internal email newsletter design

How to Build Engaging and Effective Internal Emails

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While email teams typically focus on email marketing campaigns, they may also be called upon to help with internal email communication. That could include everything from employee newsletters to human resources communications and special messages from leaders.

Employees are looking to their employers for information, and your business emails represent a crucial link between them and the organization. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time designing your internal emails. After all, your email has only seconds to make an impression on your employees. Great email design entices your readers and enhances the content of the email.

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of internal emails, leave you with seven best practices, and highlight how Email on Acid can streamline your internal email workflow.

What are some types of internal emails?

Not all internal emails are created equal. But before we dive into internal email best practices, let’s break down the different types of internal emails. To streamline your internal email creation process, you can create an email template for each type of internal email:

Newsletters

Send newsletters on a regular basis – whether quarterly or monthly – to share updates, goals you’ve reached, new initiatives, milestones, insight into the following month or quarter, upcoming events, or policy changes with your entire organization. Since newsletters are a regular form of communication, you can also use this space for employee recognition and to promote best practices.

Alerts

Use alerts as a more one-off type of email than a newsletter. While newsletters are a good place for company updates, alert emails are a great place to highlight urgent news. If there’s a bug in production, an alert could be a great way to put a bandaid on the matter internally and lay out a path forward for your teams. Different types of alerts include safety alerts, IT problems, and security issues.

Events

Keep your employees posted on upcoming events. These can be one-off emails interspersed between monthly or quarterly newsletter emails.

Internal changes

Change is never easy, so you want to take extra care in crafting internal change emails to keep your employees up to date and to soften the news. You should send out an internal change email if your company is doing a re-org, creating a new team, or experiencing changes in management. Start by laying out the change and include a Call-to-Action (CTA) for how your employees should proceed.

Why are internal emails important?

You’ve been tasked with helping your HR team or management to send out internal emails. But why are they important? Think of internal email messages as a game plan that HR or management wants to share for all the employees and a way to align goals and expectations across your company. Here are some benefits of sending out regularly scheduled internal emails:

  • Maintain high trust by being transparent
  • Enjoy better staff engagement
  • Have a regular form of communication across the company

If you keep these in mind while designing and writing internal emails for your brand, you can help your employers affect positive growth in your business.

Why is transparency important?

While not everything might be pretty under the hood, the more an employer can share with their employees, the more likely that employees are to trust the brand. As an email marketer, you can chip in by sending out an appropriate internal email. Help HR and management boost morale and quality of work by promoting your brand integrity.

Why is staff engagement important?

That’s right: on top of being transparent and keeping employees up to date, internal emails are a great way to encourage staff engagement. Help your company keep employees aligned to the same goals and expectations across different teams with different metrics.

Check out the following engagement methods:

  • Comment boxes: You can make these anonymous to shelter employee identity if necessary and encourage more truthful feedback.
  • Pulse surveys: These are brief and regular surveys that employees can quickly answer. They’re a great way for your business to keep a finger on the company’s pulse. To optimize pulse surveys, try to embed them in your internal email. This way, your employees don’t have to leave their inboxes to respond to your survey.
  • Team introductions: Take turns for each team to write a short introduction, update, or do an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) for internal newsletters. This way, the company can put faces to specific teams and better appreciate their role in the organization.

You can use these tactics in internal emails for HR or management teams.

Why is it crucial to maintain a regular form of communication across the company?

Help your brand use regular, scheduled internal emails to create a regular form of scheduled communication across the company. Employees will come to expect newsletters at certain points in time and start to value email as a form of internal communication. This makes them more likely to engage with other internal emails, like event updates and alerts.

What are some ways to build better internal emails?

To produce the best internal emails for employees, adapt the following advice to your internal brand guidelines and the sensibilities of your employees. While there’s no magic formula to creating highly engaging emails, these best practices are a great starting point to enhance your email content.

1. Use short email subject lines

An enticing email subject line gets employees interested in the email’s information. There are several reasons for choosing shorter subject lines over lengthier ones:

  • Mobile devices have limited space for subject line previews
  • Research from Retention Science has found that subject lines between 6-10 words have the highest open rates
  • Longer subject lines can be over-informative and employees can feel like they got the message without opening the email

2. Make it personal

Personalize your emails by featuring your recipient’s full name in the subject line and body copy. Grab their attention before they even open your email. If there’s no incentive for employees to open your emails, you might as well not send out an email in the first place.

3. Show, don’t tell

Building visually-appealing internal emails for Microsoft Outlook or Gmail can seem daunting, but the payoff is more than worth it.

Using a well-designed infographic or short video instead of text can save space and make your message appealing. Multimedia can communicate complex information where words fall flat.

Email editors like Email on Acid allow you to customize your emails with code. Their editor will give you real-time code changes that save you time and help you streamline your email production process.

If you’re not great at coding, Mailjet by Sinch’s drag-and-drop email builder is an easy and intuitive way to create internal emails. There are even templates for email newsletters.

Mailjet email editor showing tools of the email builder
Mailjet’s email editor

4. Check your content

There’s no worse feeling than crafting a well-designed email and then experiencing sending errors. Broken images, crazy hyperlinks, and incorrect merge tags are just some of the many issues one can encounter when sending HTML emails. Remember to take accessibility and responsive development into account when creating content.

With tools like our Email Previews as well as Spell Check, you can ensure your emails are typo-free and render well on major clients and devices before you send them out to the entire company.

Sample of email preview results from Email on Acid.
Email on Acid previews

5. Check your links

Checking your emails before you send them helps you catch text-based errors. Email on Acid’s URL Validation tool makes it easy to catch any link issues before hitting send.

6. Trust the data

It’s always a good idea to consider what your employees think about your emails; after all, they’re the ones who are reading them! You can collect data about your employees’ email preferences – both qualitative and quantitative – using your internal communications. 

7. Track engagement

Gather in-depth information on how your employees engage with your emails. Improve your understanding of your audience by using email engagement analytics, heat mapping, and comprehensive email user breakdowns.

Both Email on Acid and Mailjet by Sinch offer email analytics to help you measure the performance of your internal company emails with valuable stats.

Mailjet email statistics dashboard with open, click, bounce, and spam rates
Mailjet email analytics

However, quantitative tracking only reveals a portion of your true email engagement situation. Give your employees the ability to respond to surveys, leave anonymous feedback and emoji reactions, and RSVP to events.

Email tracking helps you pin down your best content and quantify the success of your internal emails to stakeholders. 

Wrapping up

Whether you’re building an email for 500 employees or 50,000 employees, you need your content to look and perform its best.

Adhering to these best practices will help your internal comms resonate with your audience and help you create better emails moving forward.

Talk about a win-win.

This article was updated on August 25, 2022. It was first published in March of 2021 and contains insights from our friends at ContactMonkey.

Even Great Emails Need to Be Tested

It’s true: Even well-designed emails can break from time to time. That’s why email testing is an important part of sending a successful campaign. Email on Acid tests your email code quickly and accurately, allowing you to preview your design across dozens of the most popular email clients and devices. Try us free and start delivering email perfection!

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Author: The Email on Acid Team

The Email on Acid content team is made up of digital marketers, content creators, and straight-up email geeks.

Connect with us on LinkedIn, follow us on Facebook, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for more sweet stuff and great convos on email marketing.

Author: The Email on Acid Team

The Email on Acid content team is made up of digital marketers, content creators, and straight-up email geeks.

Connect with us on LinkedIn, follow us on Facebook, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for more sweet stuff and great convos on email marketing.

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