If you search the term email newsletter, you’ll find countless articles with titles such as “How to Improve your Email Newsletter”, “Tips to Ensure your Company Newsletter Gets Read, Not Tossed”, and “How to Create an Email Newsletter People Actually Read”. There’s a theme here: email newsletters for internal communication are not working. In this blog, we outline four reasons why email newsletters are not worth the time and some tips on rethinking your internal communication strategy.
Newsletters are time consuming
Email newsletters take valuable time and resources away from your team. If you don’t have an email tool, you are forced to send your content to IT or a designer who can add the CSS. If you do have an email editor, more often than not, the drag-and-drop tools are often clunky and can be difficult to use. Communicators resort to copying the same HTML someone has previously created and changing the words each time a newsletter needs to be sent. It also takes time to find the content you need from every stakeholder in the company such as management, business units and functional leaders.
Email newsletters are not optimized for mobile
For deskless employees or those in the field, most communication is received on mobile devices. Since 2011, there has been 13% increase in opens per email with mobile devices, yet email newsletters are not optimized for viewing on mobile. It is critical for emails to be short and concise because long paragraphs in newsletters are not easily scannable. Newsletters can get lost in the hundreds of emails that employees receive and if they do find the newsletter, content such as images take too much time to load or come out fuzzy. Your newsletters may appear beautiful when you create them, but on a mobile device, they can appear quite different.
Email takes away from employee productivity
On top of the amount of time it takes to create a newsletter, employees waste valuable time at work by stopping to read a lengthy company newsletter. While email may be critical to some aspects of your job – such as speaking to clients or working with vendors – it is not the most effective means of communicating with your large, distributed workforce. Email in general is slowing your employees down. It’s important to give your employees a way to quickly connect with the company news and information they need to be successful in their jobs.
Newsletters aren’t personal
If your newsletter is not personalized or relevant, it could wind up in the trash. While personalization is important, it can be hard to manually add and maintain lists of email addresses – especially if your organization is made up of thousands of employees. With most HRIS systems, there is no easy way to update the lists directly or segment those lists into employee groups. This means that most communicators are either sending less information than they want or blasting everyone with too many emails.
On top of it all, the majority of internal communicators are lacking any kind of meaningful metrics to show the value of their newsletters. A recent study found that only 22% of internal communication and HR professionals were confident in the effectiveness of the metrics they tracked.
So what’s a better alternative?
When Steve Harrington joined Extreme Networks as the VP of Marketing, he was tasked with fixing their main internal communication challenge: employees were not reading company email.
“Employees aren’t reading email, they are getting bombarded with email, they’re not reading all of the fancy newsletters that marketing and HR are doing, they can’t find information on our employee intranet, yet we want our field people to be engaged and be sales enabled to go out and sell our products, as well as other employee around the globe. How do you communicate effectively with that given this barrage of emails that is just totally totally out of control in our workforce today?”
Harrington aimed to create an engaged workforce through a mobile platform that could reach all employees in the global organization with relevant and timely content through E360, a mobile employee communications platform powered by SocialChorus. He has completely eliminated email newsletters.
Communicators may hope that getting a new email service provider will fix all the problems that come with email, but in reality, they should rethink their communications strategy entirely. It is important to understand how alternatives to email, such as mobile platforms with the power to personalize content, can improve internal communications and find what is the best fit for your organization.