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Event Recap: Bring your Communications Strategy to the Next Level

No matter where you are on your digital engagement journey, working your way up the digital maturity curve can be challenging. You may know that it is important to take time to measure how your programs and campaigns are performing, check the quality of your messages, and identify ways to achieve greater engagement outcomes, but you may not know exactly how to do it all.

Fortunately, employing digital communications best practices to make your strategy more effective is not as hard as it sounds. Granicus’ recent Digital Engagement Training: Taking Your Communications to the Next Level offered key insights into how to build your digital communications strategy. During the training, Allison Hamilton, a Client Success Consultant at Granicus and John Simpson, a Digital Engagement Strategist at Granicus discussed how you can leverage digital communications best practices to enhance the citizen experience and drive engagement.

Enhancing the Citizen Experience

As the citizen expectations rise with the rapid evolution of technology, the citizen experience landscape is evolving as well. “As humans, we have an attention span of eight seconds,” Hamilton said. “What this means from a business perspective is that 70 percent of a customer’s experience is completed before you are aware that they’re attempting to engage with you.”

In addition to rising expectations, agencies are faced with a hiring slush, or the lack of urgency to hire and get offers out there even after the most recent hiring freeze was lifted. Hamilton explained, “Agencies are not hiring after this freeze because they are actively looking to reduce their workforces.”

This means that agency communications departments need to learn how to do more effective communications with less staff. One way to do this is leveraging Granicus’ tools. “We have a team that works as an extension of your staff so you don’t have to worry about adding staff to implement communications best practices,” Simpson said.

A few of these best practices include:

  • Measuring Success: Use metrics to go beyond drafting bulletins and start analyzing them to intelligently drive your content.
  • A/B Testing: Compare variables like subject lines and calls to action to see what works best with your audience and citizens to optimize a campaigns success.
  • Segmentation: Saving audiences based on interests will ensure you get the right message to the right people at the right time.
  • Offer SMS Content: Leveraging text messaging allows your agency to extend its reach and accelerate audience response while simplifying communications.
  • New Subscriber Welcome Campaigns: These campaigns allow you increase the likelihood of engagement by capitalizing on new subscribers.
  • Re-Engagement Campaigns: These campaigns aim to identify stale subscribers and re-engege them, improving overall subscriber health.
  • Text to Subscribe: Allowing users to subscribe from their mobile devices can increase the likelihood of engagement.

Case Studies

Department of Veterans Affairs. Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration wanted to grow their online platform, HealtheVet’s audience. “HealtheVet is an online health portal with 2.2 million users but many of them weren’t receiving updates about their health,” Simpson explained. “As a result, we helped them develop a strategy to target users that needed to receive these notifications so users could have access to more information that can help their health.” Through this campaign, the HealtheVet gained nearly 300,000 new subscribers, increasing the subscriber rate by 823 percent.

U.S. Department of Labor. DOL’s office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs also wanted to build greater awareness of their resources. Their campaigns focused on improving awareness about government worker protection programs. “In order to get these resources out to their audience, DOL ran a re-engagement campaign alongside a welcome campaign that let people know what resources were available to them,” Simpson said. Through these digital engagement efforts, the agency increased their overall engagement rate with their audience by eight percent.

U.S. Census Bureau. The Education and Training Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau wanted to make their data more accessible and specifically increase response rates for after action surveys they were distributing. “Through A/B testing, were able to determine what subject lines worked best and significantly increase open and click-through rates,” Simpson said.

Ready to start bringing your agency’s communications strategy to the next level? Take the Digital Engagement Strategy Assessment to start building an effective communications strategy today.