Why You Need to Segment Your Internal Audience

“I didn’t get that email.”. As a communications professional, you’ve likely heard employees say this more than once.

You know the email went out, so why do employees think they didn’t receive it?  These are the most likely causes:

A) The employee routinely ignores the majority of messages from that address, likely because most of those messages are not relevant. to them.
B) The employee previewed the message and didn’t think it was important or applied to them, so they never read it
C) The email got buried under whole lot of other corporate communications and daily email.

While all of the above are unfortunate, they’re also preventable.

How to Better Reach Your Employees

Broadcast email is easy to do. You write the message, pick the list, and send. As a communications professional, you know better than most. Effective communication requires an understanding of your audience. If you want your message to gain attention, you need to understand who you’re trying to reach and why this particular message is important to them. In addition to location and role, given today’s diverse workforce, you may need to account for cultural, generational, and educational differences—just a few factors to consider. To better relate to the audience, this means writing a variety of messages, or simply adjusting the subject lines, headlines, and calls to action.

How to Segment Your Employee Groups

Similar to how marketing teams develop buyer personas, you can segment employees based on simple demographic differences like work role, department, or location. Second, you can segment your internal audience based on psychographics like shared values, work experience, and learning styles. And third, you can target your employees based on the organizational hierarchy such as management level and business unit.

Why to Segment Your Internal Audience

The objective of segmentation is more effective communication. You simply adjust the message to the target audience, and distribute to each unique group. In another article we stated, “Creating targeted, segmented messaging builds trust, delivers more appropriate messaging and shows that engagement is a priority.” To engage your internal audiences, you need to tailor your communications to fit.

For instance, to grab the attention of a millennial workforce that values speed and efficiency, you may prioritize brevity. Rather than writing and distributing a multi-page newsletter each month, you may opt for a weekly, 30-second headline summary and a video update.

Similarly, to achieve a desired behavior from employees who identify as analytic visual learners (i.e. who process text before images), you might break a message down into discrete, highly descriptive, step-by-step instructions  to meet their needs.

From Broadcast to Narrowcast

Segmented lists are not easy to achieve – as simply getting an accurate all-employee list is often a real challenge. It involves a technical process of extracting up-to-date employee data from your key HR, payroll and management systems. But if better communications is the goal, it’s a worthwhile project and many new tools can help. To get IT staff on board, simply explain you want the company to send less, but more relevant, email messages.

List accuracy and segmentation will immediately improve your communication results and heighten your impact. Instead of hearing, “Oh, I must have missed that email,” you can look forward to, “I love the new plan, here’s how I’m making a difference.”

PoliteMail is the employee communications platform that works inside Microsoft Outlook and Office365.  Providing email measurement analytics, responsive design, and list management tools, PoliteMail improves internal communication results.  Learn more.

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