It’s no secret that your agency needs to have high digital communication engagement rates to be effective in promoting your services and programs.
But sometimes the way to get your audience to engage with you isn’t clear.
We’re here to tell you that there is a way to find out how to raise engagement rates. In GovDelivery’s recent webinar, “20 Tips to Boost Your Engagement,” John Simpson, a Digital Engagement Specialist at GovDelivery, gave great tips any agency can use to get better engagement immediately.
Simpson’s tips fit into a few different categories: Strategic Planning, Finding Your Audience Personas, Content Best Practices, and Growing Your Audience.
Tips 1-6: define your strategy and goals; leverage existing resources; test for best practices; integrate with other channels; connect the user experience; and measure your outcomes, all exist on a high-level, strategic plane.
Simpson said the most important part of any plan to improve engagement is to know your overall strategy and goals for your organization. That way every email or tweet or Facebook post will be geared towards those goals in some way and help you improve.
After you’ve defined your goals and how to reach them, you can leverage existing content — like printed content or banners — to incorporate into your digital communication templates. Once you have those templates made, test them. With A/B testing you can make sure your subject lines, images, and calls to action are making people want to check out what you have to say.
Finally, spread your message through multiple channels to make sure you’re hitting each segment of your audience and then measure the outcomes you get. If things aren’t working, make changes and measure again.
Finding Your Audience Personas
Tips 7-13: know your audience; personalize content; use relatable imagery; engage on their level; reach them where they are; segment your audience; and gather stories and feed back, are all steps related to personalizing your content for your audience, which can be a powerful tool in boosting engagement.
Knowing your audience can be tricky, but using online forms to gather information makes it easier to put your citizens into personas, or types of people that will read your content. Once you know those personas, segment your audience into smaller send lists to make sure you are giving the right people the information they really want.
Next, make sure your content reflects each persona’s values and interests by using imagery that reflects your message and is relatable for the audience you’re contacting. When you do send your messages, make sure you’re reaching your audience where they are. If that means sending a text, make all content SMS friendly, if that means emails, send out emails, but don’t use communication channels your audience doesn’t interact with.
Finally, ask citizens for direct feedback and stories about their experiences with your organization. Nothing helps build a relationship more than sharing personal experiences.
Content Best Practices
Tips 14-17: Focus their attention; focus on the value; illustrate your point; and prioritize the call to action, all describe how engaging content is composed.
When you are writing content, make sure there is clear direction for what the reader is supposed to do. If they are supposed to click through to sign up for an event, say that in a clear way with an image or clickable button. You can illustrate that point further with other relevant images or a small amount of content, but be sure to keep the call to action as top priority. No matter how you compose your message, make sure you communicate the value the reader will get for clicking through.
Growing Your Audience
Tips 18-20: activate new audiences; invigorate existing audiences; and grow a targeted audience, are all things you should do once you see engagement start taking off.
Simpson said the best way to activate a new audience is to keep feeding them new information or giving them something to do once they have signed up to receive your communications. But be sure to do the same for your existing audience. It’s possible, if you don’t give them the information they need, they will unsubscribe. And when you have a new project or program, reach out to a new segment of people to grow another targeted audience.
Although we can give you 20 tips to help boost your engagement, there is no secret to success. Keep practicing each one of these tips and making changes to continue improving your engagement rates.
If you need help measuring your engagement, Simpson said a great tool is Google Analytics. And if your staff is already busy, we can help. “(The Digital Engagement Services team is) an extension of your team and we want to work hard to figure out how to move the needle for you,” Simpson said.
For more information, or help implementing these tips at your agency, contact us.