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5 Strategies to Boost Internal Newsletter Open Rates and Engagement

You might create the best looking newsletters, jammed with information. But how does your internal newsletter open rate perform? Here’s how to boost it.
Written by: Penny Swift
internal newsletter open rate cover
Published: June 25, 2024
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As the digital landscape continues to evolve, internal newsletters have become a crucial tool for organizations to communicate with their employees, share company news, and foster a sense of community. However, with increasing distractions in today’s digital environment, it’s more challenging than ever to grab employees’ attention and keep them engaged. Internal communicators face a constant battle to cut through the noise of employee inboxes overflowing with emails.

That’s why it’s essential to develop effective internal communications strategies to boost your internal newsletter open rate and increase engagement. By implementing the right tactics, you can increase the visibility and impact of your internal newsletter, ultimately driving employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall organizational success. 

In this post, we’ll explore the most effective strategies to boost internal newsletter open rates and engagement, helping you to create a more connected and informed workforce. We are going to explore the power of valuable content and the secrets to crafting an irresistible subject line. We will also share design best practices to help you make your internal company newsletter visually appealing and engaging. 

Open Rates Are Soaring with Communication Overload

According to Statista, the number of emails sent and received daily soared from 269 billion in 2017 to 333.2 billion in 2022 and 347.3 billion in 2023. They predict these figures will continue to rise, and will hit 392.5 billion in 2026. 

A survey conducted by Statista in 2022 among employees in the United States, revealed that remote workers receive almost six times more emails weekly than their hybrid colleagues. Fully remote workers receive 170 emails every week, while hybrid workers receive 31 emails per week.

Whichever way you look at it, that’s a mountain of messages competing for space in inboxes. Unfortunately, your internal newsletter can easily get lost in the avalanche — particularly when you send it to remote employees. 

Additionally, email open rates are dropping every year. According to ContactMonkey’s Internal Email Benchmark Reports, the average email open rates fell from 76% in 2023 to 69% in 2024. In both years, the highest open rates were 99-100%. But the lowest open rate in 2023 was 36%, dropping to a mere 10% in 2024. 

347.3 billion emails was sent in 2023, while email open rate is falling

The average open rate is, of course, the percentage of employees who open an email sent by the organization. The average click rate is the percentage of employees who click on specific links in an email. Then there are average click-to-open rates which are the percentage of employees who open an email and then click on a link in the email.   

Interestingly, the average click rate and average click-to-open rates haven’t changed much at all. These averages were 11% and 14% respectively in 2023, and 10% and 14% in 2024. 

Nevertheless, the competition for attention is fierce. But, it’s manageable. By implementing strategic tactics and understanding employee behavior, you can craft newsletters that stand out and entice employees to click “open.”

Why Internal Newsletters Matter

Internal newsletters are a powerful tool for fostering employee engagement, communication, and a strong company culture. They help to bridge the communication gap within organizations, promoting a more informed, engaged, and connected workforce. And they are a tool that every internal communications strategy should incorporate. 

Let’s look more closely at some of these benefits:

  • Communication: Internal newsletters provide a centralized platform for sharing important company updates, announcements, and news with employees. They also strengthen communication channels. They can be a springboard for discussions and forums for answering frequently asked questions.
  • Leadership communication: More specifically, internal newsletters can serve as a direct channel of communication between leadership and employees, promoting transparency and trust.
  • Employee engagement: Newsletters can foster a sense of community and connection among employees, promoting a sense of belonging and engagement.
  • Company culture and brand awareness: They can help to shape and reinforce company culture by sharing stories, achievements, and values. This also helps reinforce the company’s brand, values, and mission, promoting a sense of unity and purpose among employees.
  • Employee recognition: Organizations can use newsletters to recognize and celebrate employee achievements, milestones, and work anniversaries. This, in turn, boosts morale, making employees feel valued.
  • Improves alignment: Internal newsletters ensure everyone is on the same page with company news, strategy shifts, and upcoming events. You can use them to provide training, development, and educational resources to employees, promoting personal and professional growth.
  • Employee Feedback: They can provide a platform for employees to share feedback, suggestions, and concerns, promoting a culture of open communication.
why internal newsletters matter


Improve Internal Newsletter Open Rate: 5 Strategies for Success

Now that we’ve established the importance of internal newsletters, let’s explore five strategies to get those open rates soaring.

1. Focus on Content to Make Your Newsletter Valuable

Most of us know the term, “Content is king.” While Bill Gates popularized it in an essay he wrote in 1996, it’s an idea that was circulating long before the Internet was born. Bill Gates’ Content is King, published on the Microsoft website, promoted the importance of high-quality content on the internet. The book Magazine Editing and Production, by J.W. Click and Russell N. Baird was originally published in 1974, more than two decades earlier. It stated, “Content is king. It is the meaning that counts. Form and technical considerations, though important, cannot substitute for content.” 

Bill Gates’ essay started off: “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” Which is how many people have, indeed, been making money via the Internet. It’s an interesting read. Ultimately, content remains king, whether for magazine, Internet publishing, or internal newsletters. In fact, it can become the key determinant of success for websites and businesses. 

Here’s how to ensure your content offers real value to employees:

  • Know your audience: Segment your audience and tailor content to specific departments or teams.
  • Focus on benefits: Don’t just announce company wins, explain how they impact employee work or benefits.
  • Content variety is key: Include a healthy mix of company news, employee spotlights, team updates, lighthearted content, and even polls for interactive engagement.

Pro Tip:
Don’t forget the power of visuals! Eye-catching infographics, photos, and short videos will break up text and make your newsletter more visually appealing.

2. Internal Newsletter Subject Lines that Grab Open Rates

Your subject line is the first impression – so make it count! Here are some tips to craft a subject line that entice employees to open your newsletter:

  • Spark curiosity: Pose a question or tease interesting content without revealing everything. For example:
    • Insider Info You Won’t Want to Miss
    • Boost Your Productivity: 3 Hacks You Didn’t Know About
  • Personalize: You can do this by using employee or team names. But do this strategically and sparingly. For example:
    • This Week’s Wins for the [Department Name] Team
    • Happy Birthday, [Employee Name]! Read Your Special Message Inside
    • Did You Know? [give an interesting stat and one sentence about an employee interest area]
  • Create urgency:
    • Limited Time Offer: Register for the Company Picnic Today!
    • Don’t Miss Out! Important Deadline Inside
    • Hot Off the Press: Company Announcement You Need to Know
    • The Countdown Begins: Only [X] Days Left to [take action]
  • Highlight benefits:
    • Boost Your Career: New Training Opportunities Inside!
    • Celebrating Success: Employee Spotlight & Company News
    • Win Big! Exclusive Employee Rewards Revealed

Remember:
Avoid spammy tactics and excessive use of exclamation points.

3. Design Matters: Make it Readable and Appealing

A cluttered, text-heavy newsletter is a recipe for unread emails. Here’s how design can improve your open rates:

  • Clean and modern: Keep the layout clear, with a consistent color scheme and fonts that align with your company branding.
  • Mobile-friendly: Many employees are constantly on the move, even when working on site. So, ensure your newsletter displays perfectly on all devices, especially smartphones. 
  • Clear calls to action: Don’t leave employees guessing. Tell them exactly what you want them to do, whether it’s visiting a company webpage, participating in a survey, or attending an event. 

Bonus Tip:
Consider incorporating short video teasers or GIFs to add dynamic elements to your internal newsletter.

designing an effective internal newsletter

4. Frequency and Timing: Don’t Flood or Ghost Your Audience

There’s a delicate balance between staying top-of-mind and bombarding employees with emails of any sort. Here are some top tips. By striking the right balance, you can ensure your internal newsletter becomes a valuable and anticipated part of your employee internal communications strategy.

  • Strategic timing: Consider sending newsletters on weekdays when employees are most likely to check their work emails.
  • Monitor engagement: Monitor newsletter engagement metrics, such as open rates and click-through rates, to adjust frequency and content accordingly.

Avoid the Flood

Flooding your employee audience with internal newsletters is likely to overwhelm them. So,  instead of adding positivity to your internal communications strategy, you will risk a negative response.  

  • Don’t overcommit: Avoid sending too many newsletters in a short period, which can lead to fatigue and decreased engagement. Experiment with different frequencies (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) and track open rates to see what works best for your audience. 
  • Match frequency to content: Weekly updates might be suitable for fast-paced environments, while monthly newsletters work well for slower-changing news.
  • Consider content volume: If your newsletter lacks substantial content, sending it more frequently might backfire. Focus on quality over quantity.

Flooding employee inboxes with internal newsletters is likely to lower open rates. It will also reduce engagement, negatively impact employee experience, and lead to confusing information overload

Avoid the Ghost

Ghosting your audience is a term we use to describe a sudden pause in communication or inconsistency in sending newsletters. It’s a common term for abruptly cutting off all communication with someone, often in a romantic relationship. Adapting this concept to newsletters, means disappearing from your audience’s inbox after initially establishing communication.

  • Maintain a consistent schedule: Choose a specific day and time for your newsletter to build a rhythm and expectation among employees.
  • Special announcements: For urgent updates or announcements, consider a separate email with a clear subject line to avoid confusion.
  • Pre-schedule drafts: Schedule upcoming newsletters in advance to ensure consistent delivery — even if you are swamped.

Inconsistency can be frustrating for employees who might expect the newsletter and find it valuable. It can also make them question the company’s commitment to internal communications.

Remember:
Consistency is key! Once you establish a publishing schedule, stick to it to maintain a rhythm and build anticipation for the next internal newsletter.

5. Beyond the Open: Drive Engagement and Feedback

Having employees open the email containing your newsletter is just the first step. Here are ideas to ensure ongoing engagement:

  • Interactive Content: Incorporate polls, quizzes, or Q&A sections to encourage participation and feedback. Gamification elements including rewards or leaderboards will encourage employees to participate in the newsletter’s content.
  • User-generated content: Encourage employees to submit content like team photos, success stories, or even fun “office hacks” to create a sense of community.
  • Track and analyze: Use email analytics tools to measure open rates, click-through rates, and engagement metrics.
5 strategies to improve internal newsletter open rate


How Cerkl Skyrockets Employee Newsletter Open Rates

The Cerkl Broadcast platform helps organizations to manage internal newsletters. Here are some ways Broadcast can help skyrocket employee newsletter open rates:

  • Personalization: Cerkl Broadcast allows you to automatically personalize your newsletter content based on employee interests, departments, or job functions. This solution increases the relevance and engagement of the content.
  • Dynamic content: The platform’s dynamic content feature enables you to create content that changes based on employee interactions, such as clicks, opens, or engagement. This keeps the content fresh and exciting.
  • Segmentation: The Audience Manager feature allows you to segment your employees based on various criteria, such as job function, location, or interests, to deliver content that resonates with each group. This targeted approach helps to increase employee engagement, satisfaction, loyalty, and overall communication.
  • Analytics and insights: Broadcast provides detailed analytics and insights on employee engagement, helping you understand what content resonates with your audience and making data-driven decisions.
  • Scheduled newsletters: The platform allows you to schedule Eblasts containing internal newsletters. This saves time and effort and automates the process so you avoid flooding and ghosting. 

What’s Next?

We’ve given you loads of information and tips on boosting the open rates of newsletters. But how confident are you about producing engaging internal newsletters that will help to drive business success?

We know how challenging it can be, so we’ve created Employee Newsletters: A Comprehensive Guide for Internal Communicators. It is filled with information, good ideas, and winning best practices from formats and design to delivery options. Take action right now and down our guide. It’s absolutely FREE — and guaranteed to inform and inspire you.

FAQ

How do I get more people to open a newsletter?

To increase open rates, use an attention-grabbing subject line, personalize the email by using the recipient’s name, and optimize the sending time to reach employees when they’re most active. Additionally, make sure the newsletter is mobile-friendly, and the content is engaging, relevant, and concise.
Craft compelling subject lines, personalize greetings, and send at optimal times to pique employee interest.

What is a good open rate for an internal newsletter?

A good open rate for an internal newsletter varies, but generally, 20-30% is considered average, while 40-50% or higher is excellent. However, the ideal open rate depends on factors like employee engagement, content quality, and the organization’s communication culture.
While it can vary by industry, a healthy open rate typically falls between 20-40%.

How to increase internal newsletter readership?

To increase internal newsletter readership, focus on creating engaging, relevant, and concise content that resonates with employees, and use visually appealing templates and formatting. Additionally, encourage feedback, recognize employee contributions, and make the newsletter a valuable resource that employees look forward to receiving.
Focus on high-quality, engaging content relevant to employees’ interests. Use visuals, personalize content, and encourage two-way communication through surveys or polls.

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