Macmillan Cancer Support

Supporting people living with cancer from diagnosis with relevant information and support journeys

Customers / Not-for-profit / Macmillan Cancer Support


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Macmillan Cancer support is there for everyone living with and affected by cancer. From the moment you’re diagnosed, through your treatment and beyond, we’re right there with you, offering emotional, physical and financial support.


Macmillan’s Point of Diagnosis campaign’s mission is to provide support for people living with cancer. The charity wants people to know that they are there for them from day one, with lots of information and support. The National Marketing Cancer Support team identified three key needs at diagnosis: work, finance, and treatment. The aim of the program is to provide ongoing support to people living with cancer before, during, and after their treatment.

Macmillan case study email 1 | dotdigital


The email marketing team was very helpful in creating as streamlined a journey as possible and sorted out all the programs for Macmillan’s Point of Diagnosis campaign. They were successful in translating their automation wish list into dotdigital Engagement Cloud features.

The journey started with three separate sign-up forms on three different landing pages, focusing on those specific needs. At the data-capture stage, the charity provided subscribers with explicit consent to be contacted and reassurance that their data will be stored safely. Those who opted in would then embark on an email support journey, tailored to their needs.

Macmillan case study email 2 | dotdigital

Every subscriber received the same emails, but in a different order depending on their group and key need. People were also asked their cancer type so that it could be included as dynamic content in the first email.

The general treatment landing page was the most popular, so the team decided to simplify the journey to just this version, and continued to see high ongoing engagement rates. This proved that the signposted content was both relevant and useful. The team could alternatively monitor engagement within emails and then tailor the program’s send order to the individual; which would ensure they first received the information they needed the most.

Performance was consistently monitored. The team switched out copy and added links where needed. They used their insight of which links were most popular for those at the point of diagnosis; plus lent on their own expertise in the field to signpost key bits of information that people might not have been aware of. The team never drifted from the ongoing objective: delivering the right content at the right time. Monitoring what people were engaging with meant the team was able to replace underperforming links with more effective ones, refining the copy to emphasize them further and better draw recipients’ attention. Plus, buttons were peppered in the email body to drive more engagement across email campaigns.

What’s more, the team noticed that the first piece of content populated in lists of information was clicked on more. Rotating important information, that people might not automatically be drawn to, at the top saw an uplift in engagement from these links. The team paid close attention to what the most popular topics were, and where possible expanded on the topic area with more links and content to keep engagement rates high. Plus, wherever the team added buttons, these links became some of the most popular ones in the emails. In areas where content hadn’t performed buttons were added, which improved engagement overall.

Macmillan case study email 3 | dotdigital


Macmillan’s personable, compassionate, and supportive campaign continues to make a real difference to the lives of people living with cancer. The great feedback is a testament to that, and the engagement results speak volumes.

The National Marketing Cancer Support team conducted a journey analysis which indicated that an email dedicated to emotional support received higher open rates among recipients. A survey sent out to opted-in recipients found that emotional support was very important at this stage of their diagnosis. The team extended this email campaign to every person that had signed up, helping a much larger group of people.

Macmillan now uses its click data to expand on the most popular content topics, optimizing the support journeys. By updating and adapting content throughout the journey, the charity has seen consistently strong engagement and click-to-open (CTO) rates.

Macmillan has steadily maintained an average CTO rate of c.30% across all emails for the campaign last year. That’s way above the NFP industry average of 12.5%.

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