If you work in government communications, you’re probably familiar with GovDelivery. This digital platform, built by Granicus, uses citizen engagement technologies to help government agencies connect with public audiences more easily and effectively.
But with the high volume of digital communications that bombard readers daily, how can you increase the likelihood that they will read your GovDelivery email newsletter or bulletin? An optimal user experience can translate into higher open rates, more link clicks and fewer unsubscribes. To keep your audience reading your content and coming back for more, try these five tips based on best practices collected by our GovDelivery expert, Kaitlin Schneck.
Keep it short, relevant and catchy.
Keep your email text short and put the most important information first. Although newsletters tend to be longer and contain more information than bulletins or alerts, Constant Contact found that emails of about 200 words, or 20 lines, yield the highest email clickthrough rates for most industries. Text in subject lines and headlines should be short, catchy and make it obvious to readers what the email is about. Avoid question marks, exclamation marks or emojis in subject lines, which could potentially flag email as spam. Text in the “From” line should help readers recognize the agency or source of the email.
Make them look good on all digital devices.
Select or design email templates that will look good on mobile or other digital devices and accommodate both easy reading and scanning, since many users scan emails before deciding whether to read them more carefully. Use these user-friendly guidelines for templates:
Align body text left to make content more readable.
Include one or two of the agency’s branding colors in the email’s header and footer to separate them from the body text.
Use enough white space to make the email more visually appealing and easier to read.
Draw attention to your content.
Including eye-catching images and interesting graphics helps attract readers and encourages them to engage with your content. Use graphics and images that support your content and bring it to life. Add your client’s brand logo at the top of each email. Logos should be PNG files, while images should be JPEG files. Granicus offers the following tips:
Include alternative text (alt-text) that describes the image if a subscriber’s email provider blocks graphics; also add alt text to the title of your image.
Avoid background images — many email clients don’t support them.
Don’t make your entire email one large image (like a flyer). If your audience receives the email in plain text, they won’t get the whole message.
Don’t embed videos in the email. Use a thumbnail image that links to the location hosting the video online.
Don’t get too fancy.
Web-safe fonts are less likely to be altered due to a subscriber’s device not supporting them. To avoid spam filters, use no more than two different fonts in your email and:
Keep font size consistent and in proportion to images.
Use web-safe standard fonts, such as Arial, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, Verdana and Times New Roman.
The maximum font size for email body text is 18pt and the maximum for headlines is 36pt.
Certain font styles have different minimum font sizes: for instance, 12pt for Arial and 10pt for Verdana.
Timing is everything.
The best days to send your GovDelivery emails to subscribers are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. According to HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company, these days yield the highest engagement. Optimal times to send emails are 6 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m. or 8 p.m. Eastern Time. These times target readers who open their email when they wake up, take breaks at work and before they go to bed.
For more best practices and email design tips, see The Granicus Guide to Public Sector Email Design.