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In a digital world, email stands the test of time

If there was ever a sign that the world is becoming increasingly digital, it was last month’s production of the last VCR.

To capitalise on the digital revolution, organisations around the world are adjusting their communications strategies with the purpose of increasing engagement and driving outcomes.

But no matter how you spin it, there is one channel that has stood the test of time: email.

Email marketing continues to have the highest ROI of any digital platform. According to Campaign Monitor, for every $1 spent on email marketing, it generates $38 in return.

In the public sector, we use external communications to drive outcomes like increasing grant applications, keeping people safe during severe weather, and teaching children to read – and email continues to be a strong ally in those endeavours.

To help you maximise the power of your emails, here are the six stages of any successful email journey:

1. Define your audience

For many public sector organisations, the goal is to speak to as many people as possible – especially in high profile and important situations. But you also need the ability to target specific sections of your audience with messages that are relevant to them. Segment your audience to drive specific actions, and begin by focusing on the interests or needs of those you are trying to reach.

2. Leverage compelling content

The average person’s attention span is less than 10 seconds – so you really have to make it count. Get the basics down – limit excessive ALL CAPS, odd punctuation, and avoid clichéd phrases. You can also automatically send out the valuable content your organisation is already creating for your website via email, saving time and duplication of effort.

3. Reach your email recipients

Organisations that use a private sector commercial email sending tool see their emails sent along with those of local businesses (like coffee shops), which can negatively impact the likelihood that their emails make it to the inbox. With historical deliverability rates of 99 percent, public sector-focused digital outreach tools – like the one-and-only GovDelivery Communications Cloud – only send on behalf of government, meaning your email will get through and be seen by more people.

4. Drive human action

Once they get your message, people can engage with your content and take action in a way that matches your organisation’s mission. Make it easy for people to act using call-to-action buttons, or bring your main message up to the top of your email.

5. Learn from analytics

It’s not enough to just press send anymore; you need to measure the success of your message. What happened after you sent it? How many people took action? Learning from what works and what doesn’t is crucial. This insight can help drive notable increases in engagement with your message content. It’s also important to look at how your communications are impacting other analytics, like website traffic, customer service metrics, and more.

6. Improve the process

Take your results and analysis, and define your organisation’s best practices. Replicate high-performing emails and improve on messages that turn out to be less engaging. This commitment to continual refinement will help make your emails more compelling, meaningful, and more valuable to your audience.

Looking for inspiration for your next email campaign? Check out the latest guide “12 Awesome Examples of Public Sector Emails” that highlights real emails that work by category.

We produced this guide using US examples – however, wherever you are based, the best practice principles apply. We’ll be producing something similar using UK examples soon!