Yep, email. That’s the answer to the question: “What communications channel reaches the broadest swath of audiences?”
Check out this chart from a study conducted in 2021.While every communication channel seems to reach only a fragment of most audiences, sitting right there is good ol’ email. Who knew that it had such high appeal to virtually every demographic?
You can see that email is the choice of every age group, from Gen Z to Millennials, from Gen X and Baby boomers. We suspected as much because we’ve seen that over the last two years email open rates have been creeping up. And, more importantly emails are generating more than a one-day bump in web site activity. Looking at results from 2018 for instance, open rates for an email campaign, whether using Constant Contact or Survey Monkey, spiked the first four or five hours after an email was sent. Then there may have been a small uptick a couple hours later towards the end of the day and evening. And that was it – not much happened beyond Day One.
Now, however, aside from the higher overall open rates, we’ve noticed that recipients are opening the emails on Day Two and Day Three. It’s certainly not at the same open rates as on Day One, but maybe 50% – 75% of Day One results. We’ve seen this type of general activity with two clients in different fields over the past 6 months, so we don’t think that this is just an aberration.
But before you go off and start doubling the number of your emails, be mindful that freshness and relevance of content is important to generate “opens” and engagement. In general, I still adhere to creating “an unforgettable conversation with a friend” especially in today’s congested communication landscape. The best way to increase your email activity in a meaningful way is, frankly, to listen to your audience and discover what they seem to be looking for. Chances are, there is something they want to know, and if you’ve established a trust with them, they will be open to hearing from you. The operative word is “trust.” And just like in any relationship, you don’t want to abuse it.
As always, if you have your own thoughts or want to let me know what you think, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com
Ah yes, Bob Dylan lyrics from the ‘60s . . . and appropriate for today. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen more organizations, of all sizes, openly acknowledge that they are facing a new set of challenges. We at Kinetics are engaged in two strategic planning projects, and we are experiencing this rethinking firsthand. As we go through our discovery processes and reach out to these clients’ stakeholders, they too say they are reconsidering their planning strategies.
Some of this can be attributed to the Pandemic. More than 8 billion people had to dramatically change the way they lived, loved, and learned, changing the world in the process. And it’s not just the result of rapid adoption of technology – from telemedicine, to remote working to online shopping. It also includes a reevaluation by employees on how they want to work, and by employers on how they want their employees to work for them. The traditional 9-to-5 model is no longer applicable and appropriate for all industries and organizations – Huzzah to that.
But there is more: It’s the ascendency of Gen Xers and Millennials as the major drivers of today’s economy, and the waning influence of the more consumerist Baby Boom generation. We’re looking at a ton of new research that shows how Gen Xers and Millennials have different priorities than Boomers – they are more into experiences vs. possessions; more inclined to consume brands that reflect their views on social justice and the environment; and put more trust in what peers say vs. institutions. For example, we recently came across a study by 5WPR, in which 73 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 35 and 54 said: “It’s important to me that companies I buy from align with my values.”
All this is against a backdrop of the evolution of social media. While there are many positive attributes to social media, its widespread use has fostered a new type of conversation that up to now was frowned upon. Social media has normalized the outrageous. It has tapped into our psyche, and it triggers a dopamine buzz that very few of us can quit. (And, if you are under the age of 30, there is a good chance you have at some point tried to figure out how to get a million views and a thousand likes.) It makes it very challenging for a brand to push out messaging in a media that resembles the Tower of Babel.
This all may seem depressing at first, but I don’t think we are in a “doom or gloom” scenario. In fact, now is a great time for an organization to make significant changes to their product and service offerings, brand image, and service delivery. A mentor said to me once, “you can’t make money in stagnant market.” Well, if you ascribe to that theory, then it’s surely worth taking advantage of these turbulent times. If everything is changing, then you can make changes as well. You can leapfrog the competition, or enter new markets, and appeal to a different set of audiences.
I certainly don’t think that going back to a pre-pandemic model makes good business sense. As Dylan wrote at the end of the song:
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.
Most times when communicators talk about “Integrated Communications” they are referring to a mix of media and message delivery. However, integrated communications should also include a mix of communication techniques or, as we like to call them “Persuasion Techniques.”
There are six techniques. We try to deploy several on behalf of our clients, because if you stick to one or two, your communication sounds monotonous.
Now, not every technique will resonate with your audience. As part of the strategic planning process, you need to consider which ones are more effective apropos to your audience segments. For example, “Appeal of Authority” works well among audiences in organizations with chains of command. On the other hand, more independent minded audiences will be more persuaded by “Social Proof/Evidence.”
|Appeal of Authority||Important people and those in authority can help make communications more convincing.|
|Repetition||If information is presented consistently and in repeating patterns, people will remember it and believe it.|
|Social Proof/Evidence||People will look to facts and proof points from peers to help support their own actions and opinions.|
|Commitment||Once committed to a path, people are more likely to follow it than to make a change.|
|Bandwagon||People prefer to associate with like-minded groups and to feel as if they belong.|
|Trust||When people trust an organization and brand, they are more likely to be persuaded.|
So, audit of your comms efforts. See which persuasion techniques you’ve been using. And, then decide if you have the right mix given your target audiences. You might find, like life, a little variety may spice your messaging up.
If you are interested in following up, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!