We have been hearing from members who are looking to improve the readership of their email communications. As the owner of the CEB Market Insights newsletter, I know where you’re coming from: looking to improve communication is about more than seeing upticks in your open and click-through metrics; it’s about ensuring your insights are shared with the right people at the right time.
But the newsletter/internal email metrics Market Insights tracks can give us an idea of the impact we’re having on decision making—the first step to embedding customer understanding is to ensure our business partners see our insights. I turned to my colleagues at CEB Communications to understand “typical” internal email readership, and the news seems pretty good: more than one-quarter of respondents achieved 60% readership or more, and only 4% observed less than 20% readership for internal newsletters. (CEB Communications members can access more internal newsletter benchmarks here)
Do your insights communications fall into a similar level of readership? And is 60% readership considered a successful rate when we’re communicating essential customer understanding? I spent some time researching techniques to boost email readership, and here are some of the more actionable recommendations I found:
- Keep them brief: Under 50 characters seems to be a popular rule, but for those of you who receive the CEB Market Insights newsletter, you know this is a rule that I myself cannot master.
- Be precise: Related to the point above, but with the added recommendation that you avoid vague or misleading language.
- Use your brand: You can do this in the subject line or the from name/email address. We have spoken with many Market Insights departments who have created their own internal brand or logo. Microsoft, for example, provides its “stamp of approval” on data and insights that come from its group to show that they are vetted, high quality results. You could see how creating a specific “from” name and using consistent subject lines could train business partners to open future emails based on the quality level of past communiqués.
- Make it catchy up-front: Most email applications preview some portion of the message before it’s opened. Take advantage of this by putting snappy, counterintuitive findings up-front; what they see in the preview pane may be enough to convince them to open and continue reading.
- Use humor: Remember that you are people sending messages to people. Use human, conversational scripting and humor to make things interesting and memorable.
- Provide a roadmap: When it’s easy for business partners to see where they can use the insights you’re communicating, the right people are more likely to read on. A number of our members have had success using a customer journey model as a type of “you are here” to show business partners where your insight fits in to business needs.
- Re-communicate: Don’t be afraid to re-introduce existing insights in your communications. Monsanto prioritizes older insights for time and strategic relevance, because timing is everything when you’re trying to educate your business partners.
What tips and tricks do you use to cut through your business partners’ email clutter? I’d love to hear about your strategies in the comments section below!
Related member resources:
- Microsoft’s Market Insights Department Seal of Approval
- Creating an Appetite for Customer Learning
- Using a Customer Journey Model for Synthesis and Strategy
- Monsanto’s Prioritized Insight Re-Introduction Process
- Top 10 Ways to Improve Email Open Rates, marketingprofs.com
- 5 Email Subject Line Strategies that Will Increase Your Open Rates, unbounce.com
- That’s So Awkward: Why You Should Use Humor in Your Email Campaigns, cmo.com