Five Internal Marketing Channels That Are Better Than Email

five internal marketing channels that are not an email. two men on construction floor shaking hands
Stand out and engage your employees using these easy techniques

Most companies have a marketing department. That department probably spends their days strategizing how to brand the company in a B2B or B2C environment and attract more customers. If you’ve got the external marketing covered, the next question is how well do you promote yourself to your employees?

Internal marketing should be prioritized as highly as external marketing efforts. In a tight labor market, keeping your employees engaged and fulfilled leads to better retention. The problem many employers have is relying simply on newsletters with article after article or putting important information into another email. How many promotional emails do you delete in a day without even reading? While email marketing internally should be a part of your arsenal of tools, there are additional, effective ways to engage and inform one of your most important audiences, your employees!

Here are five non-email internal marketing channels to try that that are not an email that will engage your employees.

It’s easy to manage social media profiles and add/remove users as their employment status dictates. Create a private, employee-only account on social platforms your employees frequent. The housekeeping of getting everyone onboarded should be a focused effort. These channels allow all staff to have a voice for your business. Keep the content light and engaging, and be sure to respond to every post and comment.

Text message marketing uses SMS (Short Message Service) to deliver messages to subscribers. There are many companies you can contract with to manage your text database of employees and even help you create campaigns like polls and contests. 97% of all text messages are read within fifteen minutes. Creating a text message club can push out relevant and timely messages valued by your employees.

Is the C-Suite making decisions based on the productions floor staff’s operating reality? One way to ensure that is arranging consistent, casual roundtable discussions. Getting administration in front of the floor staff can be as simple as setting up a table in the break room or conference room and inviting a couple of members of each team to meet and discuss wins, opportunities for process improvement, and answer any questions in safe spaces. Increase engagement with giveaways for attendees (like food certificates and company schwag), or letting them leave a few minutes early if the roundtables are held at the end of the day.

Staying on that face-to-face theme, a new practice taking hold is called the ‘Stay Interview”. The idea is to continually interview current employees and find out what their honest intentions are, how their jobs can be better, and what would keep them in their current job. Here’s an article on how big business is using the Stay Interview to fight turnover and retain employees.

Getting everyone onboard a company-wide Zoom or other video call offers up opportunities to create special recognition, present professional video presentations, and sell your reputation with the entire team at the same time. Always try to keep these brief, and highly entertaining and engaging. Whatever you do, don’t do what did and fire 900 employees by teleconference. Shudder.

When using internal marketing, work to communicate effectively and address your own shortcomings as a company honestly and optimistically. Let employees know that their feedback is crucial and their honesty will meet no form of retribution. Ideally, you could use one or all of the channels on a rotating basis.

Top Ten Non-Monetary Ways to Reward Employees

chalkboard with a message: top ten non monetary ways to reward employees this holdiay season


If you ask an older generation, they’ll tell you all about the “Christmas Bonus.” In a bygone era, the employee-employer relationship was reaffirmed each holiday season with a bonus check for the employee. If you’ve seen the movie Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, you can see how problematic this became for employers, and employees.

There are many financial overtures to employees: salary, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing, and 401k match just to name a few. While your employees would undoubtedly appreciate a few extra dollars thrown their way as a ‘thank you’, there are many other ways to reward your hard working emotionally dedicated staff this season that can cost very little (or even nothing).

man double-fisting trophies
A trophy, championship belt, medal and some public recognition go a long way.

#10 – The Trophy

Sure, it’s a little hokey. Maybe your employee would rather have the $20 you spent to get a plate engraved. But a trophy, or medal, or championship belt will stand the test of time. It will be set front and center at an employee’s workstation/desk.  Having a moment with a trophy presentation in front of co-workers (do it on a monthly basis) can create a positive and memorable moment of recognition. It also has a dual effect on other co-workers to try and claim this moment for themselves down the line.

Many of these rewards and recognition are far more memorable than a cash gift or generic big box gift cards, add a personal touch and build relationships to help keep your team engaged. The holiday season provides employers a chance to connect intimately with their talent.  Studies show that an employee is three times more likely to have negative feelings about their employer without occasional recognition. So, show your staff some love this season.

#9 – Food and Drink

A gift card to a popular restaurant or a $50 gift card to the grocery store can go a long way to helping an employee. While this is technically a ‘monetary’ gift, it requires some thought and a personal touch from an employer. Sending someone out to dinner, or getting them a bottle of their favorite spirit shows your employee that who they are matters. Another simple idea is to have food and/or drinks brought in for your staff to enjoy. Do this early in the week to boost morale.

#8 – Outside the Office Experience:

Give an employee or employees a chance to do something for the day outside of the office.  Take someone golfing, to a movie, or maybe a concert. You could even go for drinks on the company after work hours. If you can, make sure the employee is on the clock. Those few hours clocked in and getting paid for something fun will stay in their heads and hearts for many weeks and months to come.

A nice pullover or hoodie makes for a wonderful employee gift.

#7 – Social Media Shoutouts

Some people aren’t going to be into having their face plastered on your Facebook or Instagram. If they are camera-shy, have them send a picture they like of themselves. Then make sure that you’re tagging them by name on your social media channels with details of how important they are to your operation. This public acknowledgement lends employees to feel secure and well loved at their job. This will promote overall performance moving forward.

#6 – Comfort and or Company Schwag

Make it more than a mug. Get something really nice for an employee that maybe isn’t available to everyone or at a price point that most don’t go near. A hooded sweatshirt, even with your logo on it, is a gift that everyone will enjoy. You can give a gift of comfort to an employee as well. It could be a blanket or maybe some nice work boots for outdoor and industrial work. Give your team member something they can use everyday that shows they are part of a team and that they are valued.

#5 – Time

It’s the only thing better than the paycheck. Give your employees time back in their lives to increase their contributions to your operation, and to themselves. Give them an extra mental-health day, or PTO days near a holiday weekend to give them an additional mini-vacation during the year. If you want to give them time during the workday, another popular idea is to let your employee spend the day volunteering at their favorite charity or allow them to work on their own projects on company time. Google lets employees spend 20% of their work time on personal projects. They know this benefits the mental health of the employee and usually benefits them as well from an R&D perspective.

#4 – Autonomy

One of the things people love most about a job is being left alone and not micromanaged. They can do their job with little supervision, and you should be able to recognize employees who can perform at high levels independently. In addition to autonomy, you can also reward employees with responsibility. While that doesn’t sound like a reward, showing your employees you trust them to handle more important tasks in their workload can give them a sense of connection with the team and purpose in their job.

#3 – One on One Time

Simple face time with the boss can go along way. It helps the employee know that they are valued because your time is important and you’re choosing to spend it with them. It gives them ownership of the team by being able to put ideas into management’s head. One-on-one lunches, weekly mentoring sessions, training on jobs beyond their current role and other private opportunities not only make them feel valued, it gives employers a chance to get a fresh perspective and retain employees long-term.

#2 – Education and Well Being

Nobody wants to feel stuck in job. If you want your employees operating at a high level, make sure they’re moving forward professionally and personally. Offering your employees a chance to develop their professional skills or to focus on their health benefits everyone in both the short and long term. Give your employee a paid afternoon off on a nice day, or send them to a spa for an afternoon for a treatment.

You can purchase (or reimburse) your employee for online classes (like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy) to grow their skills. These classes can be as cheap as $10 a course. Be sure to give them time to study and develop while they are on the clock. That Gordon Ramsey Masterclass in cooking might get you a special plate of Beef Wellington in return.

#1 – Flexibility

It is by far the most in-demand job benefit in 2021. People want to work where they are comfortable. If you can give an employee time off early to help them not spend money on child care, or let them work remotely a few days a week or create their own schedule—do it. You’re going to be giving them something that means far more than the dollars on their paycheck. It may not be attainable for every business, but whatever you can do to allow people to balance work vs. life, you’re going to be loved by those who work for you.

Take a moment to recognize those who make your operation successful. You don’t have to break the bank to do so. Just remember that your employees are people, and anything you can do to not be just “a job” is going to make them better employees, which makes your operation better.

Toys For Tots Toy Drive

Toys for Tots logo on chalkboard

For many parents in West Michigan, the thought of not being able to provide toys and gifts for their children at Christmas is devastating. That’s why the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots program has been there to help over 270 million children since 1947.

The need for Christmas magic is always growing. WSI and Toys for Tots are teaming up to make Christmas morning a bit brighter for those less fortunate this holiday season. In 2020, more than 12,000 toys were delivered to over 10,000 children in the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek area alone. Without your generous support of Toys for Tots each year, these children may not have a gift under the tree.

We’re asking our clients, associates, staff members, neighbors and friends to donate a new unwrapped toy at our Toys for Tots drop-off boxes located at our offices listed below:
Kalamazoo – 3497 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Battle Creek – 201 Fritz Keiper Blvd, Battle Creek, MI 49037
Grand Rapids – 1960 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Holland – 12972 James St Suite 40, Holland, MI 49424

If you’d like to make a donation, you can click here. All donations made at this link will stay in the local area and are not redistributed throughout the National Campaign. It’s a one step online process that will help bring a smile to a child in need this Christmas. You can donate through PayPal for security and ease, or even donate Cryptocurrency.  Thank you for making the holidays bright for children in West Michigan.