Email: A Top HIV Communications Tool!

Content From: HIV.govPublished: June 25, 20193 min read


A laptop sits on a desktop with the word, "email" on the screen and icons of opened and unopened emails floating across the image.
Credit: iStock

While most of us might already feel like email experts, crafting an effective email requires more than just time and practice. Well-designed emails can improve your HIV communications strategy by allowing you to:

  • Share information with your audiences
  • Be authentic and creative
  • Increase website traffic

Before we get into the “how,” let’s explore the “why” a bit.

Share Information with Your Audiences

HIV communicators know that audiences are different and that not all HIV-related content speaks to everybody. This means that creating messaging specific to audience interests and needs becomes a priority for effective HIV communication. For example, someone looking for HIV medication adherence strategies may not want to wade through information about funding opportunities. They want an email that quickly highlights resources and clearly describes relevant information.

By knowing what your audience wants to hear and what you have to offer, you can optimize your email communication channels and connect more effectively. You can do this by referring to the seven best practices included later in the blog.

Be Authentic and Creative

The blank-canvas quality of an email allows you to share relevant HIV-related information in a way that reflects you or your agency. You can engage more creatively with your readers by including:

  • Infographics or visual aids
  • GIFs, memes, or emojis
  • Links to additional resources

Stick to your intended message - any graphics or colors you use should enhance your content rather than distract from your email’s purpose. Need some further clarification? You can find helpful examples more detailed graphics guidance hereExit Disclaimer.

Increase Website Traffic

Emails can be an effective way to direct readers to your website, reducing your reliance on search engines or virtual word-of-mouth for visits. Emails can point visitors to the HIV-related information they need while increasing visits to your website.

Seven Best Practices

Getting your emails to work for you relies on a thoughtful development approach. To optimize your HIV communication, consider the following six components when creating an email:

  1. Subject line: Readers see this before they even open the email. Check out one of our recent blogs to learn about what makes for an eye-catching subject line.
  2. Readability: Attention spans are short. Keep the content brief, when possible, and don’t be afraid of white space. Spreading out content can help to focus readers on what you want them to see, rather than overloading them with text.
  3. Graphics: Images can be a quick way to get information across to your reader and can create visual appeal. Just remember that any included images should enhance, not distract from, your email’s purpose.
  4. Sequence: Put the most important information first. The further down you go in an email, the more people you lose.
  5. Call to action or “What’s in it for me?”: Consider the purpose of your email. What do you want the recipient to get from having opened it? Make sure that message is clear so that nobody is left wondering “So what?”
  6. Mobility: At least 50% of all emails are opened on a mobile deviceExit Disclaimer. Test your emails on a smart phone or tablet to ensure they are readable.
  7. Testing: You will only know what works (and what doesn’t!) for your audience by testing different approaches. A great way to do this is through A/B testing.

Don’t Forget Your Analytics

To evaluate your HIV email communication successes, routinely track the following metrics:

  • Open rate: This tells you how many recipients opened your email after it landed in their inbox.
  • Click-through rate: This shows how many clicks your links garnered out of the total number of recipients. Depending on your total list size, this number might be very small.

Open rate and click-through rate give you a sense of how engaging your emails are and how compelled recipients feel to know more. Analytics offer essential insight into email efficacy and can highlight opportunities for growth.

Haven’t signed up for emails yet? You can do that now.