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6 Reasons Why Your Next Intranet Should Be an Email
- Posted Sep 17, 2012 Print Version  
Page 1

Ask any intranet leader what their greatest challenges are and employee engagement will usually rank near the top. There are a variety of reasons why employees are avoiding or working around your intranet:

  • It's hard to use
  • It's not relevant to how they work
  • It hasn't evolved with the organization
  • They simply don't know what's there

While many organizations today look to social media and other web 2.0 technologies to captivate their employees and take their intranets into the future, could it be that email - the humble web 1.0 standby - is a better bet than any to deliver the goods?

Yes, Email

When it comes to improving an intranet experience, no other investment offers the accessibility, versatility and demonstrated effectiveness of email. Yet it remains a surprisingly overlooked source of innovation.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, email - along with search - has remained the most popular activity on the Internet for 10 years, even as new platforms and technologies have continued to reshape the way we use the web. And as every intranet strives to be more personalized, relevant, timely, efficient, measurable, mobile, social and affordable (and all at the same time...), only email offers these possibilities all at the same time, in a familiar and affordable package.

We Have the Technology

Marketers have been using email creatively for years to raise awareness, build relationships and deliver useful information - goals that every intranet team shares. And the tools at their disposal are growing more sophisticated ever year. In addition to the usual alerts, reminders and newsletters, leading email platforms now offer behavioral targeting, dynamically-generated emails, triggered lifecycle communications and ever-increasing levels of personalization.

The possibilities for intranets are vast. Imagine a month-long series of orientation emails for new employees, daily to-do lists and project status updates, personal compilations of company and industry news, new training opportunities and benefit program updates - most generated automatically and all linking back to your intranet content for more information and action.

No Redesign Required: 6 Reasons Why the Future of Intranets is an Email:

  1. It accentuates the positive. Imagine if you could take all the best parts of your current intranet, hide the ugly and outdated bits, and deliver it in a more convenient, succinct and relevant package that reaches 100% of your employees each week. There's a success story you can take to the bank.
  2. It's a quick win for a modest investment. Major redesigns can be expensive and politically fraught exercises in organizational change. It's no wonder the status quo can persist for so many years. Email lets you do more with the assets and capabilities you already have.
  3. It brings the mountain to Muhammad. Busy people today prefer that important information comes to them. That's why email and text updates are increasingly taking the place of website logins.
  4. The technology is mature. And it's getting better and more affordable all the time. If your marketing and communications teams don't already own it, check out some of the leading email service providers. But you don't need fancy technology to make an impact. Even a simple, manually-curated email newsletter can change the game for a struggling intranet.
  5. It's inherently mobile. Most intranet teams today are thinking about mobile. After text messaging, email is the most widely-used and accessible mobile technology in use. If you build a mobile app, some of your employees can use it. If you build a mobile website, more of them can use it. But if you deliver your content by email, almost all of your people can access it today using their phones and other mobile devices.
  6. It markets itself. A consistent email communications program will keep the value of your intranet program and its progress in front of employees and executives all year long.

While email is no substitute for a quality intranet and winning vision, it is an increasingly vital component of the best intranet programs and a great way to add immediate value to your organization as you chip away at the bigger challenges.

Wherever email fits into your intranet experience today, chances are you can be doing more with it. That's why your next intranet should be an email.

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