With the data from 350 million internal emails in PoliteMail’s 2018 Benchmark Report, Michael DesRochers has a good idea of what encourages employees to read them.
Michael is Managing Director of PoliteMail, which helps companies measure and improve email broadcasts to employees. “Email isn’t going anywhere,” he says. “People process some 200 emails a day, so we might as well get smarter about it.”
At a webinar sponsored by IABC, Michael shared these best practices to help increase email engagement:
- Send from a person, not a general mailbox
To deal with overflowing in boxes, people often filter email by the “from” address. So, send messages from an actual executive, a real person in HR, or other specific people.
- Make it responsive
The number one mobile app is email, and it’s a great way to reach non-desk employees. Trends show that some 33% of people read their email on mobile devices, so make sure your messages read properly and look great there.
- Keep it short
Send fewer than 500 words more often. Email overload is less about how many emails you get than how much information is crammed into each one. An email of about 4,500 words takes 20 minutes or so to read (at 200 to 250 words per minute). People don’t have that time to read something that’s not a top priority, so click-through rates go down as message length increases.
- Eliminate jargon
Amp up the simplicity and authenticity of your messages. Make it sound like a human, not a robot. Be clear. Simple language is easier to understand and results in 5% higher readership.
- Work on your subject lines
Keep the subject line to about seven words. Personalize, and remember WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). Why should the employee open this email? If your message has multiple topics, highlight the highest priority topic. Don’t use click bait headings that make grand promises but don’t follow through; that just misleads employees and destroys trust. Identify your intent – is the message a simple FYI or do you want employees to act or learn something?
- Improve targeting
The more generalized content you send, the more you train people to ignore your emails as irrelevant. Open rates are higher if you segment, target and personalize your messages. This also helps keep the messages shorter and moves important points higher up. If you want someone to do something, ask for just one thing, not many. More links mean fewer clicks.
- Have a publication mindset
Give regular news blasts a name. Use less text and more paragraph breaks to allow more white space. Chunk the text into sections with images. Make sure images are candid, not posed or obviously stock photos. Stick to a routine schedule; send at the same time of day, same day of the week, same week of the month, and/or same month in the quarter.
Knowing how to carefully craft a corporate email to be read and understood improves the effectiveness of your communication, Michael says. Follow his tips and you’ll be well on your way.
Image: Mohamed_hassan and Pixabay