Over the course of tax season, our content and marketing teams worked together to help our audience better understand the ins and outs of filing taxes and other important steps in the process. We collaborated on messaging for our various platforms including targeted email and social media. We covered many important tax topics, from finding out if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit to avoiding refund scams.
Why We Did It
Every year, we get many calls and searches from people looking for answers to their tax questions. In the runup to this tax filing season, the content team revamped the tax section on USA.gov and the Spanish tax section on GobiernoUSA.gov. It was important to highlight this new and improved content to help our audience find the tax information and services they need for all stages of the process.
Our Process from A to Z
Each week, content and marketing team members met for a brainstorming session. We got the ball rolling before the meeting by submitting ideas for messages in a shared document. The theme of the campaign was “The A to Z of Taxes”—each letter represented an important part of the process (i.e. C for Credits, H for Help).
We didn’t go in alphabetical order for the messages (nor cover every letter); it was simply a guiding principle that helped shape our overall strategy. Not being tied to a linear path allowed us to remain flexible. For example, if one week there was a breaking development on the tax scams front, we would move messages on that topic up in the queue. We focused on continuity between the messages and covering various segments of our audience (e.g. seniors, military members and their families). At the end of our campaign, we tied together all of the important pieces into a final message consolidating all of the resources shared during the last three months.
The overall metrics for our tax campaign show that we reached a wide audience and delivered helpful and engaging content. With an average open rate of 41.13%, our tax emails surpassed the current average of 37.59% across our email marketing platform. These targeted email messages also had a strong 8.64% average click-through rate. Though this is only slightly higher than our current average of 8.54% for all Money and Shopping emails, we gained important insights on what content our audience finds most useful.
We also tested more targeted subgroups and subscriber lists within the category. For example, our audience is very interested in how to find unclaimed or undelivered tax refunds, but niche information, like tax tips for active military or veterans, did not resonate as much. These insights will help us build on our content strategy in the future.
Darren B. Lurie and Claire Loxsom are members of the USAGov Content and Outreach Division.