Thinking about email… for L&D.
Studying a diploma in L&D over the past year, while simultaneously thinking about Email Design Systems as part of my job, it’ became fairly clear to me that many principles behind successful modern L&D are the same as with successful email marketing. The principles of needs analysis, design, evaluation, data and analysis using them to achieve results, improve business performance is all the same. After all, engaging people is all about content relevance.
This for example is an image that will more than likely have no relevance to this blog…
I don’t feel like I’m wrong in saying this, but both email marketing and L&D are both very different to how they were a decade ago, and both still constantly fight to shake off their own very different stigmas within any workplace (maybe that’s why I like them both) but are still both often overlooked for their value to the business as well.
A waffly fairly irrelevant, preamble later… here’s what I’m actually talking about…
Technology has enabled a big shift how people choose to learn, and there is a greater focus on learning transfer, and on-the-job learning.
As an example any email developer will be familiar with exploring social media, forums, slack groups, blog posts, podcasts etc.. whatever we have to do in order find the various crazy solutions to problems. Or a designer might go straight for YouTube as a “How to” for a particular way of executing what they need to achieve in Photoshop (or one these more trendy tools they use these days). Explore ideas, and little-by-little and gradually we work out the pros and cons, we practice, we repeat. Because that’s ultimately how we discover, how we learn, how we improve, and how we continue to stay inquisitive and on top of constant changes, and on the job learning has become part of every day working.
Usually within a workplace for online learning, it tends be all in the browser, accessing a learning management system etc… and email is often treated purely deliverer of the message. And indeed it should…
Email to me should more of often than not, be the enticing band poster wallpapered to a wall that entices you to the gig or buy that new album
*gets distracted and starts looking band posters for about 10 minutes…
What I mean is, they usually look a bit like this…
I’m in no way talking about style over substance here, you can still just deliver a simple message to promote, OR if the situation is right deliver learning within the inbox itself. WHATEVER SOLVES THE PROBLEM IS THE RIGHT SOLUTION.
Ultimately. The point I’m trying to make is that email can take a greater role at the L&D party, It doesn’t have to be the teenage version (and the adult version of me) sitting in a corner being aloof. It’s a valid media that can help deliver learning or help to encouragement with learning. And I’m not just talking about styling it up a bit. Talk to your marketing teams who deal with email about some of the benefits…
It can be a low cost, effective way to create and manage lists of data internally, so you can personalise content from first names, to the entirety of the content if you please.
links, and opens can give you a good indication of engagement.
You can send directly to individual inboxes and tailor content specifically to them.
Bite-sized learning, hints, tips and solutions to make people’s job easier, better, faster. You don’t even need to create the content, you can just share it. During this pandemic a nicely thought about about email with “working from home” tips, and links to different media formats would have been a lovely thing to do. Imagine that as a bunch of links, or a dry email.
A good example of where marketing and L&D crossover in email might be where a organisations product involves some onboarding, or support for knowledge gaps.
Braze Lab is a great example. Marketers familiar with Braze will know they have a eLearning lab which is an LMS, with specific e-learning created within. It’s super helpful and as a customer of theirs I find it helps build my own profile and relationship with there brand. By educating me, by supporting me I naturally respond positively to their brand.
But really although they aren’t responsible for my L&D or at my organisation, they are essentially providing an L&D service as part of their product. We get these emails. Personal and relevant with a higher-achy promoting other bits and pieces that they suggest.
Another brand Mailchimp as an example, when you sign-up to use their platform. Their onboarding process is simple, but educational and effective, useful relevant content, and they look great.
So onboarding/induction is a clear crossover between marketing and L&D.
A well-planned welcome campaign is the first step in establishing a relationship with an audience. It’s your chance to let them know more about your organisation, your values, what they can expect.
They enjoy 4 or 5 times the open/click through rates of most emails, and although that shouldn’t be the only metric to measure by, it can have a large impact on engagement further down the line too. It’s a real opportunity that many organisations fail to grasp quite spectacularly.
A well-planned induction programme is the first step in establishing a positive relationship between an employee and an organisation. It’s your chance to let them know more about your organisation, your values, what they can expect.
A poor induction creates lack clarity and a disconnect on their role and how it links to the organisation’s goals. Which has an impact on retention and performance which in turn impacts other areas of the business.
So why not think about your induction journey, of course tie it in with other media, but you could use email as a daily hub, with a more personalised approach to each team, role. And what’s more you can automate most if not all of it, if you put he ground work in first.
Something to think about anyway…
L&D Professionals. I would love to know more if this is something you already do? What’s your experience of using Email for L&D?…
If you/your L&D team want help thinking about more about how to make email work for you, or even if your brand and marketing team want to talk how you probably need an Email Design System, get in touch.
Thanks for enduring my waffle.