Social media is a great way to engage with your customers, but at the end of the day, it’s rented space. You’re at the mercy of the latest algorithm as to who is going to see your content. Cities and water utilities benefit from growing their email list. It’s a direct link to your customer. If you’re distributing consistent, quality content people are more likely to engage.
Communicating the value of water takes more than 240 characters. Cities can get creative with taglines, hashtags, and headlines to catch people’s initial attention on social media, but a fine-tuned newsletter is a vital touchpoint that directs people back to longer form content on the website. If the utility doesn’t have the bandwidth for its own newsletter, submit consistent material for the citywide one. Here are a few tips to ensure your newsletters make some waves.
Don’t forget to add your social follow buttons. According to SocialTimes, doing so can lift click rates by 150%. You want your customers to be able to find you on social media quickly. Tell them if you use specific platforms for certain types of content. For example, if you only use Twitter to report breaks and outages, let them know where to go to find that information. If you use Instagram to engage with students, tell them. Use a screenshot of your profile or a call-out in the body of the email to remind them to follow you.
Keep It Simple
You only have 3-4 seconds to grab your reader’s’ attention and interest them enough to read your email. Use minimal copy in the newsletter to maximize readability and to get them clicking through quicker. Use a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage engagement but stick to one. Don’t distract your customers by pulling them in too many different directions. Don’t get carried away with content. White space is your friend. White space keeps emails looking clean and polished.
Make a Good First Impression
Use a subject line that creates a sense of urgency. Subject lines that create a sense of urgency get 22% higher open rates. Are you trying to increase participation in your consumer lead test program? Make your CTA related to getting quick results. Do you have a lead service line replacement program? Use a CTA in the subject line that invites them to be a part of the solution. Offer information that is useful and relevant and gives them a CTA to engage. According to Litmus, 53% of email is now opened on a mobile device. All content should be designed with a mobile-first mindset.
Let’s Get Visual
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Break up content with images and big, bold call-to-action buttons. According to Hubspot, 65% of recipients prefer emails that contain mostly images. Use local photos to give your newsletter a community vibe and to keep the local flair.
If a Picture is Worth a 1000 Words…..
Video content isn’t just for the website. Embed short videos into your newsletters. For longer form videos, use a screen grab and link to the video. Use this as an opportunity to make 30-second snippets that show behind the scene footage or employee spotlights. Don’t think it can be done? Watch a commercial these days. Bumper ads on YouTube are only six seconds. Use them as inspiration to tell a piece of your story in six seconds or less! According to Emma Email Marketing, including a video in your email can boost open rates by 20% and increase click-through rates 2-3 times. It can also boost engagement as much as 300%.
Your email list belongs to you. It’s where you can really nurture and sustain your most prominent advocates. Remember that time is people’s most precious resource. Show you value their time by creating engaging content that is timely and relevant to them. Start building those relationships and establish yourself as the subject matter experts customers should come to first.