The VA found comprehensive growth and engagement capabilities in the same tool that had helped Harman’s digital team expand their subscriber base previously: govDelivery. The My HealtheVet portal first employed govDelivery as part of a campaign that grew their mailing lists from 30,000 to 500,000 subscribers after a website redesign.
Now Harman found that by leveraging Google Analytics and online survey results with the capabilities of the govDelivery platform, his team could not only better understand what type of content connected with subscribers, but better engage with those readers, ultimately attracting more subscribers.
“By digging into Google Analytics data and responses from short online surveys, we were able to find real gems in the comments and topics,” said Harman. “Getting metrics is important. But being able to use actionable data to pivot on strategy and the content that we provide makes an even bigger difference.”
Creating and identifying personas is a common part of marketing efforts at many different companies. By working with customer data, marketers are able to create a profile of a “typical” user in each of the audience segments. For the My HealtheVet team, the additional aspect of military service presented unique demographic segments to factor into their strategy, bringing generational and experiential differences that could impact what messaging resonated with readers.
“One of our goals was to identify what is relevant to our audiences, and know the attitudes of each of the demographics, while balancing that with agency priorities,” said Harman. “It was important for us to know what our audiences liked about us. Then we had to make sure we were consistent in the messaging and that balance. ”
That balance of survey information, as well as real-time and historical data from the govDelivery system, helped Harman’s team identify new topic areas to introduce in both their content and newsletter topics, as well as identify ways to improve their content for better user engagement. Agency priorities such as suicide prevention and access to VA care were balanced with health care topics that ranked high in audience feedback.
That approach to timeliness and flexibility is something that Harman said was critical to creating content that encouraged increased engagement from audiences.
“You can modify or alter the intent of your message based on what experience and past data has shown,” he said. “And, later, we can review data that highlights opportunities we may have missed that can be applied in future communications. We’re at that point now where we know what will and won’t fly and can determine the best way to convey an intended message.”