail for Anderson & Evans, Inc.
  • Cost increase on ad space for Henderson Windows account

3. Make it easy to browse.

  • Use subheads to help the reader find the section pertinent to him or her.
  • Use bullets instead of paragraphs.
  • Underline, highlight or change font colors on the key point (deadline, cost increase, action needed).
  • Make action items and next steps stand out visually (in the subject line, when appropriate).
  • If more detailed back story is imperative, indicate where the reader can find it. Title it clearly and put it at the end, so only those who want it can find it.

4. Give your reader just-in-time information.
Many readers prefer to focus on just the next step, rather than the next 10 steps. Most don’t have time to save it and review it over a period of months as it becomes relevant.