Digital Engagement Series: Engage then re-engage

You have tackled organizational goal setting, audience development, branding, audience acquisition, multi-channel marketing, and next you need to identify areas where you can gain greater awareness and participation to drive value for your organization and the citizens you serve.

Audience engagement (and re-engagement) is a leading goal for public-sector communicators. But, engagement doesn’t always come easy. Whether you are able to prompt action at first, or later down the line, here are some tips to increase engagement through digital marketing.


Your audience is most apt to perform an action upon initial sign up. On average, subscribers are four times more likely to open a welcome email and five times as likely to click through it than communication sent later down the line. Here are three ways to get your audience more engaged right off the bat:

  1. The “Welcome” Email: This is the very first email sent out and it sets the stage for any communication moving forward. It should include a personalized welcome, brief email copy that shares a message about your organization, and most importantly a call to action. If you need inspiration, check out these “21 Welcome Emails to Inspire Your Lifecycle Marketing”.
  2. The “What’s New” Email: This type of email promotes new information about your organization. Here’s an example of a well-crafted “what’s new email”.
  3. Surveys: Involve your audience in your communications process and gain insight into their likes and dislikes through surveys. Check out our post, “Top 6 Survey Best Practices” to help you along in the process.

Audience Re-engagement

First there is the honeymoon period where your audience is receptive to everything you say, then engagement dwindles. Don’t take it personally, it happens to every organization… But, do something about it!

This is where re-engagement should occur: a communications tactic where you identify an inactive audience who hasn’t performed a specific action, and communicate with them by promoting new or relevant information.

Subscribers stop engaging for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it relates to email frequency, relevance of email content, or even a time factor on the receivers’ end. Whatever the reason, re-engagement campaigns afford the opportunity to remind your inactive subscribers why they were interested in your organization in the first place.

Here are some ways to re-engage your audience:

“We Miss You” Email: Identify inactive audience members who haven’t opened or clicked on a message. Often referred to as “win-back” emails, this type of email is a lot easier and more effective than acquiring a new subscriber.

Abandon Cart: Abandoned cart emails are sent to audience members who have performed a specific action, but never converted. Treat abandon cart-ers with respect, as they are also high converters. According to SaleCycle, nearly half of all abandoned cart emails are opened and over a third of clicks lead to actions taken back on their websites.

With “win-back” and abandon cart emails, follow these pointers when creating your template:

  • Personalize your salutation.
  • Remind the subscriber what they’ve abandoned.
  • Create simple copy that prompts an action and creates a sense of urgency.
  • Remind them how important they are to your organization.
  • Include code to support rich multimedia assets.

By effectively targeting your unengaged subscribers with a well-timed strategic message, you can renew your vows and avoid the unsubscribe.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the public engagement through digital marketing series, which dives deeper into marketing automation.

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