How Asthma UK revamped their email program to deepen engagement

The Challenge

Asthma affects all agesAsthma UK works to stop asthma attacks and, ultimately, cure asthma by funding world-leading research and scientists, campaigning for change and supporting people with asthma to reduce their risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

Asthma UK has a huge untapped warm audience in the 2 million+ visitors to their eco-system each year. To put into context the size of the opportunity there are 5.4 million people with asthma translating to 1 in 5 households affected by asthma.

Asthma UK invested heavily in digital channels and stronger content to reach and engage with and grow engagement amongst people affected by asthma. As part of this, they built an email list of almost 40,000 supporters however conversion from signing up to receive email communications to becoming financial supporters remained low and open rates and click-through rates were in decline.

The Solution

Couple staying activeAsthma UK recognized that to deepen engagement with supporters they needed to review the supporter experience. This involved:

  • Stopping the monthly newsletter which had relied on a ‘batch and blast’ approach and introducing relevant and targeted communications that took supporters on a journey.
  • Moving from a double opt-in to single opt-in approach making it easier for people to sign up to hear more from the organisation.
  • Learning more about supporters and their connection to the cause and asking for this information at the point of signing up for the newsletter so they could receive an automated welcome series linked to their motivation.
  • Recognising that value needed to be added through the provision of useful and relevant content based around seasonal trends. In-house Dr. Andy started sending emails on how to use an inhaler, how to stay active with asthma and offering tips on how to stop the cold weather making asthma worse. They also launched ‘Research Uncovered’ a fun and interactive journey into the world of asthma research.
  • Revising the number of financial asks that were made of a supporter. The team worked to a ratio of three non-financial communications to every financial ask in order to ensure engagement was the priority.
  • Introducing action led supporter journeys. This involved the principle of having only one message and one action being conveyed in a single email. For example, ‘sign our petition to stop unfair asthma prescription charges’, or ‘send a letter to your MP’.

The Results

In just over a year the Asthma UK email list has doubled in size to 90,000.
General email comms CTR had increased to 2.97% and open rates averaged 26.79%, whilst the new audience-focused welcome series had average CTR of 8.87% and open rates of 40.63%.
Additionally, 19,032 number of people had shared their connection to Asthma UK. And, the Asthma Research Uncovered crowdfunding campaign raised over £5,000 in the first two months.
Our job is to firstly make sure that people with asthma are getting the help and support they need. We truly believe that if we provide a great experience and show how we are here to help them, this will be reciprocated so we can continue to advance our progress in beating asthma. This engagement first approach is something we are committed to and while early results are promising we believe this will ultimately increase the overall value of our fundraising portfolio in the longer term. – Joe Aldrich Senior Acquisition Manager at Asthma UK

At Engaging Networks, we take pride in serving and working with our community of clients to help make this world a better place. Many thanks to Asthma UK for sharing this case study. To learn more about Asthma UK visit their website or watch the video below.

Chloe Green is a copywriter and digital campaigner with almost a decade of experience in the charity and political sectors. She’s delivered campaigns, copy and consultancy for a raft of good eggs including Anthony Nolan, the National Union of Students, St Mungo’s, and Hillary for America. She was Social Media Manager at the Labour Party between 2016–2019 and now she’s Head of Creative with the lovely team at Forward Action. She leads on fundraising emails, UX copy, and all creative facilitation. She’s an expert in email list growth, digital strategy, organic and paid-for social media, and digital mobilisation.

Rachel founded the specialist charity web agency, Rechord, in 1999. Between 1999 and 2012 they created hundreds of different web applications for organisations in the UK and internationally.
In 2013 she became the 'Donor Whisperer' and focused on helping small to medium-sized non-profits to reach new donors and activists and from there increase their income. She uses a unique process that combines the benefits of consultancy with capacity building.
Her clients include Traidcraft Exchange, the Overseas Development Institute, Jubilee Debt Coalition, the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales, Tax Justice UK, The Canary, Humanity and Inclusion, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, BRACE, New Family Social, Arseh Sevom - and that's just the last year.
She also feels weird writing about herself in the third person.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Hannah is Senior Campaigns Officer at the MS Society, working on their local campaigning programme, Local Action for MS and also on social care and carers. She’s worked at the MS Society for a year and a half, and was previously at the MND Association and National Voices.

Executive Director of C6 Digital, London based agency

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Having gotten his start organizing with anti-war veterans and working as Sala Labs, Sales Engineer, and Partner Manager, Bryan now brings his expertise to non-profit and mission-driven clients as 4Site Studios Director of Digital Strategy. Specializing in challenging and complex projects, Bryan works with each client to craft holistic approaches tailored to goals, budget, and outcomes.

Mary Margaret Callahan is the Chief Mission Officer for Pet Partners, where she is responsible for leading mission delivery including the therapy animal program and grassroots advocacy program. She joined Pet Partners in 2013 and has worked to establish the organization as both an influencer and a resource within the animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and human-animal bond (HAB) community. In 2018 she was named one of PetAge Magazine’s Women of Influence. Mary Margaret lives on a small farm outside Seattle with her husband, daughter and menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats and miniature donkeys.

Joe Derry Hall is a freelancer working on creative digital and communications. His interests include tech innovation, upending power and reimagining different futures. Joe has been the winner of a Mozilla Creative Media Award and the joint winner of a BAFTA digital award. He was previously in-house in campaigning and communications roles at Amnesty International, the Climate Coalition, the Ecocide campaign, Save the Children, Scope and others. He is one of the initiators of Right Way Up, an experiment to create a radical, practical new vision for the social change sector.

Anna Chowcat is the Digital Manager at Refuge and oversees the charity’s digital function and output. Since joining Refuge, Anna has been instrumental in introducing a number of digital engagement programmes including digital campaigns, bespoke email supporter journeys and user friendly donate/campaign pages. Before joining Refuge, she has worked in digital engagement and campaign roles at The Labour Party and Leonard Cheshire Disability.