CMOs, It's Time to Include Employees in your Brand Strategy

May 13, 2022

Let's get one thing straight, your business wouldn't be a business without your employees. Not only are your employees the face of your brand, but they are the direct link between you and your customers. Yet, surprisingly, most businesses tend to overlook their employees when developing their brand strategy. Part of the reason is to not burden their employees with the responsibilities involved with carrying the brand torch. 

But what if we told you that there was a simple way you could utilize your employees as a key component of your brand strategy without creating more work (for them and you)? 

Keep on reading to learn why you should include employees in your brand strategy, how employee relationships are the brand fuel you need to take you on a growth journey, and how you can do so with minimal friction and resistance. 

Leverage employee relationships as brand fuel

Let's do a little exercise together, shall we? Imagine your dream car. Really think about it. Think about the model, the color, the design, and the engine. Imagine that it's sitting in your driveway right now. It's your car. You own it.

Imagine that the tank of this car is always full of the highest grade fuel, ready to take you on a journey. Now imagine that you never turn it on. Instead of taking your car, you catch an Uber, a cab, the train, or the bus to your destination. You're faced with congestion, delays, surging prices, and competition to get a seat on the ride - an overall unpredictable experience. 

Your employees and the professional relationships they've built are the unlimited high-grade fuel, and your email is that dream car that your brand owns; and it's sitting on the lot.

Unfortunately, instead of tapping into this owned channel, your marketing and brand teams continue to be at the mercy of 3rd party platforms and algorithms. Many of them are burning their budget and left with sub-par results. If you're ready to drive your car off the lot, it's time you consider employee email signatures and email ad campaigns within your brand strategy. We break down the details in the next section. 

Include employee email signatures in your brand strategy

Most companies are constantly testing new channels to amplify their brand but what they tend to miss in their search for new opportunities is the very lucrative option of utilizing employees through the emails they send day in and day out.

Employee email allows you to leverage the trust and equity built by your employees' efforts to deliver on your brand value, generate leads, and cultivate conversion opportunities that ultimately lead to revenue.  It's the highest form of personalization you can offer in email marketing - check out where it falls on the email value pyramid. You also get the perks of delivering a fully branded and personalized experience in every single email that goes out. Not too shabby, right?

After testing this channel, you’ll see that it feels more like a two-way street vs. the one-to-many feel of the traditional approach of email marketing. But if you need extra convincing, we’re going to do some basic math to understand the volume you can expect...

Your employees collectively send upwards of 10,000 emails per year. For a team of 100, we’re talking roughly 1,000,000+ opportunities to deliver on your brand initiatives! Imagine if every single time an email was sent from someone on your team, your latest campaigns and initiatives were appended in a beautiful, targeted display ad right below the email signature.

Check out the example:

Email ad campaigns are essentially display ads but instead of being targeted by ad networks, they are targeted by real humans - the humans that make up your brand. According to our stats, these babies receive between 4 - 7% CTR on average. That's 5x to 15x higher engagement rate than retargeted advertising and 50x to 150x higher than standard display ads! 

Email ad campaigns face ZERO competition. You don’t have to worry about your competitors outbidding you for the ad space. It’s yours to use as you please. You might even consider swapping your ad budget for this channel. If you do, we’ll keep it between us. 🤫

Make every employee a brand builder 

When you leverage branded email signatures and email ad campaigns, you’re getting the whole team wearing a branded jersey. This alone turns every employee in your company into a passive brand builder. Every department of your business has a part to play in the success of your brand. So it only makes sense for them to look the part too. And they feel good about it.

Julio, a software engineer at Qualtrics, shared the following sentiment in a LinkedIn post a couple of years ago after Qualtrics had launched an email ad campaign promoting their free remote work solutions during the onset of Covid-19.

“This is my professional email signature. I feel extremely proud when I look at it.” - Julio, Software Engineer

Like the example above, you've got a chance to boost employees' morale and pride in their work every time they send an email. In return, you can maximize the value from the organic conversations that are already happening every single day to further your brand initiatives.

Depending on your goals, you can slice and dice your email ad campaigns in as many creative ways as possible. 

  • Target your email ad campaigns by event, by product line, by goals. 
  • Target by recipient, internal or external. 
  • Target by opportunity stage - awareness, consideration, decision, and post-sale 
  • Target  by sender or recipient 

Below are a few examples of email ad campaigns split up by department type. This is known as sender-base targeting. If you follow this approach, you can promote the content and campaigns that are most relevant to the audience they are engaging with. 

  • Marketing: Leverage your marketing team's signatures to get podcast guests booked, distribute content, promote webinars and webcasts, etc. 
  • Customer Success: Leverage the Customer Success department's email signatures to launch email ad campaigns that boost revenue, generate upsell/cross-sell opportunities, get referrals, collect reviews, distribute surveys, or simply link to the knowledge base to improve product knowledge.
  • Sales: Leverage the sales department's email signatures to promote your latest campaigns, boost event registrations, deliver on your ABM strategy, and distribute case studies and competitor comparisons that ease your buyers down the funnel.
  • Partnerships: Leverage your partnerships or vendor relations department email signatures to run product education campaigns, distribute content and promote mixers and events.
  • HR: Leverage your HR department email signatures to promote new hire initiatives, internal company events, share news on company awards. 

As you can see, you can get the whole company delivering on your brand initiatives. Every department and employee becomes a brand builder and an asset to the marketing team. The marketing team also becomes the brand shepherd and an asset to every department.

Minimum investment, maximum impact

The best part about leveraging this channel is that it doesn’t require much additional effort or a change in behavior from your team. 

Your employees are already sending email - via Gmail, Outlook, or perhaps they’re sending email through other platforms like Outreach, Salesloft, Salesforce, HubSpot. With a tool like Opensense, your employees can continue to send their emails from whatever platform they’re using - and on whatever device they choose. The brand experience will be consistent across email clients, platforms, and devices. 

Your marketing team has the luxury of being in the driver's seat because our email signatures and email ad campaigns are centrally managed. 

By connecting Opensense to your marketing automation platform or CRM of choice, you also get to leverage powerful targeting to drive the most impact and collect detailed insights and analytics. This data can be used to A/B test campaigns, score leads, trigger workflows, and update contact and account records in your CRM.  Opensense also provides detailed reporting on campaign performance so you can see which email ad campaigns are resonating with your audience and making the greatest impact.  

Think out of the box when it comes to your inbox

By leveraging employee email signatures in your branding strategy, you can extend the reach and impact of your marketing efforts while delivering a cohesive and branded experience to your customers. Not only will this help with lead generation and conversions, but it’s also an easy way to show your employees that they are valued members of the team who contribute directly to the success of the company. 

Ready to get started? Get a demo and we’ll give you a tour of the platform and how you can get started.

Interested in learning more? Geek out on our playbooks

Each playbook includes detailed and actionable plays that you can start using to reach and engage with your best audience.

👉  Content Marketing Playbook: Get your best content In front of more of your ideal buyers.

👉  Marketing Automation Playbook: Use powerful targeting to deliver personalized ads beneath every employee email signature.

👉 Event Marketing Playbook: Transform a channel you already own into your #1 or #2 event marketing channels.

👉 Get the Buyer's Journey Playbook: This playbook will show you how to map your content to all 5 stages of the buyer's journey.

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Jass Binning
Director of Marketing
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