We’ve all been there.
After sharing your last all-staff email’s open and click-through rates, your HR team is pressuring you to send out another email about the benefits program.
And leadership is convinced no one read their latest blog post and believes a one-off all-staff email will do the trick.
It couldn’t hurt to send another *friendly reminder* … right?
You hit send and, once again, open rates are abysmal and no one is clicking through... 😒
What are you supposed to do?
Well, before you send yet another all-staff email, it’s probably a good idea to think about why employees might be ignoring your emails—and how to fix it:
1. There’s just too much email
Email itself isn’t bad.
It’s still the most prominent communication tool for internal comms and, when used effectively, can help keep your employees connected to what’s happening in your organization.
But the problem with email is that there’s just too much of it.
And employees are becoming overwhelmed trying to keep up with the volume.
With that much email to keep up with, chances are your employees aren’t thoroughly reading everything.
In reality, your employees are probably skimming your internal newsletters and retaining very little information, which means they could be missing key action items—like registering for the latest employee initiative you need them to, or reading that blog post that your CEO just posted.
But wait… it gets worse.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened email overload and led to a growing level of employee burnout and job dissatisfaction.
According to a March 2021 survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 38% of office workers said that ‘email fatigue’ is likely to push them to quit their jobs.
In particular, this survey revealed that email and info overload negatively affects younger workers.
Of office workers aged 40 and under, 51% listed the volume of emails and Slack or Team messages they received as a top reason for why they’d consider leaving their jobs.
But here’s the good news.
You can turn this email overload situation around by thinking strategically about the frequency, design, and content of your internal emails.
How to fix the problem of “too much email”:
📝 Conduct an internal email audit
Take stock of all of the internal email sent in your organization with an internal email audit. Go ahead and use this handy template, so you can note important details like: who is sending emails, the content type, and their frequency.
Ultimately, an internal email audit will lead you to discover the areas you can improve, and where you can reduce.
📈 Dive into email analytics
With a tool like Bananatag, you can get the insight you need to create an effective, data-backed email strategy pretty easily. With data like open rates, click maps, and pulse surveys, you can figure out which email content is most popular, what needs improvement, and how your emails’ design may be helping or hindering engagement.
If you want more insight, you can even break down your analytics by employee segments—like department, location, or even job title. This can help you narrow down engagement problems and cross-reference it with other employee data to get a fuller picture of what’s really going on.
Once you gather this info, you can add it to your internal email audit to better identify opportunities to consolidate content, sunset emails that don’t perform well, and demonstrate to your leadership team that sending too many emails isn’t an effective strategy.
Not sending that much internal email and employees are still ignoring them?
Then it could be your email design.
2. Your email design is outdated
After you conduct your internal email audit, take a glance at your worst-performing internal emails.
Is there too much text? Not enough visuals? Is it an old, clunky design that looks like it’s from 2008? (We’ve all been there.)
Unfortunately, employees are more likely to ignore your emails when they’re outdated.
Why is that?
There are a few important reasons:
They can’t read it on their phones
Older email designs are usually cluttered with text, outdated images, hard-to-read fonts, and aren’t compatible with current technology like mobile phones.
Mobile capability, in particular, is a big deal in today’s workforce. In 2020, mobile opens accounted for 46 percent of all email opens. So if your email design isn’t up-to-date and optimized for mobile, then you won’t be reaching your employees as effectively.
And as desktop email apps and services (like Outlook) are updated, an outdated email design might even break up your newsletter into awkward chunks, making it extremely hard for an employee to read and understand your message.
It looks phishy
But it’s not just about technology. If your email design looks dated and strange, people won’t trust it.
With phishing attempts, spam, and hacking on the rise, employees are encouraged to be more skeptical of the email they receive. With modern technology, these attempts are only becoming more sophisticated, which means employees have to be extra diligent.
If your email looks unprofessional, off-brand, or broken, employees might think someone is trying to hack them, so they’ll either mark it as spam, delete it straight away, and they definitely won’t click any links.
After all, it’s better to be safe and delete the weird-looking email than compromise your company data!
The design makes it difficult to read
Good design is crucial to communication.
Without it, you risk clouding your messages or creating cognitive barriers to accessing important information.
Visuals influence human comprehension and decision making more than any other factor. And many studies have confirmed that attractive designs work better to convey complex ideas, influence cognition and decision making, and improve usability.
If a design is too distracting or hard to look at, it will take longer for your readers to get the message. They may even miss key elements if their eyes get lost in an unbalanced design.
And if your newsletter is too difficult to read, employees simply won’t read it.
How to fix the problem of outdated email design:
🎨 Get inspired
Before you can create a great employee newsletter design, it helps to know what great design actually looks like and what email design best practices are.
Take a look through your inbox and make note of the emails that grab your attention. What makes them so compelling? How do they balance text with images, video, and calls-to-action?
👩🏽🔬 Experiment, experiment, experiment!
Next, experiment with your email design and see how it influences engagement.
You can run our infamous five second test, or simply switch up some elements week to week to see if it influences click-through rates or read times.
Don’t have design skills or the right tool to experiment with? No worries. You can try out your design ideas with our drag-and-drop Email Designer.
It’s so fast that you can redesign your whole newsletter in a snap. Don’t believe us? Watch Kyla transform this outdated email newsletter from 2008 into something totally fabulous—in under 30 mins using Bananatag’s Email Designer.
3. Your email content isn’t resonating
Of course, we know that the content you have to include in your email newsletter might be totally out of your control.
While an email design makeover is important to visually capture your employees’ attention, fine-tuning content can be more political.
That’s because leadership and stakeholders might have competing interests. They might believe that every single thing is priority number one, the most important thing ever—and absolutely has to be pushed to every channel.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible for every piece of content to be the most important. Not all channels are appropriate for all kinds of content. And there’s going to be a lot of content that isn’t actually that interesting or important to employees.
And that’s really what’s at the heart of the matter.
Your newsletter is for employees.
But these editorial directions don’t always align with what employees actually want or need.
Don’t tell your boss we said this, but employees are actually your most important stakeholders when it comes to newsletter content.
If you want them to read it, you have to write it with their needs and desires in mind, or else why on earth would they bother?
So it’s important to ask: what do they want to see more of? Less of? What information is most important to them?
How to fix employee newsletter content problems:
🔬Segment your emails and ditch the all-staff
Not all content is going to be relevant to all audiences. That’s a fact.
That’s why we recommend segmenting your audiences with custom distribution lists.
This helps you track trends across different segments so you can identify which content resonates with which groups, where there may be engagement issues, and how to make your communications more relevant to certain employee groups.
The more specific you make your segments, the more opportunities you have to make your communications relevant to more employees.
🗣 Collect employee feedback
Pulse Surveys allow you to get insight into how employees really feel about the emails they receive. You can track sentiment, measure reception over time, and ask for feedback about your newsletter content through anonymous comments.
It’s important to note that Pulse Survey feedback is not a story on its own. Just because some employees might fill out a survey doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to leave comments.
But when you combine feedback with analytics from your internal email audit, you’ll be able to see a story emerge around how internal email is received—and perceived—by particular audiences in your organization.
Then, you can advocate for both an internal email redesign and content makeover. ✨
It’s not you. It’s all-staff emails.
When your emails are ignored, it’s the worst.
But it’s not you.
As we’ve shown, there are many factors that might be contributing to your engagement problem—like too much email, out-of-date designs, or disconnected content.
But this is something you can change.
Pretty easily, actually.
With a tool like Bananatag up your sleeve, you can make better decisions about your newsletter design and content strategy, make your messages memorable, and fight back against email overload.
If you’re interested in creating employee newsletters that are too good to ignore, why not take Bananatag’s Email Designer for a spin right now? Click below to get started.