When you are formulating your digital communication strategy, what tools form the foundation for your execution? Social media is most likely the first thought that comes to mind these days. And understandably so; social media, in its many forms, can be a very effective communications tool. However, email remains a key tool, especially in the evolving communications industry.
Jeremy Greene, VP of Product Management at GovDelivery, recently shared these key success factors in digital communication strategies during his “What’s Next In Digital Communications” presentation at our kick-off event of GovDelivery’s 2013 Communications Tour. To find out where the next tour stop is, click here. Here’s a quick summary of some of his main points:
1. Email remains the foundation of digital communications
Of the over 80% of adults who are online, 94% of those adults are leveraging email. These are numbers that are hard to ignore. To further illustrate just how large the email user base truly is, picture this for a moment: if the following communication platforms were countries, Facebook would have a population of 1 billion; Twitter would have a population of 200 million (the size of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakstan); and email’s population would be a whopping 3.2 billion.
2. Multichannel communications
The main goal is to create content once, and then push it out through all of your communication channels. Chances are, you and your colleagues don’t have time to create new content for each of these channels on a regular basis. This model is often known as the C.O.P.E method (Create Once, Publish Everywhere).
This can be done from either angle as a starting point. In other words, take content from your blog or email newsletter and use the same content in your Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and any other communication channels. Or pull content from your social media feeds and use it to create email newsletters. This is an efficient and effective way to get information to your audience faster and increases the opportunities for your content to be shared within multiple channels.
Jeremy suggests adding an icon option on your website that allows for people to sign up for a weekly digest of all tweets that come out of your organization. He says this “tends to gain a lot of traction” and that “many clients have more recipients on their Twitter email list than they actually have of Twitter followers.” Find out where your target audience is hanging out — which social media channels they are already using — and hone your focus to those.
3. Messaging optimized for mobile
How do your current communication efforts look on a mobile phone? More people are using their phones to check email and surf the web, and this continues to grow as “78% of US email users will also access their emails via mobile by 2017” (Forrester Research, 2012). In fact, “43% of email is now opened on a mobile device” (Litmus, Email Analytics, 2012).
Jeremy emphasizes the importance of “taking the time and due diligence to make sure that the content that you’re creating looks good on a mobile device.” If you aren’t, less than half of your intended audience will see the message on a device that isn’t optimized for mobile use. The take-away here? Take the extra time and really focus on making your digital communications optimized for mobile.
4. Capturing subscribers during key contacts
Jeremy recommends taking an audit of all the customer touch points that you have with your citizens, and try to turn unhappy moments into a positive experience. For example, if someone is unhappy about missing a town meeting, instead of just giving them the next date, ask if they would like to get signed up for email alerts for all future meetings. Use various opportunities to capture subscribers.
Do you know the answer to this question? (Knowing the answer can be a powerful way to find out where you should be focusing your communication strategy.)
“What percentage of my audience within the last 90 days has seen any of my content?”
To find out how you can get this information, if you don’t have it, attend one of our stops on our 2013 Digital Communications Tour. We’re traveling to different cities nationwide to get the word out on best practices & trends in digital communication. Hear from public sector experts, providing insightful perspectives and strategies on government communications, and from your peers in government on their successful tactics and projects. Register today. Space is limited!