If general marketing generates program awareness and sprouts possible leads, it is outreach that actually nurtures engagement and helps move eligible customers along the customer journey.
Outreach is organic and intrinsic. It requires face-to-face conversations, along with supporting communication pieces. Making it the dynamic, yet personalized, touch point spurring life into every program and keeping momentum growing with every interaction.
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Hesitance to actual follow through with outreach generally stems from not knowing where to go. Not knowing where to find your potential participants or how to appeal to them. Below we’ve outlined how to get your programs out there (so to speak). Each event has its own demographic and its own influencers.
1. Resource and Health Fairs
These customers are already seeking out resources, which makes them an ideal place to promote direct install programs. Resource and health fairs reach senior citizens who are more likely to be homeowners, have outdated technology and are generally receptive to free assistance opportunities.
2. Local Radio Station Events
Radio stations have different demographics. The goal is to align the right station with your target audience. This means you can be more selective in who you chose to target. You should seek out specific stations, depending on your program goals. For example, if you’re running a residential program and want to target homeowners, you may want to partner with a radio station that reaches areas of mostly single family homes.
3. Community Events Hosted by Elected Officials
In many communities, local elected officials are the first place people go for resources. These leaders advocate for their communities and have built trust with their constituents. By partnering with elected officials, you establish legitimacy in your target area almost instantaneously. Additionally, local elected officials have strong networks for spreading the word within their communities, from hosting well attended events to print and digital publications. This should be your bread and butter when approaching any new market.
4. Hardware Stores
Hardware stores are the homeowner’s mecca. Home improvement and cutting costs are always bonded goals for these customers. You can capture their interest with free direct install and rebated upgrades, while they are already in the right mindset.
5. Church / House of Worship Events
For many people, churches or other houses of worship are an important aspect of life in their community. This is another type of partner where trust is typically already established and people will be receptive to your message if you are vouched for. You’ll also find a mix of demographics, including homeowners, multi-family building owners, and business owners, creating a variety of program opportunities.
6. Neighborhood Festivals
Neighborhood festivals are a great way to reach individuals that you may not see at the local elected events or resource fairs. These events also provide abundant opportunities for brand presence. This may not be an event where 100% of the attendees are your target demographic but the sheer number of attendees make for numerous of opportunities to engage people.
7. Block Club / Homeowner Association Meetings
Here is where you hone in without question. This is the homeowner homerun. Block club and homeowner association meetings are one of the best foot-in-the-door outreach possibilities for residential programs. With homes on their minds, these customers are open to receiving resources. It is even easier if someone in the neighborhood has participated in your program, a good recommendation from a neighbor can inspire whole blocks to participate!
8. Senior Fairs / Events for Senior Citizens
Historically, senior citizens are a favorite market when it comes to energy efficiency program participation. They are likely to be homeowners, and they’re likely to have outdated products and equipment. They are more likely to talk to their neighbors about the program – creating more organic growth.
9. Back to School Events
Family households consume the most energy in residential markets. It’s essential to teach kids the importance of sustainability. These best practices can spark a lifetime of behavioral change and awareness. Even more, parents appreciate the lower water, gas and electricity bills simply installing free energy-saving products, like showerheads. It gives parents one less thing to worry about.
So, are you feeling pretty pumped to get out in the community and strike up conversations? Just remember, a program’s outreach success is only as good as its plan. (Tweet it!) Download our infographic on how to create an outreach strategy that works or reach out to see what Franklin can do for you.
Zoe Bottger has aligned her education, experience and enthusiasm to be the perfect triple-threat when it comes to community engagement expertise. She supports our clients and serves as a company-wide residential outreach consultant, bringing strong community-based strategies and partnerships to elevate program success. Zoe has a real passion for identifying solutions and helping educate communities, while providing program resources related to energy efficiency, demand response and other distributed resources. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology with a concentration in urban studies from Loyola University Chicago.