Email marketing + internal collaboration = £8k+ savings for council on single campaign
Yesterday I met with Gedling Borough Council who are based in the beautiful Arnot Hill Park. I’m always excited to see my clients, and Gedling is a particular highlight because they are experimenting with the GovDelivery Communications Cloud to continually improve audience engagement rates with their content, and, most importantly, they measure the outcomes of their “Keep Me Posted” email campaigns and the success of the service.
So here’s a glimpse into Rob McCleary (Communications Manager) and team’s well-oiled email marketing machine. Included here are details about how one campaign, deployed in conjunction with Gedling’s Council Tax team, has led to substantial savings and results for the whole council.
Campaign to get more residents managing their council tax online
(Campaign relates to 2016 council tax billing period)
- To get more residents signed up to Keep Me Posted
- To get residents to update their details in the council tax system online
- To get residents switching to payments via direct debit
- To reduce the number of calls coming into the contact centre (which is known to peak at the time when bills go out).
The Council Tax team at Gedling provided the email addresses of 10,090 residents to the Communications team and together they identified their key messages.
An email bulletin was sent to those 10,000+ residents along with an incentive encouraging them to sign up to email bulletins from other services provided through Keep Me Posted. I mean, who wouldn’t want to win an IPad hey? (A small price for the council to pay given the huge potential to save money by moving more people to transact online and reduce calls to the council.)
The value of an online customer
Wondering what the value of an email subscriber is? Here are some figures from SOCITM on the cost of contact through printed communications, in-person and over the phone.
- 1,000 residents signed up to receive Keep Me Posted updates. If we work on the basis that the value of a subscriber is £1.51 then this part of the campaign alone saw a potential cost saving for the council of £1,510.
- 3,500 fewer calls in total to the Council Tax team in comparison to the same period the year before, representing a total potential saving to the council of £8,050 (based on the approximate cost of contact above).
- 900 fewer calls during the week the bills hit. In 2015 Gedling received 6,500 calls, while in 2016 (with the addition of the email marketing campaign), they received just 2,600.
- 280 unique clicks to the Direct Debit sign-up form.
- 196 unique clicks to the Change of Circumstances form.
- A 68% open rate on their email campaign! Of the 8,753 emails delivered, 5,914 were opened which shows residents’ appetite for online content and access to critical services.
- A more accurate database and efficient records management. 1,337 emails bounced meaning 13% of all uploaded email addresses were invalid/inactive. The Council Tax team was then able to update their records and cleanse the data.
Key learnings for next time
My meeting with the team involved an analysis of what Gedling could do differently next time around to boost engagement rates and the success of the campaign in 2017.
Here are a couple of my recommendations:
- Use the filtering capabilities in the GovDelivery Communications Cloud to retarget residents “who haven’t yet opened or clicked” in the original send.
- Add clear call-to-action buttons in the email to increase engagement rates with the three main actions – “Sign up for direct debit”, “Update your circumstances” and “Sign up for other e-bulletins”.
This campaign is a great example of how working with other departments to figure out their pain points can lead to impressive results – and cost savings for the council!
Sometimes it can be easy to focus only on how your team can benefit from engaging citizens through the GovDelivery Communications Cloud. Do explore other ways targeted email or SMS communication could lead to cost benefits and reduced contact in other areas of your organisation.
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!
Another one to watch…
Albert Freeman and the team at Bradford Council are also on the ball when it comes to collaborating with other service areas to increase email subscribers.
On each household’s council tax bill, they will promote their “Stay Connected” digital updates service (artwork TBC). Council tax billing presents a huge and unique opportunity to dramatically increase your digital audience, and will undoubtedly provide thousands more residents with the critical updates they need straight to their inbox.
Granicus Community on Slack
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