Internal communicators have one of the hardest jobs when it comes to engaging, informing and inspiring associates through communications, because more often than not communicators are forced to use the dinosaur of vehicles; Microsoft Outlook.
Since its first release in 1992 with MS-DOS, Outlook has undergone significant changes to improve its capabilities. However, Outlook will never be the email software that communicators need to effectively do their job. So what is the best solution?
Email marketing providers like Emma, help businesses, agencies and universities get marketing materials in front of consumers. Their platforms boost a plethora of capabilities from analytics, responsive emails, and email templates. So back in 2012, I decided to cheat on Outlook for one of those fancier email marketing providers, and I haven’t looked back since.
Yes, Outlook got the job done but for a reasonable monthly/annual fee I gained a wealth of resources and capabilities that helped me do my job more effectively and improve the communications to associates. At the end of day my job as an internal communicator is to make the lives’ of associates easier by engaging, informing and inspiring them.
Here are eight reasons why I decided to cheat on Outlook, and why you should too! I won’t tell… 😉
1) Responsive HTML emails: Emails to associates automatically format to the correct screen size of any smart phone or tablet. This allows users to read communications without having to pinch the screen to zoom in and out. No more pinching screens to zoom in and out!
2) Analytics: As a communicator you need to know if what you’re doing is working and the only way to determine that is if you can compare your goals and results. Analytic reports found with most email providers and show the following:
- Open rates (unique, total and didn’t open)
- Opens by location
- Click throughs
- Click map
3) Collaboration: Collaborate with other communicators in your office or across the country on emails. Email providers allow for easier, more efficient collaboration on email communications.
4) Archiving: Stop saving distributed emails on your company cloud or hard drive. Let the email provider do all the work for you by automatically archiving emails with their analytics.
5) Manageable distribution lists: Stop updating and managing your distribution lists in Excel. You can easily manage, update and organize distribution lists with your email provider. You can even set attributes for associates based on their location, level within the company, and department.
6) Email templates: The days of managing your templates in Microsoft Word are over! Templates are a must have for any communicator and email providers let you to create HTML templates with ease. You can also format templates to the exact design with widgets for content, images or videos.
7) Email scheduling: Kick back and enjoy a cold one. No more waiting around and manually having to click the dreaded send button. Schedule your email to send on the date and time you want. Communicate to associates while enjoying a cold one on vacation.
However, if the content in your email changes and you need to update the email, you must cancel the email scheduled to send, otherwise it will still go out when you scheduled it. You’ve been warned.
8) Subject line testing: Test out different subject lines and see which one gets the best response.
Side note: When you do decide to cheat on Outlook, do your due diligence and find an email provider that will take away the unsubscribe feature on emails. Since the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, email marketers are required by law to put an unsubscribe feature on emails. Some providers will provide an exception to this requirement though if you are communicating internally to associates and not consumers. You wouldn’t want your associates to unsubscribe.
Best option for email providers: Emma
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and colleagues and check out my other blog post “5 Internal Communications Trends.”