Email Success

5 Tips for Email Blasting Success from OKHR

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If you have a local HR chapter, chances are, you’ll want to send email blasts announcing meetings, events, membership drives, meeting recaps, and more.

These 5 tips for success from OKHR’s Resource Center will help get those emails delivered, opened, and acted upon.

Here’s a quick shortcut to each of the 5 tips:

  1. Consider the subject line
  2. Send it during work hours…maybe
  3. Make it mobile
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously
  5. Don’t just rely on email

1. Consider the Subject Line.

First things first: is the subject line attention-grabbing? Does it concisely explain what they’re about to read? You have a split-second to grab the reader’s attention, and having a meaningful subject line can be your entry point, or your quick trip to deletion. There are some strategic ways you can amp up your subject line:

  • Include a number, and don’t spell it out. It’s no coincidence that this article starts with “5 Tips…” Is it grammatically incorrect to leave the number 5 as a digit instead of spelling it out? Yes. But the numerical digit statistically gets more attention and leads to more readership. Also, you can tell by this headline that you’ll get 5 solid tips for email success pretty quickly, even if you only glance at each of the numbered items and don’t read the wonderful content within.
  • Ask a question. Compelling and personalized questions tend to draw people in. For example, “Want to get more out of your benefits?” implies that the answer may be within if the reader just opens the email.
  • Use mob mentality. Okay, this one sounds a little creepy, but the idea is to give the reader a sense of urgency and to keep them from missing out from the wonderful things their peers are doing. A subject line such as “Only 20 Seats Left…Don’t Miss Your Chance to Register!” may be the fire that lights the reader into action. It also conveys the sense that all of the other smart pros are taking advantage of this opportunity, so they would be at a disadvantage from missing it. One note of caution – be judicious about the use of exclamation points. It’s the classic story of the boy who cried wolf; if every email is urgent, then none of them are.

2. Send it During Work Hours…Maybe.

This one really depends on the nature of your message and your audience. If sending email to consumers, for example, weekends and evenings may work best. In this case, though, where you’re likely sending emails to HR professionals, it’s best to send it when they’re at work. Think of the mids as a starting point – mid-morning, midweek is statistically the best time for getting email opens. If sending it first thing in the day, chances are greater of the email being deleted along with other emails the reader is sifting through quickly at the beginning of the day. Same story for Monday emails. Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday emails sent between 10 am and 3 pm tend to work best.

But don’t take our word for it! Audiences are special snowflakes; what works for one may not work for another. Test and test again. Most email blasting services include at least simple analytics that allow you to see readership trends. Take some time to explore how your audience is responding, experiment with different days and times, and see what works best for you.

Calls to action in particular warrant some extra attention. You may find that emails get more opens on a Wednesday, for example, but call to action buttons such as “Register for our meeting” don’t get acted upon until Fridays. If your action requires more thought than an instant click, such as getting company approval for funds to attend your next event, you may find that readership and action are two very different things with two very different results. Perhaps a soft call to action with information about your event, followed by a more urgent reminder message a week or two later might find more success. Again, try some different approaches and find your own zen.


3. Make it Mobile.

In today’s day and age, mobile-responsiveness is not a fad any more. It’s a necessity. People are on the go and oftentimes check emails from their phones.

To those not yet in the know, a responsive email is one that can be easily read across several devices, including desktop computer, tablet, and mobile phone. It automatically resizes itself so that the reader can easily see it without being chained to the desk.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a computer programmer to make this happen. Most email blasting services include mobile-responsive templates in an easy drag and drop format that most anyone can use. Examples include ConstantContact, MailChimp, VerticalResponse, and more.


4. Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously.

Remember, you want to make your content readable; not boring drivel. HR professionals are usually a very intelligent bunch, capable of understanding big words and complex ideas. In fact, that’s part of what they do for a living. However, they’re also one of the liveliest, friendliest groups of people you’ll meet (generally speaking, of course).

You’ll want to convey your message in a personable tone. Don’t worry; you don’t have to be Shakespeare or a bestselling author to be a successful writer of email blasts. A simple and genuine tone will help in adding a more engaging touch to your message. If you want to up your email game and work on your writing skills, Emma is a great resource for email and content success. Their writing style alone sets an example of the informal tone that can draw readers in.

The Sooner HR Society is a great example, with their attention-grabbing, friendly emails. This one, for instance, automatically goes out when someone registers for a meeting:

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5. Don’t Just Rely on Email.

If you’re only relying on email communication to your targeted audience, your message may fall flat. As HR professionals, we want to be inclusive and get the word out to as many people as possible! Plus, you will likely need to attract new members to your group, and that will never happen if you’re only marketing to your existing base. Outreach is so important and it goes beyond your current membership.

Ideally, your email message will be cross-posted in several areas, including:

  • Website/blog. Your group should have a regularly-updated website or blog (again, make sure it’s mobile-responsive!) where you post either the same or additional information from your email. If announcing a monthly meeting, for example, post the meeting information on your website, including day, time, location, topic, speaker, bio, cost, and more, then send out a shorter email that summarizes the info and links to the web post for those who want to read more and register. You don’t have to be a web expert; SHRM provides several excellent resources for chapters, including straightforward website advice.
  • Social media accounts. When you post something new on your website, make an update on your social media accounts as well. Your chapter should at least have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. Other options include Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, SnapChat, YouTube, and more. There are tools that allow you to post to all pages at once, such as HootSuite and Buffer. Other tools, such as plug-ins native to your website or though automation services such as IFTTT allow you to even automate the social media posts, so that as soon as you publish content on your blog, it will automatically update your social media sites for you. For complete beginners, check out our social media 101 guide in the OKHR Resource Center.
  • Person to person. Most likely, your chapter includes membership officers in charge of attracting new members. A social media presence helps with this, but having people involved in college relations, for example, can be a boon to gathering new members who are emerging onto the professional scene and may not even know you exist. Another potential audience can exist among HR retirees who can pass along solid advice on employee management, and may even have a few extra free hours to volunteer for your chapter. Having a person act as a liaison for your group in community organizations, related professional chapters, and community events can help spread the word and get new people aware of your chapter and onto your emailing list.

We’ve given you a lot of information, and now, we want to hear from you! Do you have any tips from the trenches on how you’ve made email blasting work for you? Any questions? Share with us in the comments below.

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