Oh, email! So common. So convenient. And so abundant that most people keep their finger on the "delete" button, ready to use the nuclear option to reduce overload.

If you're relying on email to communicate to employees, you've got a problem: Just because your topic is relevant doesn't mean that your email will get through the clutter. Employees increasingly trash emails without opening them. And when they do click, employee spend mere seconds gleaning the most critical information.

How can you create emails that won't be treated as spam? Even better, that employees will actually open and read?

Simple: pay attention to how smart marketers are approaching email. Just because you have a tiny budget and limited resources for internal communication doesn't mean you can't learn from the pros. Here are 5 crucial improvements:

1.  Master mobile. If you're not designing email to be experienced on mobile, game over. Here are three important stats, compiled by emailmonday:

  • Mobile opens accounted for 46% of all email opens, followed by webmail opens at 35%, and desktop opens at 18%. - Litmus "Email Client Market Share Trends" (Jun 2018)
  • About 3 in 5 consumers check their email on the go (mobile) and 75% of say they use their smartphones most often to check email. - Fluent "The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email" (2018)
  • The biggest turnoffs people have with mobile email are: Receiving too many (44%), not relevant (37%), Too small to read and interact with (32%), website and landing pages not mobile optimized (26%) and not well formatted for mobile phones (21%) - LiveClicker and The Relevancy Group "Exploring the Benefits Real-Time Email - Driving Marketing Effectiveness" (2015)

The bottom line? The best solution is to use an email platform that automatically applies responsive design, the magic wand that makes emails render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes. If that's not possible, make sure your emails are written and designed to work well on any size screen. Which leads us to the next tip . . .

2. Use shorter, more bite-sized email content. Litmus, a company that provides tools for email creation, testing, analytics and collaboration, conducted a survey to ask marketing experts what improvements they're making to email. Nearly 30% responded that snackable content is on their list. And it should be on yours, too, since employees just don't have time to read long messages.

3. Build stronger narratives and storytelling--using language that's more human. Hey, 1970 called and they want their corporate speak back. If you're still creating emails that sound like the current CEO's dad wrote them, you're not writing in a way that resonates with today's employees. (BTW, 24% of marketers surveyed by Litmus said they're working on "stronger narratives and storytelling" and 20% mentioned "using language that's more human.)

4. Focus on personalization.I know this is a hard one for those of us who communicate to employees because we often don't have the technology or the database to truly personalize. But pay attention to the core idea, one that nearly 40% of marketers believe is important. In a nutshell, one size fits all doesn't work anymore. Employees are cranky about getting emails that aren't relevant to them. And they wish emails that are relevant concentrate on "what it means to me" and "what I need to do differently," not all that useless background yada yada.

5. Increase message variety to keep subscriber interest.This is my favorite finding from the Litmus study (18% of marketers agreed) because it's so simple and achievable: Stop sending out the same old stuff. You know what I mean. Subject lines that never change. Content that employees have seen a million times. Design that hasn't altered since dinosaurs ruled the earth. Just do this: refresh and revitalize.

I know that some of these steps aren't easy. But they're worth the effort to make your emails much more effective.

Published on: Sep 25, 2018