So this is it. The day is here! You’ve just launched an incredible new benefit, an innovative reward and recognition programme or transformed your internal communications — and you can’t wait to let everyone know. You’ve crafted the perfect email in advance to let everyone know that something awesome is available to them, you hit send ... and you wait for the enrollment to start.
Next, your hopes soar. There’s a trickle of interest.
And then, silence.
When it comes to launching a new initiative, we’re often so caught up by the logistics of how the operations will actually work we don’t think too much further ahead about how we’re going to get people to really engage with it.
And why would we? Often the product is the result of evidence from your people that shows this is something they want, so surely the trusty email blast should be enough… right?
I get why you think the above statement is accurate, after all email is one of the most powerful tools we have at our fingertips. Reports from earlier this year indicated that email is a clear favourite in communications where the ROI is not only one of the highest of all forms of digital communication, but additionally 72% of people say they prefer companies to communicate with them via email that with any other channel.
But it’s not all good news. Here are a couple tidbits for you:
Every day, business workers receive on average nearly 90 emails every day. So while email might be preferred, it’s probably still ignored.
1 in 3 people admit to checking their email within 5 minutes of waking up
So going back to your programme launch - what does this mean for you?
Sending your first email is not enough to guarantee engagement and success of your new idea, but it is a brilliant first start. Here are three key areas to look at to make sure you get the most out of your next communications campaign:
Think beyond the eBlast
In case you haven’t figured it out yet: Email is a great tool, but nearly a third surveyed still don’t like it. No matter what organisation you work in, you will have different groups of employees who prefer different types of communication and it’s important you make it easy for them to access the information.
I’ve used an expression many times over the year’s at RG which sums this up nicely: “Go where the eyes are.”
Don’t make your people work to find things out, and ensure you’re putting content in the places they’re already looking. In the case of a new programme launch this might mean following up your email with an article on the company blog (hello!), adding it to your other social media channels like Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook, or even sending a letter to the home address of really hard to reach employees.
To reduce cost and time affiliated with the repetition of these tasks, make sure you’re collecting data points on opens and engagement rates so that you know what avenue reaches the most employees.
You don’t have to use every tool in your arsenal, but putting your message out via three key channels is a good rule to live by.
Plan your follow-up!
How often have you deleted an email by mistake, or opened it briefly only to immediately forget it was ever sent? How long do you spend digging for a lost email?
To succeed in email you must send relevant, timely messages which are useful to your recipients. And by useful I don’t mean informative, I mean something that they would find genuinely interesting and an advantage to themselves. Don’t stop at only sending one initial eBlast - follow-ups are expected and appreciated. But make them relevant and meaningful. A couple ideas:
Take your employees on a journey with follow up messages and reminders highlighting how they can use the programme and when.
Give them progress reports showing that other people are using the service
Link your campaign with other internal happenings. Can you add in a line about the campaign in the company newsletter? Liaise with your induction team members and add a slide? Or maybe you can do the outreach yourself and add a simple one-line reminder to your email signature.
Bring your message to life
Us human beings are fickle creatures and we often wait with anything new to see if anyone else jumps first. Ever walked past an awesome looking restaurant just because no one else is eating there at the time? The same applies to any communications campaign you run in your organisation — people wait to see others using it to reassure themselves that it is something genuine, beneficial and worthwhile.
Make it personal: Share personal stories and examples of how other people are using the benefit. Employee testimonials can be one of the most powerful tools you have and you can present their stories in whichever medium works best for you. Short quotes, full written accounts, videos and interviews will all be great additions to your email campaign which will provide the reassurance that we all subconsciously crave.
Find your Champions. Create a Champion or advocacy programme to drive engagement, which can work incredibly well for pushing your campaigns forward and give employees a further opportunity to get involved.
Remember, your communications campaign is a journey with several steps on the road to success. These are just some of the hundreds of ideas you can start with to make sure your message is reaching your audience.
Tell me some of your most creative ideas in the comments, or on Twitter @LisaMTurnbull. I’ll see you there!