Email Marketing1


We asked Lynette Dixon our Digital Communications Manager how to develop your own email marketing strategy:

  1. What are things that sometimes inhibit a communications team from using email marketing more effectively?

    Capacity. We are all invariably being asked to do more with less. But with email marketing, often we already have the tools available – just not the time to utilise them properly. Most email marketing software will have things like A/B testing and automation included. If we can invest a bit more time to understand what is possible, we can get a lot more bang for our buck with email. Especially because these tools are often not cheap. 

    Also, inspiration. There are lots of organisations out there doing great things with email. By sharing examples of good practice and case studies, we can improve how we use email across the sector.

  2. Do you have any tips for how a communication team can increase their distribution list?

    Think about the user experience of signing up to your list. First, is it easy to find? Think about the placement of your sign-up form on your website. Some email marketing tools allow you to place an overlay on your website. This can be a great way to capture new subscribers, but some IT teams are against these pop-ups – so always check with them first. Also think about how you can capture specific audiences. For example, if you have a waste and recycling mailing list, you could place a specific call to action on those webpages on your site. You could also include the link on any customer forms you have, such as reporting a missed collection or ordering new recycling bins/boxes. 

    Second, do you ask the questions you need without making the form too long? Don’t be afraid to include questions on your form to capture the data you need like postcode or ward. But having too many fields might put people off completing the form. 

    Third, have you let people know what to expect? Provide details on how often you will send them updates and the types of content you will share.

    Fourth, get the word out as far as you can! Share the link on your social media platforms regularly and if you are launching a new distribution list, think about how you can use your other lists like your weekly e-newsletter to encourage more sign ups. 

    Fifth: Make the benefits of sign-up relatable and appealing. Asking people to “sign-up to a council e-newsletter” isn’t going to excite people. Asking people if they are interested in finding out when their bin collection day changes, when roadworks are happening, or when someone is planning to build next door is much more interesting… as long as you can ensure the information is accessible via your e-newsletter.

    Also, a quick note on single versus double opt-in. With double opt-in, an individual signs -up to emails through a form on your website but before they are added to the mailing list, an email is returned to their inbox with a verification link which must be clicked for them to be successfully subscribed. This may mean you build your lists more slowly, but it will ensure you are only capturing good- quality email addresses from real people and that no one can be added to your list without their consent. 

  3. What is a good open rate/click- through rate and is there any else that should be evaluated?

    According to Granicus’ 2022 Public Sector Digital Communications Benchmarking Report, the median open rate for organisations in the UK is 37%, with the top 20% getting an average open rate of 45%. The median click rate in the UK is 4.5%, or 9% for the top 20%. This will depend on the age of your mailing list. You should see much higher open and click rates for newer lists as subscribers have opted in more recently and have a desire to consume that content. Legacy lists may see lower rates. To keep your data clean and engagement rates high, I’d recommend automating a re-engagement email campaign that runs on your most-used mailing lists just to nudge any sleepy subscribers to engage, unsubscribe if they no longer want to hear from you or subscribe to any of your other lists instead if that content would be more useful to them.

  4. How can teams make use of email marketing for campaigns?

    There are so many opportunities to integrate email into your campaign work. You can use email for everything from internal and external communications to behaviour change and awareness campaigns. When using email as part of a campaign, think about what your audience already knows about your organisation or campaign and what you need to tell them to get them to your desired point, whether that’s being more informed about services or completing a desired action. Also think about what data you will need to segment your audience effectively. You can then build out what messages will be most relevant for each segment. For example, if you are doing a physical activity campaign, you could include questions such as how much exercise they are currently doing each week and if they have any mobility issues. You can then design messages that are relevant to where they are at in their moving more journey that are considerate of what they will be able to do. 

  5. What is email automation and how can it be used?

    Put simply, email automation allows you to trigger emails in response to subscriber activity. For example, you could send an email to subscribers who have not opened or clicked on your weekly newsletter within the last 60 days or trigger a welcome campaign when someone joins your mailing list to give them a series of useful information about your organisation. This can be great for external and internal communications. 

    Email automation removes the need for someone to manually send out the same message on a regular basis. So, whilst it might take more time to set up than a singular email, in the long-term it will save you time as well as improveing the user experience for the subscriber by giving them a timelier and more personalised experience, and ultimately will help you drive better engagement with your email marketing activity.  

  6. Does timing matter when it comes to sending emails out?

    Absolutely! The timing of your email is crucial. There are a couple of things I would recommend to help fine-tune the timing of your emails. First, make use of A/B testing. Most email marketing software will have this built in. You can use A/B testing to find the best send times and days for your audience. This involves sharing the exact same message at different times to enable you to see the best response rate.  And make sure you don’t let personal bias interfere. Trust the results. 

    I would also recommend considering the user experience when determining when you should send out your email message and if it is an automated campaign, think about what action they are taking to trigger that email. For example, if they have signed up to your leisure service emails, you might wish to delay sending them their first email until your customer phone line is open in case they wish to enquire about membership or bookings. However, if they have signed up to your stop smoking email campaign, you might want to send them their first email straight away as it is fresh in their mind, and they likely have the time at in that moment to review your content. Subscriber experience is key!


Want to learn how to develop your own email marketing strategy?

Join Lynette to discover how to get the most out of your email marketing software to target different audiences and automate content.

Want to learn how to develop your own email marketing strategy? Through the use of case study examples, let us show you how to enhance your own email marketing strategy by moving away from using it only as a broadcast tool.

Lynette will show you how to use email as a campaigning tool where you can target different audiences in different ways while automating content.

Course Takeaways:  

  1. You will learn how to build your subscriber lists
  2. You will be able to create engaging and optimised templates
  3. You will understand how to segment your audience and tailor your content so it is highly relevant to the subscriber
  4. You will discover how to personalise your emails to your audience to improve user experience and engagement rates
  5. You will learn how to automate emails based on subscriber activity

This course is for:

Anyone looking to improve their use of email marketing for business-as-usual or campaign activity, particularly campaign managers or those in charge of corporate email marketing.

Sign up now

About the trainer: 

Lynette Dixon is Westco’s Senior Digital Communications Manager. She started her career in global media and events centred around sustainable development. During her time at Westco, she has specialised in using digital communications to engage with different audiences. Lynette focusses on strategic digital campaigns, social media management, content strategy and email marketing/automation. 


Lynette Dixon_01-1


How to get the most out of your email marketing software to target different audiences and automate content.


If you would like to get in touch, use our nifty form below.

Get in Touch


Contact Us