Since benefits communications are among many in employees’ inboxes, benefits managers need to put their best work forward if they want to drive action during open enrollment (OE) season.
An effective path for action was spelled out by Elias St. Elmo Lewis way back in 1898: the AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) model for successful selling. Little did he know that HR professionals would someday take these steps to inspire clickable benefits communications campaigns!
Using AIDA as a guide, here are our best ideas for how to activate engagement in OE communications.
1. Cover the Email Communications Basics
There are two things effective email communications have in common:
- A great subject line. For starters, your email needs to attract the reader’s attention, and there’s no shortage of ideas for how to craft winning words that entice them to open and click. As for length, try to aim for the low end of 40-70 characters.
- Readable, scannable copy. To get to the point of your email (and not lose the reader’s interest), employ user-friendly language and formatting. Writing at an eighth grade reading level ensures comprehension for 80 percent of Americans, so it stands to reason that complexity may discourage clicks. And since some employees may be reading from a mobile device, content is simpler to navigate at-a-glance when it’s concise, broken up into bullet-points and has plenty of white space.
2. Provide a Clear Directive
It’s important that your communications have an obvious “ask” so readers know what they’re supposed to do next – and why it matters. If you want them to click and engage, make your call-to-action links or buttons easy to find and don’t confuse them with too many competing “click here” options. Don’t make it easy for them to tune-out!
3. Get Personal
Part of making communications interesting – and their call-to-actions clickable – is making their content relatable to the reader. Benefits messaging doesn’t need to be dry and boring. When it contains personal details showing you know and care for your audience, it tends to resonate more. Aside from using employees’ first names in the subject lines (a popular way to personalize!), you can also try adding real-world examples or benefits testimonials that may make it easier for readers to see themselves using their benefits...and that can spark a desire to click-through and engage!
4. Make Communications Fun
Get your employees excited about OE! While this is part of your larger OE strategy, your communications can get a boost from eye-catching images and headlines. A branded campaign or annual theme can add a special touch that helps “stick” your messaging and drive desired actions.
5. Don’t Stop at One
We live and work in a world where most content can be consumed on-demand, on multiple devices and via multiple communication channels. That’s why modern marketing (and HR!) campaigns tend to leverage several touchpoints. So in addition to emails, experiment with texts, company social media and in-person communications to reach your employees with HR messages. They’re bound to “click” somewhere, right?
Bonus Tip: Test and Iterate!
Monitor your campaign engagement metrics (e.g., email open and click rates) for each communication and identify what works best for your workforce. Experiment with something new, freshen up your approach and stay curious – and see if you can’t make ongoing improvements you can apply to year-round benefits communications.