Welcome to the first episode of Blackboard Basics!

Today's video is all about measuring engagement with email, and specifically measuring opens and clicks on employee email. 




Today I’m going to be talking about measuring engagement with email, specifically measuring opens and clicks on employee email.

At Bananatag, we’ve built a platform specifically for internal communicators, to make designing emails easier, and to give you the data you need to prove your success.

With that said, the information in today’s video will be relevant to any system you may be using to measure opens and clicks on your emails.

First, we’ll start by looking at email opens. Then, we’ll talk about what your open metrics are trying to tell you, how you can influence email opens, and how to get more employees opening your emails. After that we’ll look at link clicks on your emails in the same way.

Finally, we’ll look at a real example from one of our customers that combines all of these concepts.

Let’s get into it.


Measuring Opens on Internal Emails

One of the primary metrics for employee email is your open rate.

An open rate is recorded as a percentage, and this represents the portion of your employees that actually opened and viewed the content of a given email.

There’s been a lot written about diagnosing and optimizing email open rates, but the good thing is that there’s really only three factors that affect open rates. And you should be able to control all of them.

Optimizing inbox previews

The blackboard includes a diagram of what a new email looks like for any recipient in Outlook.

If you want to increase your open rates, this is where you need to focus your efforts, because this is what employees see before they decide to open your email (or not).

The importance of subject lines

Your subject line is the single biggest opportunity to entice employees to open, so write your subject lines carefully, and try writing 5 or 10 variations before choosing your final subject line if possible.

If you’ve been using “Weekly Update” as your subject line for every update you send, switching things up can have a huge impact.

If you’ve been using “Weekly Update” as your subject line for every update you send, switching things up can have a huge impact. You can try teasing some aspect of the messages content in the subject line, or writing your subject line as a question.

Capturing employees' attention with snippits

Below the subject line is what is called the ‘snippit’. Some people also call this the pre-header text. By default, this is the first 35 to 100 characters of the email itself and is automatically pulled from the email’s content and displayed below the subject line.

You can control what this snippit is, and it can also have an impact on your open rate. Think of it as an extension of your subject line, and a way for you to further tease the content inside your email and get employees attention.

If you’re not sure how to add snippits to your emails, check out Bananatag’s Email Designer, which makes this a piece of cake. The trick is to put a text block right at the top of the email so this line of text becomes the snippit in your recipients’ inboxes.

Sending addresses that maximize email opens

Finally, the email address you send from will have an effect on your open rate. Maybe your employees pay more attention to internal emails that come from the CEO’s address? Make sure that the email address you’ve chosen to send from is recognizable and appropriate to who’s actually writing the message.

Measuring clicks on internal emails

Your click rate refers to the portion of employees that opened the email, and then clicked one or more links inside of the email’s body.

Clicks are one the most valuable metrics you can look at, because it’s a way to figure out what content is most popular with employees

...the goal shouldn’t always be to get every link clicked as much as possible. A group of employees will find different sections and links valuable.

If you’re sending a newsletter with lots of links, the goal shouldn’t always be to get every link clicked as much as possible. Different employees will find different sections and links valuable.

But, if you have a specific thing you want employees to do with your email, this is where your click data becomes critical.

If employees are opening your emails, but you’re not seeing a lot of link clicks, it can mean a few different things. We can look at the link itself, where it is in the email, and how it looks for different recipients.

Using Calls-to-Action

Marketers often call the links in their marketing emails a call to action or CTA. We like this term because when you have a specific goal for an email or a link, your link should be a clear “call to action”, ideally one that inspires the reader to click.

Buttons are a best practice, but you’re not limited to using buttons for your links. In some cases making an image a link, or providing a link in the body text may work better.

How Device Type Effects Clicks

Finally, when diagnosing clicks, don’t forget to look at device metrics. If you know your audience is largely using mobile devices to view emails (vs desktop computers), it becomes all the more important to have a brief message and a strong and visible call to action. Fewer employees will scroll through a very long mobile email, so having a button near the top of the email is ideal for mobile.

How Kate Used Opens and Clicks to Diagnose a Poor Survey Response Rate

Now, let’s look at an interesting example that combines these two ideas.. It’s a true story from one of our customers, Kate, who was tasked with asking 25,000 employees to complete an annual feedback survey.

Kate sent out the survey link via email... and unfortunately almost no one responded.

However, because Kate had open and click metrics, she knew she could get more insight into what was going on.

...it helps if we put ourselves in the shoes of our recipients and imagine the experience they had.

We can use the data to look at this situation, and it helps if we put ourselves in the shoes of our recipients and imagine the experience they had from seeing the email in their inbox to ideally completing the survey.

So we know that a very small portion of employees actually completed the survey… but when Kate looked at the open data, it showed that 70% of employees did actually open it.

And she also noticed that of those employees that opened, 85% clicked the link to start the survey.

Well damn…

People obviously want to complete this survey because they’re opening and clicking. Kat concluded there must be something wrong with the survey itself, which turned out to be the fact that it took over an hour to complete.

In this case, no one wasted any time over analyzing the email Kate had sent since it was clear it had served its purpose. The design of the annual survey was the cause of the low number of employees responding. Rather than send another email right away, Kate went to work improving the survey instead.