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Behind the Envelope: 6 Easy Ways to Increase Your Subscribers

Welcome to the second installment of Behind the Envelope, a new series of posts exploring ways for you to get the most from Granicus. To kick off the series, we covered the GovDelivery Network. Today we’re telling you about all the ways you can increase the number of citizens subscribing to your topics.

Increase Your Subscribers. Increase Your Effectiveness.

One of the advantages of using email as a primary communication tool is the ability to feel confident your message will reach the audience. Compared to social media, there is no need to worry about the decline of organic reach or needing to “pay to play.” Your message will get delivered and the larger audience you have, the better chance you have at keeping people informed and engaged. That’s why it’s always important to capture subscribers whenever you can.

With that in mind, here are six simple ideas to increase your subscriber numbers.

  1. Add an Overlay to Your Site

A mainstay on commercial websites for years, government has been slow to adopt them. They work and they’re one of the number one things we recommend. Trust us. We love them so much we’ve been trumpeting their benefit  for several years.

Think about it. There’s a reason so many commercial sites have overlays on their site. They work. Heck, even McDonald’s (yes, that McDonald’s) has an overlay on their site. Built correctly, overlays don’t need to be a nuisance that irritates citizens. Check out our support page where we go in-depth on understanding, planning and implementing them.

  1. Include a Link with Your Social Icons

Visit just about any website and you’ll see a grouping of social icons:

The practice is so common, that people are conditioned to look for the social icon cluster when they visit your site and want to connect. But too many times we see just the usual suspects like Facebook and Twitter. Since citizens are conditioned to look for the cluster when they want to connect, why not include an email option as well?

  1. Save Email a Seat on the Carousel

Does your website have a carousel or slider? It’s a set of rotating images/stories right in the middle of your home page. If your site does have a carousel, devote one of your slides to letting people know how they can stay connected. Here’s an excellent example from the Oklahoma Insurance Department promoting their email, social, RSS and app.


  1. Take Better Advantage of the GovDelivery Network

The GovDelivery Network and its ability to cross promote your information is one of the best things about being a GovDelivery client. Part of the cross promotion functionality is the ability to highlight a small group of topics. We call it Featured Content.

If you’re always highlighting the same 4-5 topics (admit it, your newsletter and press release topics are always featured), it’s time to start rotating topics in and out of those coveted spots on a seasonal or newsworthy basis. Want to learn more about this? Check out our post about the Network.


  1. Include Subscription Links on Internal Web Pages

It’s typical for people to focus on grabbing real estate on the home page whenever they’re promoting an effort, but don’t forget to place subscription links on your most popular internal pages. Here’s an example from my hometown baseball team, the Minnesota Twins. If I visit their home page, I see an option to subscribe to their newsletter.

But if I’m specifically looking to see when I can attend a game and search for ‘Twins schedule’ and the search results bring me directly to their schedule page, there’s no such subscription option for me. Reach out to your webmaster and ask them what your site’s top ten trafficked internal pages are and make sure there’s an option to subscribe on each of them.

Bonus tip: If you’re ever thinking your topics need a refresh, a great starting point is comparing the content on your high-traffic web pages against the content you’re offering for subscription.

  1. Cross Promote With Social

Don’t forget to use your social accounts to promote email subscription. A simple tweet or post can help make citizens aware of the option to subscribe to email updates. Promotion via your social channels can be valuable considering many citizens may never visit your website. If you’re using a social media management tool, scheduling a tweet or post on a regular basis is a simple way to increase awareness. If you don’t want to schedule them on a regular basis, tweets or posts can be sent when the news has been slow or you’re due to post.

Here’s an example of a tweet from Harford County, MD:

…and a post example from the Florida Department of Children and Families:

Sometimes we get so caught up in the content of our emails that it’s easy to forget we need to make sure it’s easy for citizens to subscribe. Making time to implement some or all of these ideas will keep you audience growth on an upward trend and ultimately give you a better chance of positively affecting the communities you serve.