7 Email Tips to Improve Stock Plan Communications

By Jenn Sinclair. Email is often incorporated into a stock plan communication strategy because all employees have an email account, it is inexpensive, and it can be effective. But how can you make sure it is effective? How do you make sure that your participant communications are reaching your audience?

Here are 7 things that will make your message jump out of your participant’s inbox and get them to act.

  1. Segment Your Audience

You may think this one is easy – it’s participants. In actuality, in order to have an effective email, you should consider segmenting your participants into different groups that have common goals and knowledge on the topic. You can create these segments by utilizing criteria you have already gathered such as department, date of hire, or job title.  These groups shouldn’t be so specific that you are writing individual emails, but by creating even a small number of segments your email effectiveness can grow exponentially because you are speaking to that group’s needs, goals, and base knowledge.

  1. Send at an Opportune Time

Today people have constant access to their email. According to an August 2015 survey by Adobe, the most likely age group to check their emails is millennials – and they do so regularly.

  • 70% – From their bed
  • 57% – From the bathroom (eew!)
  • 27% – While driving (dangerous!)

But that doesn’t mean that you should send your email at any time.  Imagine, it’s Friday, late afternoon before a three-day weekend and you get an email that you know is going to require effort on your end… there is a temptation to:

  1. File it and look at it when you get back
  2. Pretend you didn’t see it
  3. Start the process – but then realize it’s time to leave

When considering what time/day to send your email, it’s important to understand the recipient’s environment. Is it quarter end? Is there a holiday coming up? When do employees arrive/leave the office? Although it depends on the audience, typically Tuesday and Thursday see the best engagement rates with 10am being an optimal time of day.

  1. Send From a Reliable Source

Just as important as the subject line or the content of the email, the email sender will often determine if the recipient is going to open the message. Typically, people respond better when the email is from a personal address they are familiar with, as opposed to hr@. This helps the reader feel comfortable that the email is not a scam and that it is okay to trust the content.

Make sure that the person you choose to have the email come from is aware of the content and can answer or direct questions to the right department.  This may sound basic, but you would be surprised!

  1. Have a Clear Call to Action

The call to action is the most import thing to consider when writing any email. It’s the reason for the email itself.  Still, the call to action can often be lost in the content.  Make sure that your call to action stands out from the rest of the email and is easy to understand.  This can be achieved with:

  • Formatting (bold, italicize, color, underline, spacing, etc.)
  • Using action words (Register, Submit, Learn, Respond)
  • Repetition (state the information and then summarize in a sentence at the end of the email)

Be sure to take a break from writing the email, and when you come back ask yourself:

  • Is my eye drawn to any one part of the email? If no, try using one of the above. If yes…
  • Is it clear what the email is asking you to do? If no, try a different action word. If yes, you are one step closer to sending.
  1. Include Resources for Additional Information

Regardless of how clear or informative the email is, people will always have questions. It’s important to provide an avenue where recipients can get more information. This can include an internal resource, an external link, or contact information.  Consumers, or in this case participants, have tons of information at their fingertips and will want to make smart decisions.  By providing them additional resources, you are helping them decide their next step with more confidence.

  1. Have an Editor

No one is perfect! It’s important to have another set of eyes review your communications to check:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Clear call to action
  • Links/contact information
  • Relevancy
  • Readability
  • Effectiveness

Help your proofreader by asking for clear feedback such as: do all of the links work? Is it clear what I am asking the reader to do? Is the email easy to digest?

This will help them look for more than just misspellings and will help you determine the effectiveness of your email.

  1. Track Effectiveness

Email has become so advanced that you can determine exactly when the email was opened, what the user clicked on, what device the email was viewed on, how many times the email was opened, and how long the user looked at the email. Not all of this information is important, but by tracking a few of these stats, you can gain insight into the effectiveness of your email. Some of these stats include:

  • Delivery Rate (% of emails that were delivered to inboxes) – This number should be 97-100%. This percentage will tell you how many of the emails you sent to were invalid.
  • Open Rate (% of recipients that opened the email) – Industry rates vary, and you should compare this rate among your historical percentage. This will give you an idea of what sender’s email is best to send from and what subject lines are most effective.
  • Click to Open Ratio (% of those who opened the email and went on to click on a link) –If the call to action in your email is a link, a high click through rate indicates that you’ve delivered on the promise in your subject line.
  • Completion number (the number of people who completed the call to action) – This number is hopefully higher than your goal. It will give you insight into how clear the rest of the process was, and if you need to include more information in the email so that recipients are understand what to do and want to do it.

Utilizing these 7 aspects of email marketing will help you improve your overall effectiveness of your participant communications and get you one step closer to equity plan success. For additional strategies to improve your stock plan communication plan download your copy of, Four Steps to Elevating Your Stock Plan Communications.


jenn-sinclair-liJenn Sinclair is the marketing communication specialist at Certent and has been working in the industry for over five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Contemporary Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota where she focused on marketing, advertising, and communication studies. In 2015, Sinclair’s design, content and project management skills contributed to Certent receiving three Marcom awards. Jenn lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and dog and is a devoted Broncos fan.