Since you joined your company, you’ve been using Microsoft Outlook. As an internal communications guru, you’ve worked on the company newsletter in Outlook for hours on end. Maybe it used to be on paper, but you’ve since moved to email.
So when it comes time for you to lay it out in Outlook, you do your best every single time, but it never looks quite the way you want it to, but the time has come to send it out to the larger team. And you’re starting to panic.
You might be thinking:
- Would I be excited if this landed in my inbox?
- Will they tell me if they don’t like the employee newsletter?
- What if they don’t even read it?
- Did I include everything I should’ve?
Simply put: Putting your work out there in the form of a mass employee newsletter is hard enough, but building your employee newsletter doesn’t need to be.
Here are some problems you’ve likely faced when trying to send your newsletters with Outlook in the past:
- Your images are all warped because dimensions on images are ignored
- The text you’ve written doesn’t wrap on its own
- Any list you’ve made gets trashed as soon as you try to do horizontal spacing
- The height and width of coded elements doesn’t matter to the software
- And, worst of all, GIFs aren’t supported
Those of you making your email newsletter in Outlook might have been wondering:
- Can I actually send an employee newsletter in Outlook instead of using Mailchimp?
- How do I send an attractive mass emails from Outlook using responsive HTML email templates?
- What email metrics should I be tracking for my internal communications?
- How can I find out if employees are reading the company newsletter?
- Will this newsletter help me increase employee engagement?
- Is there a simple way to put HTML into Outlook?
- How do I create a responsive HTML newsletter in Outlook that actually works?
Here at ContactMonkey, we’ve thought about the answers to all of these questions. We’re right there with you when it comes to the anxiety that can come along with having to create an internal newsletter. And that’s why our mission is to make that process as easy as possible.
According to a 2013 survey by SiriusDecisions, 60-70% of all content goes unused. As in never looked at, never engaged with. With such an alarming percentage looming around content that gets no engagement, it’s nearly impossible to create and send the employee newsletter in stride.
If you’re like the majority of our clients, you’re struggling to understand what happens to your newsletter after you press send. Or you’re just wanting to send out an aesthetically pleasing employee newsletter that looks like it’s worth reading.
One of our customers, Mettler Toledo, was using Mailchimp before they switched to ContactMonkey. They left Mailchimp behind because they found the HTML they built in the platform was difficult to use. It also wasn’t compatible with any older versions of Microsoft Outlook, which compromised the layout of their email newsletter template.
So, by switching to ContactMonkey, the Mettler Toledo internal communications team has been able to save 4 hours of work a week, or 25 work days a year.
How to Create and Send an Employee Newsletter in Microsoft Outlook
The nightmares we touched on above are now a thing of the past. With ContactMonkey’s internal communications software, all comms pros can now easily create beautiful responsive HTML emails, add personalization to subject lines and email body copy. You can send these well-crafted employee newsletters to your Outlook distribution lists.
I bet you’re thinking, “That all sounds great, but won’t Outlook mess up my email?”
You can be certain that your emails will look exactly how you want them to in all email providers. Our tool is built to create an HTML newsletter that actually renders properly in Outlook. When you send your employee newsletters with ContactMonkey, they are fully responsive across all devices, and preview before you send.
Additionally, all employee emails will be coming from your own company email address and can be personalized for each recipient. Every interaction will feel personal to your fellow employees on the receiving end, rather than feeling like just another email blast to be ignored or sent straight to spam.
And we also support Outlook for Windows, Mac, and Outlook Web App, so no matter where you use your Microsoft Outlook account, you’ll be able to use our tool to create Outlook email templates.
Enough on the main pros to using our product. Let’s get into our 8 easy steps for creating and sending an employee newsletter in Microsoft Outlook:
1. How to create a responsive employee newsletter
But before you can send your employee newsletter, you’ve got to put some thought into how you’re going to create it. Let’s quickly cover how to create your internal newsletter template, then we’ll talk about how to send it and also measure the engagement from your employee newsletter – all within Outlook.
Questions to keep in mind when designing your employee newsletter:
- Are my Outlook email templates too complicated?
- Will my employee newsletter look weird in Microsoft Outlook?
- Is my email newsletter going to send correctly?
- How will I track the employee newsletter email once I do send?
- Can I track my corporate communications from Outlook?
With ContactMonkey’s internal communications software for Outlook, you can guarantee successful employee newsletter delivery and perfect rendering – every time.
Need to create a newsletter template in Outlook with ContactMonkey?
Use our intuitive drag-and-drop email template builder to create your own customized newsletter template, then import them into Outlook.
Once you’re in Microsoft Outlook:
- Click on “Mail Merge” to get started.
- A Microsoft Outlook message window with our Mail Merge tool will pop up.
- On your ContactMonkey Ribbon simply click on “Import an HTML” and select your HTML email.
- Click “Open.”
2. How to design an HTML email template for Outlook
If you don’t already have your go-to responsive HTML template for your employee newsletter, you can create one from scratch.
If you’re getting into sending out an internal employee newsletter and you’re unsure about how to format a newsletter in Outlook, our tool also houses a bunch of pre-built email templates within our drag-and-drop email template builder.
Simply select the type of content you’d like in your newsletter within the sidebar, and drag it onto the spot of your newsletter you’d like it to display.
3. How to get employee feedback from your newsletter
Most internal communicators crave feedback and data on the material that they’ve put out to employees. Unfortunately, this usually comes in the form of a lengthy survey sent out once or twice a year. So, we created three features to help them gather both easily.
Giving employees the opportunity to provide feedback directly is an easy way to improve employee engagement. Including a comments options shows employees that what they have to say is important and that their words can create real change within the organization.
With pulse surveys, social reactions, and employee comments, you’ll have access to both qualitative and quantitative data from your internal newsletter. You’ll know what employees are feeling and thinking, since they have the option to tell you directly through the newsletter.
- Pulse surveys are used to gain a quick “pulse” response from your newsletter on specific binary questions. The star ratings can be used to gather quick feedback without bothering busy employees. Such as “On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your work-life balance?” No extra steps, no extra tools. It literally takes less than 3 seconds!
- Emoji reactions enable employees to quickly react to your newsletter content with emoticons. Using emoji reacts enables you to quickly gain insight on the sentiment of employees.
- Employee comments are attached to specific questions, like “How did you find this newsletter?” This is great to include if you want more feedback beyond quick reactions.
ContactMonkey’s analytics dashboard will shows you all of the metrics on your internal communications, including the employee feedback you receive.
Having data on who’s reading the employee newsletter, what content is holding the most attention, and where you’re losing your reader helps you to know what to change for future company newsletters.
4. How to personalize your internal newsletter template for Outlook
Personalizing your emails helps drive employee engagement. 83% of communicators surveyed believe that personalizing email content is extremely important to effectively reach employees. However, only 40% of communicators do so.
We recommend that you start with the subject line, and that will guide the output of the body text. Don’t deceive your reader. Give them content that aligns with the subject line.
How to add a personal touch to your subject line with ContactMonkey:
- On the ContactMonkey sidebar within the Microsoft Office 365 web add-in you will see an option to add merge fields to personalize your email content
- Click the merge field and copy your merge field into you subject line or email template while your designing your HTML newsletter.
When you use ContactMonkey’s merge fields, your recipients will receive an email that will have they name appear wherever you inserted the merge field. Nobody likes receiving an email that obviously has been sent to thousands of other people.
5. How to preview your responsive HTML newsletter on desktop and mobile
With ContactMonkey, you’ll know exactly how to create an HTML newsletter in Outlook that’s both responsive and beautiful. Now that you’ve created your responsive newsletter, test how it looks across desktop and mobile in the template builder.
Most people using Smartphones during the work day are connected for more than 13 hours a day during the week, and spend about 5 hours on the weekends checking emails. With these kinds of numbers, chances are that employees are going to read the employee newsletter on mobile.
Some reminders for your employee emails:
- If it’s hard to read, you’ll lose your reader.
- You don’t want words to be cut off on any device.
- Include links back to relevant content to make employee engagement painless.
If it’s already a pain to get employees to engage with the company newsletter, you want to make it as appealing as possible. You don’t want to have lengthy, run-on sentences. These can be overwhelming.
If it looks too busy on the page, you’ll scare people away.
By testing it all out beforehand, you’ll know what it’s like to be on the receiving end and be able to make smart changes before it lands in everyone’s inboxes.
6. How to choose your Outlook distribution lists
Since ContactMonkey integrates within Microsoft Outlook, all of your Outlook functionality remains the same, including selecting a distribution list for sending your HTML email template from Outlook. We’ve also made importing a CSV file from Excel a one-click task.
To select a distribution list:
- Click “To”
- Select your distribution list from the drop down
- Press “OK”
How to import a CSV file into Microsoft Outlook:
- Navigate to the ContactMonkey ribbon in Outlook
- Click on “Upload a CSV file”
7. How to test your email newsletter before hitting send
Now that you’ve designed your responsive HTML email template, added personalization, and ensured you’re happy with how it looks across mobile and desktop, it’s time to make sure that your merge fields from your Outlook distribution lists and populating correctly.
- Click on “Preview Mail Merge”
- A window will pop up showing if you’ve inserted your merge fields correctly
How will you know? Green means everything is working properly and red means some information is missing.
Once you’ve played with creating your employee newsletter and it looks how you want it to, you just have to choose the appropriate distribution list in Outlook, and click send.
If you’re not ready to send it right away, you can also schedule the “Send HTML newsletter in Outlook”for later.
8. What happens when you press send?
Time to start tracking and optimizing your employee newsletter in Microsoft Outlook.
Painlessly ending better employee newsletters in Outlook is just the beginning. The big challenge is what makes people actually open and engage with employee newsletters?
Since you’re also able to track opens, link clicks at a personal and aggregate (overall) level using our dashboard, you’ll be gaining the insights needed to keep optimizing your internal emails every time you hit send.
Included with the ability to send responsive emails to your employees, you can use Outlook email tracking for internal communicators to track the message and gather employee feedback in real-time.
We will show you overall campaign performance, or performance at an individual employee level including open rates, link clicks, location, devices, pulse survey results and more.
ContactMonkey helps Internal Communicators
ContactMonkey’s internal communications tool is a powerful resource for those looking to improve their employee newsletters. With ContactMonkey you can:
- track the overall or individual campaign performance of each newsletter;
- measure open rates (do people care that it’s there?);
- measure link clicks and click through rates (so you know what sort of content to include);
- understand what locations are most engaged, great for large organizations with multiple locations and offices (was it read at work or elsewhere?);
- identify what type of devices employees are opening your communications on (which is why you should test both!); and
- analyze employee feedback results to inform future decisions (and other employee feedback).
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Witness how ContactMonkey enables you to send personalized messages to your employee lists, track every open and link click. Book your free demo today!