Here's how to send merry and bright employee emails this holiday season.
Internal email broadcasts have the power to inform, motivate and energize your employees. The more engaging you can make your messages, the better -- especially during the holiday season, when most employees have mentally checked out from work.
Here are six ways to infuse holiday cheer and more fun into your internal email communications.
1. Use tasteful inside jokes.
When you spend time with your friends, you tend to reference and repeat your own inside jokes. This type of bonding can work within employee groups or entire organizations as well. When you reference departmental or company-wide experiences -- like the fourth floor toilet flood of 2014 -- you can inspire a laugh and sense of camaraderie. Just make sure the jokes are tasteful and have other team members review them first! You don’t want to alienate or offend a group of readers or embarrass a specific individual in pursuit of a cheap laugh.
Holiday spin: Record a video of the member of your executive team dressed as a reindeer at the holiday family event. It’s an inside joke waiting to happen.
2. Stop being so robotic.
Sure, you want your emails to be informative and professional, but your messaging can still be human. It takes more energy to write formally than it does to write conversationally. It all depends on your corporate culture and style, but writing with casual authenticity is the new normal, especially for leaders. Prioritize important information at the top of your email, but slip in commentary about the new product announcement, the holiday party this weekend or the new Thai restaurant opening next door. If it helps, imagine that you are writing to your colleague over in accounting. She’s a human, you’re a human, so your messaging shouldn’t read like a robot wrote it.
Editor's note: Looking for email marketing software for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
3. Share stories and life events.
People like stories about people. Whether work or personal accomplishments, volunteer work, anniversaries, new babies or even furbaby rescues, these life events are of human interest, and they’re fun! Be prepared: The holiday season is engagement season, so you may get an influx of, “I got engaged!” announcement requests. You can include life events and personal stories within your weekly newsletters.
Another way to share stories is to produce and distribute day-in-the-life videos. What exactly does Jason in customer relations do all day? Schedule an interview, set up a camera, capture his story and share it as an email link.
4. Include shareable articles.
While you don’t want to overwhelm employees with more content than necessary, one or two shareable articles can lighten up an email. Consider including a “You Gotta Read This” section where you share something like, “5 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress in 5 Minutes,” or, “Top 10 Delicious Holiday Desserts.” Be strategic. If you’re lucky, some employees will bake those gingerbread cookies you want and share them in the break room.
5. Add more visuals and color.
Serious emails are best as plain black text on a white page, but for other content, you can improve attention and readership by effectively using images, colors and fonts. With today's tools, your nicely designed internal messaging will stand out. Why not embed that photo of your executive Tom, wearing that reindeer onesie? Or in your January email, add a cold blue background with large white font. Have fun with your messaging and think beyond the text to keep it interesting.
6. Write a kickin’ subject line.
None of these suggestions matter if your email message gets ignored. Your jokes may be funny, the stories enticing, and the video of your boss dressed as a reindeer might be the best thing you’ve seen all year -- but when your subject line is blah and boring, the message is less likely to be read. There’s value in consistency, but “Weekly Updates,” isn’t intriguing enough week after week. Try adding a flavor of the week: “Weekly Update: Why we added kombucha to the cafe” or “Weekly Update: See who’s wearing the reindeer onesie...” Get people curious and then deliver an interesting and informative message.
It can be a challenge to get your employees to even open internal communications, but when your emails are fun and interesting, more people will read them.