CATEGORY: Public Sector

Supporting Fostering services with email

Supporting Fostering services with email

The decision-making process for someone considering becoming a foster carer can be anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. Throughout this time email can be used as an unobtrusive mechanism to remain in touch, ramping up and down in frequency based on behavioural triggers for example attending an event or not engaging with any emails for an extended period.

The ability to stay in touch once someone is part of the foster care community is just as important, so helpful information, tips and continuing development course information can be regularly shared whether a foster carer or industry professional, both to support them and to help them advocate.

Within our Lorum Ipsum county council mock website you can see for yourself some of our best practice emails and experience an automated journey that can easily be recreated to support the fostering recruitment process, and in some cases increase the velocity of the decision making process whilst reducing resource stress in your team.

We see nurture programmes and drip campaigns in the private sector very frequently and they have a proven track record. And the fostering agencies, with whom you are competing are already employing many of these techniques.


Lets look at a newsletter sign up process

On this page you will find an example sign up form, where you can add your email address, and then importantly select which segment you belong. For our example we have chosen the three most common suggesting that: Whether you are thinking about being a foster carer, already a foster parent or have a professional interest in foster care, simply fill in your email and select your level of interest.

What happens next?

Depending on the audience you select from the drop-down menu you will receive a slightly different welcome experience. Whichever you choose you will be taken through a double opt-in process to ensure the quality of your data, but once sign-up confirmation is complete depending on your selection you will pass through one of the 3 possible routes.

The route for both existing foster carer and childcare professional are straightforward with a single welcome email to reinforce the benefits they will receive from being subscribed (each email designed to reflect the needs of the audience). There is a level of knowledge and comfort assumed here, as these people are already part of the foster caring community.

Focussing on the outcome

The welcome journey for a prospective foster carer is slightly longer. This consists of a short series (3 emails) to help educated and inform them and therefore support their consideration process at the point that they are most receptive, when they have just asked you to communicate with them. This relevance, response to their initial outreach to you, is exactly why we “welcome emails” and “welcome series” enjoy, on average, 7x higher levels of engagement than other email comms.

In our example we have used FAQs and a video case study. The final of the 3 emails includes a call to action aiming to get the recipient to attend an event – capitalising on their initial interest and offering them an easy route to the next logical next step.

Think of this welcome series as a gentle nudge for someone that is already facing your direction. And consider, if fostering is on their mind, it may not just be you that they are looking at.


The benefit of newsletters (with some personalisation)

The ongoing nature of a newsletter makes it the ideal medium for low-level consistent contact. But different audience segments may have slightly different requirements – sometimes the newsletter will be exactly the same for everyone and sometimes you may want to promote an information event, a CPD course or a legislation or tax change depending on the requirement of the recipient. By segmenting the primary audience by need you can deliver relevant information to their needs which in turn increases engagement. This can be done as easily as cloning a main newsletter and altering small sections based on audience or using dynamic content in a single send to populate certain sections based on audience parameters.

Using nurture series to support key points in the decision-making process.

Attending an event is a really good indicator that someone is well within the decision-making process. They are putting their hands up to say “Yes – I want to know more and I am serious about this”

On our page, you will be taken through a slightly artificial process of registering for an event, receiving the reminders and functional emails and then automatically being put into the post event follow-up series – of course in the real-world there will be some human intervention based on a person’s physical presence at an event (or not, when you would want to try to encourage them to the next event having missed the one they booked).

What’s really happening here?

Taking the time to attend a fostering recruitment event is a really great behavioural indicator, and in sales terms would probably be referred to as a “warm lead”.

By making the functional journey of attending the event as easy as possible not only reduces friction for the person attending, it also gives a great indicator of how professional and responsive your team are. By functional journey I mean the confirmation of place, details of how/where to attend and timely reminders prior to the event (which can be email or SMS) , to ensure maximum attendance on the day.

The follow-up from attending the event however, is where the magic happens. By building on their enthusiasm from attending on the day and reinforcing the messages and information that was shared on the day you can support a prospective foster carer through interest to desire and even to action.

Our series includes some of the information that is closer to decision point including financial/tax implications and positive reinforcements of the benefits by sharing engaging real-world success stories.

The series also includes internal email notifications to go to the relevant case workers if the person is highly engaged with the emails suggesting they would be highly receptive to a follow-up phone call from one of the team. And although we would expect that all attendees would receive a follow-up phone call, by seeing the engagement in the emails it is possible to prioritise who should be contacted first.

Head over to our Lorum Ipsum council website, give the automations a try and see if they inspire you to review your own comms and the journeys that your contact go through to see where you can support, speed up, or reduce resource-intensive workflows to achieve more positive outcomes.

Fostering Recruitment Hub Webinar 23: Using email to encourage the next step

Watch our COO Dan Hare share our experience and best practice advice on using email to achieve foster carer recruitment objectives.

Watch the webinar
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