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How to boost the take-up of winter flu jabs

Your objective: Increase the take-up of flu jabs

It’s that time of year when you (and many other NHS and local government communications teams) need to increase the number of eligible people getting their free flu jab.

The problem: Low audience reach and engagement

Here’s a scenario which you’re probably familiar with… Winter is coming, and your organisation is struggling to engage the groups of people most susceptible to the flu.

You need to find them, capture their attention, convince them that the flu jab is going to give them a better chance of fighting illness this winter, and then drive them to book an appointment to get the jab.

As if reaching, engaging and influencing the right people to do something specific wasn’t hard enough already; parallel to your efforts, largely unsubstantiated allegations about the health risks of the flu jab are being bandied around social media, once again. It’s time to amplify your messages.

flu jab facebook post

A solution: Use email to reach a large and diverse audience

You may be raising an eyebrow right now but email holds huge potential for your mission to get more people vaccinated. It is one of the few cost effective ways to communicate with people across different demographics, situations, and interests, and remains the most common online activity with 82% of adults in the UK regularly using email (ONS). Email is also a dependable line of communication with older people, with 60% of households age 65 or over now using the internet at home.

internet connectivity ONS

Source: Office of National Statistics

So how can email marketing increase the takeup of the flu jab?

  • Reach the right people and automate mailing list management

With the right tool you could be increasing the number of people subscribed to receive a range of different email updates from you – including emails about where and when to get a flu jab.

With an email marketing platform, you won’t have to worry about manually maintaining mailing lists. A good platform will manage subscriptions for you, allowing you to focus on your content and messaging strategy.

Give people choice about what they receive

Giving people a choice about what they receive will increase the relevancy of your messages and audience engagement with them. For example, you may want to separate your email subscription options according to medical conditions / lifestyle choices / interests. Here are some suggestions:

Diabetes and staying healthy

Pregnancy and staying healthy

Healthy living tips for elderly people

Help to stop smoking

Staying well this winter

Give your child a healthy start


Or, simply offer up reminder services for those who need it. Here are some ideas:

Flu jab appointment reminder

Free health checks for the over 40s

Air-pollution alerts

Smear test reminder

Here’s an example of how Kirklees is using email to promote free health checks to nearly 7k people subscribed to their “healthy living” update:

Subject line: Health checks | Student vaccines | Mental health survey

kirklees health

2) Use email automation, personalisation and audience segmentation

Email automation, personalisation and audience segmentation can help your organisation achieve a near-on 1:1 interaction with subscribers. For example, use a GDPR-compliant email platform that enables you to personalise sends and segment mailing lists based on subscribers’ location, age, pregnancy status, medical conditions, personal interests or other relevant characteristics.

Connect your email marketing tool with your CRM

To segment your audience properly you’ll need to ask specific questions at the point of someone subscribing or ensure that your email platform can easily integrate with your CRM (or another database). Note, govDelivery by Granicus enables you to do both with minimal tech skills – we’ll help you too.

3) Deliver messages that drive awareness, understanding and action (i.e. people booking their flu jab)

You can’t expect to achieve your objective with one email pinged into the ether from Outlook. Send bitesize, useful content to educate people. Tell them how and where they can get the flu jab, and continue to send reminders to people who haven’t taken action yet.

Communications to prompt specific action requires a plan and visibility of audience engagement. You need to know who to retarget.

You’ll need to deliver a series of carefully crafted messages at specific intervals. Set up your email campaign rules once (based on subscribers’ characteristics or interactions with previous messages), and let the platform self-manage who receives what based on the criteria you’ve set.

The tools you need for the job

Outlook can’t provide the insight you need to keep your emails relevant and useful to everyone you’re communicating with.

Get in touch with us today to book a meeting and find out more about govDelivery.