Marketing the range of digital channels that Looking Local delivers public sector information on is possibly the hardest part of the whole process.
Building the customer focused services, enabling delivery across apps, TV, mobile, web, games consoles, integrating with back-end systems, branding services and providing unique access to national government partners is relatively straightforward, but promoting new channels, explaining the ease of access, getting people to trust their digital device as much as a person on the end of a phone and influencing behaviour; these are the real challenges.
To make the most of this digital revolution, we all have to take the bull by the horns and shout, promote, market, mention, push and use every opportunity to encourage people to use their digital device of choice - and then keep doing it.
Some examples of recent marketing by partners might just give you some inspiration...
EMAIL & TEXTING CUSTOMERS
Argyll & Bute used their CRM system to get the email addresses of customers that had contacted them over the past 6 months and sent them an email promoting their new My Council app. A few weeks later they texted all their customers that they had mobile numbers for, again promoting their new app, and giving them a direct link to the App Stores.
Partners who tweet about the range of digital channels see a direct upturn in usage, downloads and access. Whether at the launch of the new channels, promoting a specific issue or campaign, reminding followers that there are different access channels available 24/7 and for free, continues to spread the message and encourage usage. The good thing about social media is you can keep pushing messages about the different services, channels, apps, the ease of use, how to download, why people should use it, new services, how it can help them, linking to local news, issues, promotions & campaigns +++ There are so many benefits to digital choice and self service, just keep telling people.
We recently heard at a government comms conference that "the press release is dead". And it's true - the PM's Office now tweets news instead of releasing a press release and with so many people keeping in touch via social networks that they have to be at the heart of all promotion and marketing. Looking Local partners all deliver services on Facebook - either via the Looking Local app or embedding the app in their own pages - and it is an important channel for service delivery. So keep reminding people what they can access without even leaving the Facebook domain. Coastline Housing use a big red button to drive people to their services on their Facebook page and keep reminding people - whether specifically about services or the other channels available - on their Facebook page. It keeps the page fresh, shows that you are being innovative and drives channel shift.
Gloucester City Homes recently gave local junior wardens access to the My Landlord app to speed up the reporting process when they were out on their estate inspections. The Tredders patrol group used the app to report an incidence of fly tipping to the City Council and enjoyed using the technology, finding it a quicker and more efficient way to report issues.
Read more on the GCH website
CROSS PLATFORM MARKETING
A great example of promoting the different digital channels comes from Coastline Housing, who use their website 'Contact Us' section to separately promote TV access, Mobile & Apps. It's simple, clear and useful and for those who want more detail there are PDFs to download and print off.
Banner ads on websites promoting the alternative digital channels are also a great idea.
Kent Homechoice give people direct access to their TV service from their website, so people can use the choice based lettings service to search and bid for homes via Looking Local, with the service embedded in their website.
BE AUDIENCE SPECIFIC
Send a strong, focused message to the people directly affected by new services or changes to existing ones. Herts CC promoted new access channels for Free School Meals eligibility checking by giving every parent/carer in the county - via their schools - a card with the channel pathways. It led to a significant increase in usage, meaning that more families and children who needed support got it and their school got the related pupil premium.
Also showing the services within the marketing allows people to see what they will expect and know that they have the right service once they have downloaded or accessed it. Always remember this is new for some people and building digital confidence is key.
DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Sometimes it's the more unusual marketing ideas that catch someone's eye or make a real difference. Some of our partners have done just that:
|Home Group's TV Promoting Teabag|
|NHS Sefton's Prescription Bags|
|Rochdale Boroughwide Housing Van Promotion|