Over the last few years there’s been a mad scramble to get people liking, following and engaging with their local council on social media.
It’s not difficult to argue that social media has proved to be a great tool for localgov comms especially – with councils up and down the country having thousands of followers on the various social networking platforms.
Social offers councils a platform to get in touch with residents, visitors, and businesses easily but how does it compare with (what some might say) the old fashioned (but trusty) channel of email?
I’ve been looking at the audience numbers of a few of our customers’ email marketing accounts, and it’s really interesting to see just how many people are subscribed to council email updates, and that’s even after the GDPR list hygiene checks some councils undertook!
Even better, compare those email subscriber figures with the councils’ follower numbers on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for example) and you might be surprised…
I know it’s not a fight – each channel has its purpose and works with the other channels to help bring the council’s vision to life, providing easy access to public services and answers to customers’ needs. But, there is a clear winner.
In terms of audience reach, email knocks social media out of the park.
Snapshot from a handful of our customers in the West Midlands:
Yes, that’s right: there are more people signed up for email updates from their local council than ALL of their social media followers added together. For instance, 756% more people are subscribed to Wolverhampton Council’s email updates (delivered using the GovDelivery Communications Cloud by Granicus) than are following the council on Twitter.
If you’re not currently growing a large network of email subscribers, then you’re missing out. The demand from local people for bitesize service- and topic-specific email updates is strong.
As a great example, just look at what they’ve done in Wolverhampton. Their email subscriber base size is equivalent to 59% of their population. Nearly 150,000 people are signed up to receive email updates from the council. So if you want to reach large numbers, don’t ignore email.
People expect you to be offering a digital communications service that directly meets their needs and interests, and targeted email marketing can service those needs and deliver impressive returns on investment for your organisation.
Metrics to support your business case for email
Optinmonster recently published some research that highlights how embedded email is in our everyday lives – over and above social media – and why you can’t afford to neglect this channel. Here are some interesting metrics which will help you make the business case for a proper email marketing solution:
|Total number of users||2.6 billion||1.7 billion||313 million|
|First online “check” of the day||58%||11%||2%|
|Use this channel at least daily||91%||57%||14%|
|Prefer this channel for permission-based promotional messages||77%||4%||1%|
|Most frequently used channel for personal messages||45%||12%||0%|
|Users check here for a deal from a company they know||44%||4%|
|Users who made a purchase as the result of a marketing message from this channel||66%||20%||6%|
|Inbox placement rate / organic reach||79%||1-6%||<1-30%|
|Open / click-through / engagement rate||18% OR / 3.7% CTR||0.07%||0.03%|
|Distribution of global content sharing activities||4%||57%||18%|
|Delivers an excellent ROI||21%||15%|
|Customer lifetime value||+12%||+1%||-23%|
|Ownership||Full ownership||Account can be terminated||Account can be terminated|
As you can see, email marketing is more effective than social media across the board, with just one exception – sharing – but that’s hardly surprising.
Public sector email marketing outperforms other sectors
Snapshot from 2018/19 Granicus Email Marketing Benchmarks and Best Practices (to be published Sept 2018)
It’s also worth noting that public sector email marketing outperforms all other sectors in terms of audience engagement rates. We’re helping our customers at all levels of local and central government use email marketing strategically to support outcome-focused programmes. With resources like Granicus’ Email Marketing Benchmarks and Best Practices guide (due to be launched later this month at the Digital Engagement Summit), public sector organisations using the GovDelivery Communications Cloud can compare their performance with similar organisations and refine their comms to achieve better returns on investment.
Let’s get started
Get in touch today for a chat about how to start building a large audience for email and/or SMS marketing. We’ll help you keep more people informed and able to access the services that make their lives easier.