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  • Email marketing has become the most universally accessed digital communications channel after the internet. O2’s ‘Mobile life report’ 2013 shows that daily we spend nine minutes on email via a mobile device.
  • A cost effective communications channel – the majority of council customers have an email address, it reduces spend on print, face-to-face and telephone channels, it reduces internal staff time through increased automation and an easy to use interface. Improves customer satisfaction – it gives customers the choice whether to opt in or out of information, info is provided in bite sized chunks, info is provided in a timely way. Supports a centralised communications strategy – data is managed by one system rather than many, there is a consistent use of council brand guidelines. Supports a research based communications model – it is very easy to measure the success of communications and adapt accordingly.
  • Southampton

    1. 1. Southampton City Council The story of ‘Stay Connected’ 21.11.2013
    2. 2. Presentation contents • • • • • • Before and after – pre July 2012 and post July 2012 Why an email marketing system? Why GovDelivery? The journey it took to acquire an email marketing system The targets we set The outcomes we achieved Top tips if you are considering going on this journey
    3. 3. The Journey - Pre July 2012 • • • • • Relied on Outlook to send group emails. Service areas managed their individual email lists. No centralised management or segmentation. Did not de-dupe email addresses and had poor/inconsistent ways of managing un-subscribes. Unable to make email visually appealing due to email size limits. Did not know whether the information we sent was useful or read.
    4. 4. Post July 2012 • • • We have a branded e-alerts systems called ‘Stay Connected’ We have a total of 65,000 unique subscribers, 9,453 of which signed up via our website or the wider network, the remainder are uploads. Compares favourably against an average of 28,000 Daily Echo copies sold daily. We have 35 listed topics for the public to subscribe to. Over 3,766 people are subscribed to 6 or more alerts.
    5. 5. Post July 2012 • • • • • We have 10 private topics e.g. Safe City Partnership Bulletin, School Head Teachers Bulletin, Neighbourhood Watch Wardens News. We have a total of 125,329 subscriptions across both public and private lists. We have sent over 2.3 million emails since July 2012. We send out between 5 and 12 emails every week. We consistently achieve an open rate of between 25% - 60% for alerts (industry average is 5%).
    6. 6. Our most popular alerts • • • • • • • • Essential library service information (40,862 subscribers) Sustainable travel (8,197 subscribers) City events weekly update (7,253 subscribers) Culture Vulture (7,010 subscribers) Waste and recycling (4,784 subscribers) Community news and events (4,296 subscribers) Library news and events (3,521 subscribers) Local news update (3,420 subscribers)
    7. 7. Why an email marketing system? • • • • A cost effective communications channel Improves customer satisfaction Supports a centralised communications strategy Supports a research based communications model
    8. 8. Why GovDelivery? • • • The financial model work well for LAs – it is based on population not on number of licenses or on number of emails sent. The system allows automation with social media. The system focuses on getting you the highest number of subscribers by providing you access to the GovDelivery network with 2.8 million UK users.
    9. 9. The Journey • • • • • • Identified the need on arrival in post – gap in our comms mix. June 2011. Recommendation paper including audit of all existing email lists in scope. Nov 2011. Worked with Capita IT to do an options appraisal of systems that met our criteria. Consulted other LAs re their systems. Consulted staff sending regular group emails - created a ‘User Group’. Presented recommended option to Council Management Team. Conducted a 3-month pilot with GovDelivery.
    10. 10. The Journey • During the pilot we did research with customers and internal administrators.  • • • • • 66% of customers rated the service either good or excellent (another 25% rated it OK). 75% felt more informed about council services and many customers praised the start of such a service. Returned to Council Management Team to request funding for GovDelivery after the 3-month pilot. Worked with service areas to identify savings on print and design to pay for service. Gained agreement from Council Management Team to continue the service based on the funding coming from existing budgets. Dec 2012. Continual working with GovDelivery to improve the service. May 2013. August 2103 – tracker research
    11. 11. Aug 2013 Research • • • To help us make improvements to the service, we recently carried out a survey of subscribers (across all public topics), asking for their feedback on the service. 982 people responded compared to 677 last year. The respondents represent a wide range of age groups and subscribers from across the city and the wider region.
    12. 12. The Journey - Aug 2013 Research • • • A total of 81% of subscribers rated the service ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ which was a 15 percentage point-increase on previous year at 66%. In a similar vein the number of subscribers who felt more informed about council services because of Stay Connected rose by 16 percentage points from 75% (2012) to 91% (2013). 87% of the 2013 respondents also said they would recommend the Stay Connected service to a friend.
    13. 13. 58% of respondents were over the age of 50
    14. 14. A good spread across the city
    15. 15. Qualitative feedback “Excellent service that has helped me avoid closed roads already, and keeps me informed about cultural events. Keep up the good work.’’ Aug 2013 “It's a really convenient way to stay up to date with local news and developments; and I like the weekend what's on guide.” Aug 2013
    16. 16. Improvement points resulting from research feedback • • • • • • Send events related alerts earlier in the week Improve our cross-selling of alerts Refresh look and feel Reduce length of email introductions Stop sending Twitter round-up emails Look into sending out links to council meeting papers
    17. 17. Targets set Figures are cumulative from July 2012 start date Direct subscribers or via the GovDelivery network September 2012 PILOT July 2013 YR 1 July 2014 Y2 Target no. of subscribers 1,000 4,000 8,000 Actual no. of subscribers achieved 1,322 5,266 TBC 9,453 already by November 2013
    18. 18. Outcomes • • • Centralised data - uploaded 66,492 email addresses from across the council. Increased automation – we pull from our news RSS feed for the ‘Local news’ alert. Better understanding of our effectiveness - we track open rates (unique and total), click-throughs, bouncebacks, unsubscribes, and shares.
    19. 19. Outcome – creation of a recognisable brand
    20. 20. Outcomes • By talking to customers via Stay Connected we have:  Created an integral comms channel for the organisation and our partners  Reduced spend on print  Increased automation - via our press RSS feed  Increased awareness of events, increased participation in consultations and research  More frequent comms during times of crisis  Created a product which can be sponsored
    21. 21. • • • • • • • • • • • • My Top Tips Get Director, Head of Service and Cllr buy in. Use internal ambassadors to sell the channel to other teams. Involve your design team in branding and have a good stock of images. Make alerts consistent and visually appealing. Get the balance right between what you put in the alert and what you ask people to click through to. Train one member of your team up as a super-user. Set up a sign off process. Prompt subscribers regularly to sign up to other alerts. Provide subscribers with incentives to engage. Use adverts on alerts to cross-sell council services. Create visually appealing buttons to encourage click-throughs. Market the e-alerts service. Link to the sign up page in as many places as possible via your website and via partner websites.
    22. 22. THANK YOU