Tips for interactive newsletters

5 best practices for making your monthly newsletter more effective
This is a template deep dive on the interactive newsletter (for use in Pullpath) where we share best practices that have helped our customers consistently double the completion rates of surveys & triple the number of interactions.

1) Explain why you're doing this

When people receive a message, they often think 'why am I getting this?' and 'is this relevant to me?'. You want to answer those questions as early as possible and always try to answer them in every subsequent invitation back to your pullpath.

Explain in the email or message invitation

Bad: Here's this month's newsletter
Ok: The August newsletter is out. Your opinion counts.
Good: Where should we have our next offsite? Vote this week to earn bonus points.
As you are more specific about 'why' and highlight relevance to the user, they are more likely to participate. The more generic the message, the easier it is to ignore or deprioritize (and then forget).

Explain in the first newsletter

The very first time that you send an interactive newsletter, you can spend more time on introducing Pullpath as a tool so that everyone understands the goals, expectations and most importantly, how it benefits them.
Here's an example:
The Goal, The Why & Benefits 1 - 3 can be the first 5 bits a participant sees
After establishing why, you can then ask about other things such as preferred topics, frequency or ask them to complete their profile to gather name, photo, group/team or job title.

Explain in the first bit title & sentence

Every month, you can use the first bit title & first sentence to reinforce why to continue & benefits to them or to the company. The first bit image and first sentences can show up in link previews so use this to your advantage by making it specific or beneficial to them.
For example, below the bit title is "Let's co-create Pied Piper's goals for the year" and the image is taken from the first bit.
The bit title is prominently shown and the image is taken from the first bit. Some previews also show the first line of text.

2) Send it on a fixed schedule

If you're just starting out, we recommend a monthly schedule in order to strike a balance between frequency and workload. Our more advanced programs may send on a weekly basis or use a blend of quick feedback checkins every week (how are you feeling scale 1-5 type bits) with a monthly interactive newsletter.
You should also set expectations and a fixed deadline so that users know when to expect it and are hopefully looking forward to it each month.
For example, you could send by the 1st of every month or the first Friday of each month.
You can also give users bonus points to encourage fast participation each month.
For example, you could say 'The first ten people to comment get 20 bonus points for their team'. Then to add bonus points, you can click to see path results and click into comments results. From there, you can click on Give bonus points and enter points along with optional comment.
Click into comment results then click Give bonus points
Then enter the amount of bonus points to give. If you enter 20 it will give points. If you enter -20 it will remove points.

3) Include rewards regularly

People everywhere respond to incentives. You can use this to your advantage by including rewards of different types and mentioning them often.

Add extrinsic rewards to start

We suggest starting simple to get some initial attention to your interactive newsletter. Some examples of extrinsic rewards:
  • Gift cards (Starbucks, Amazon, Apple etc) - most common *
  • Organization swag (Pied Piper T-shirts, mugs etc)
  • Money or other physical goods (Wine, Travel bag etc)
*For gift cards, can upload these codes to the system so that users get their rewards immediately or you can give them out manually to start.
These extrinsic rewards are easy to understand and help people get started with Pullpath for the first time. It also shows that you value their participation and feedback.

Add intrinsic rewards to keep people involved

Intrinsic rewards tap more into people's core motivations and tend to lead to more & deeper long term involvement in co-creating your organization together. Some examples of intrinsic rewards:
  • Paid time to volunteer (day off to do charity work of their choosing)
  • Contribute to a cause (company will donate to a cause they believe in)
  • Lunch with the GM (access to senior leadership as a way to get ahead)
  • Be the CEO for a day (a junior rep & CEO swap jobs for a day, generates a lot of internal chatter)
These intrinsic rewards are usually much higher points or are given out to recognize valuable feedback or participation. You can add these later as you get more comfortable using Pullpath.

4) Share the leaderboard 2-3 times

After you launch your interactive newsletter program, you'll want to create a leaderboard. To make the leaderboard look nice, you may also want to have user profile path to ask for name, photo, group/team and job title. You can download the User Profile Template here.
To get a link to the leaderboard, click Leaderboards in the top menu then next to a specific leaderboard, click the Edit drop down and select Leaderboard link.
If you don't see Leaderboards in the top menu then send us a message to get it enabled
Then you should share that link to the leaderboard & screenshot back to the team. We recommend sending in 3 days and 7 days later after you launch your monthly update.
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Don't forget to include a link to the most recent update in case they haven't completed it yet.
The email can be simple - seeing their colleagues faces & points can drive a friendly competition
You can also add the leaderboard to paths as well before you launch the next month's update.
It's best to add a screenshot early in the pullpath and only link to the leaderboard near the end (so they finish the current path first)

5) Show that you're listening

We have left the best for last. The single most important factor to a successful Pullpath interactive newsletter is consistently showing that you're listening to everyone's feedback.
We've all had the experience of giving up on surveys because 'why bother if nothing changes'. Here are some of the ways that you can show that you are listening.

Here's what you said last time

We recommend including a section near the beginning of every newsletter where you are referencing the results or user-generated content from the previous month.
You can screenshot results from Engage and embed them in the bits. We recommend circling a key result in red and using the title or description to let them know what it means. Ideally you're also then making a change as a result of what they said.
Pullpath Engage screenshots in bits. The red circle highlights the top result. Comments with photos make it more social

Here's what people are saying (about this month)

A few days after your first launch invite, you can send another email or message and include some of the users feedback comments in the email subject & description then include a link to the update.
This shows that other colleagues are enjoying your interactive newsletter and is a good reminder to get them to participate.
A text email with comments and a link to the newsletter is an easy way to show you're listening & remind users to join

Sharing Engage results with a wider audience

If you want to be even more transparent, you can use the email results function to send some or all of the bit results to your team. You can learn how to do that here.
If you want to add additional comments to specific results or to make any changes, you can also email yourself the results first and then email them to the team. You may want to email it to yourself first if you need to email a large number of people or an internal mailing list.
Participants don't need to sign in to Pullpath to see the results directly in their email and it's mobile friendly as well

Recognize outstanding contributions

You can include in an email or in a path or both some great comments or photos or contributions that team members have made. Or you can do this as a standalone path.
This is your chance to publicly celebrate and reward people who are living your values.
This example is a standalone path but you can reproduce similar bits in your monthly interactive newsletter