Email Marketing

Ten ways that public sector e-marketing can be improved

Ten ways that public sector e-marketing can be improved

Over the past two decades, Swift Digital has collaborated successfully with the public sector and government of Australia.

Ten ways that public sector e-marketing can be improved

They have collaborated with many departments over the course of this time to assist them in sending newsletters and emails that are engaging, effective, and meet key performance indicators (KPIs).

With the help of Swift Digital’s design and deliverability team, Production and Onboarding Manager Kimberley Key, here are the top ten design, layout, and email deliverability tips for a successful government newsletter.

1. Design & Layout

The public sector uses email newsletters daily to communicate with external and internal stakeholders; it is one of the most common communicative methods used.

To create a newsletter that is going to be opened and read, there are some key newsletter design and layout fundamentals to consider:

● Always use a header – Newsletters are electronic newspapers and need a header. It is best to feature your logo in your header so the user knows exactly who their newsletter/email is from.
● Use imagery and graphics – Use good-quality images and graphics in your newsletter and emails to break up the text and make it more digestible.
● Mobile responsive design – Create your design with mobile in mind. Simplify the layout, make sure your buttons are large enough to be clicked, and optimise images so they can be downloaded
● Padding and spacing – Be mindful of padding and spacing in your newsletters to break up text and emphasise sections and headings.

2. Government fonts

Pick a font that won’t distract your readers from your newsletter. Most government departments usually have approved fonts in the brand guidelines that have been carefully selected to suit the Australian government email. We’ve got a couple of tips when it comes to selecting fonts:

● Email Safe Fonts – Email-friendly or safe fonts are most commonly found across most computers, software, browsers and email clients.
● Best Font Size – The body text is generally between 14-18px, and the header is 20-26px.

3. Government colours

Colours can portray meaning, emotion, attitude, stance, and associations and should be considered carefully when designing your Australian government emails and newsletters. If you have government brand/style guidelines, it is best to use these as a guide for consistency.

● Text Colours – A newsletter’s body text is usually off-black or dark
● CTAs and Buttons – Call-to-action (CTAs) buttons should stand out against your text and background
● Link Colours – These should also be eye-catching, especially if you want your reader to click on them
● Backgrounds – Backgrounds in your newsletter should usually remain light, white is the best for readability and screen readers

4. Content and storytelling

Content builds relationships, relationships build trust, and trust drives revenue and connection.


Storytelling is an important part of government emails and public sector communication, and building trust should be at the forefront of any government communication.

A good newsletter can be scanned easily, keeps the most important information at the top, is clear and succinct and is written with the audience in mind.

5. Email testing and deliverability

Government agencies aren’t immune to email deliverability issues. To maximise inbox placement and to ensure emails land in the inbox of their citizens and stakeholders, the Australian government works alongside email service providers (ESPs) like Swift Digital to ensure they have key email deliverability components in place including Subdomain, Sending Domain, DKIM, SPF, DMARC and SSL.

Having these email deliverability components in place not only improves inbox placement and helps you to avoid spam traps and junk folders, but also improves the privacy and security of your emails.

6. Core engagement metrics

Just like the private sector, the public sector wants to be able to measure the success of its emails and newsletters. We’ve cherry-picked the ten most important email and newsletter metrics you should be monitoring:

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
2. Click Through to Open Rate (CTOR)
3. Open Rate
4. Unsubscribe Rate
5. Number of Bounced
6. Successful Forwards
7. Poll Results
8. Email Deliverability
9. Engagement Score
10. Activity by Module

7. Email accessibility

When it comes to the government e-newsletters, there is a standard for email accessibility whereby your email and newsletters should be able to be read and understood by all, include people with disability, the elderly and people who may struggle with digital services.

All government departments and organisations require their emails, newsletters and web content to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act and WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

To ensure your email service provider designs and builds emails that comply with accessibility and WCAG 2.0, ask them to run them through an accessibility test.

8. Email server reputation

An email server’s reputation is a score that an ISP gives to an organisation that sends an email. It is often an area of email deliverability that gets overlooked, especially within the public sector. Government organisations must monitor and enforce good practices to ensure their email server reputation score remains good and the recipient receives their important email communications.

Some ways to monitor and improve your score are:

● Regular list hygiene
● Monitor email delivery, particularly bounce rates and codes
● Add double opt-in to subscription preference options, this will act as an email validation
● Use a dedicated IP and implement a warm-up plan

In the email world, your sender reputation speaks volumes. After all, what’s the point in spending hours, even days (maybe weeks!) crafting an email or newsletter for it to land straight in the reader’s junk?

9. Branded theme and styles

It’s super important for Australian departments and organisations to ensure that their brand guidelines are strictly adhered to and upheld. In some cases, they are more stringent than the private sector.

One way to ensure that you and your team are all singing from the same hymn sheet is to have a theme and a selection of styles set up within your email marketing platform based on your department’s brand guidelines.

Having a theme and styles to choose from will ensure that the brand colours, fonts and styles are locked in and used correctly when sending out your emails and communications. This leaves little room for brand mishaps when publishing.

10. Privacy and security

The Australian government have their own set of rules and regulations regarding the security and privacy of emails, newsletters and communications when using an email marketing platform. These include:

● With Australian Government email, email newsletters must comply with the Spam Act 2003
● You must get a person’s permission before adding them to your subscriber database
● Users must opt-in to receive your newsletter and agree to your collection notice
● Using approved suppliers like NSW ICT Services Registered Supplier List and Victorian Government Services Register App
● Australian hosted data
● Regular penetration testing
● Enterprise data centre security

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