U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Communicate with audiences at least three times; once is not enough

All residential energy efficiency programs have found that outreach needs to be repeated to connect with and remind potential participants about program offerings. As marketing gurus note, the majority of people need to be exposed to a product message at least three times (on separate occasions) to buy into it. The more time between communications, or “touches,” the less likely the customer will take action. Some programs even coordinated marketing strategies with partners, so that potential customers get multiple, complementary touches from different communication channels or groups.

  • NOLA WISE (New Orleans, Louisiana, Worthwhile Investments Save Energy) used a combination of traditional paid media, grassroots outreach, and earned media outlets to communicate with its audience. The program generated the highest number of high-quality leads through its homeowner showcases, which were events held at the home of a resident who completed upgrades. The NOLA Wise team and contractors were on hand to highlight the completed home energy upgrades and educate attendees on how to make their own homes more comfortable and energy efficient. NOLA WISE’s homeowner showcases were promoted through neighborhood canvassing, electronic newsletters, social media, collaboration with nearby neighborhood associations, and earned media strategies.
  • To promote its residential direct install (RDI) program, Efficiency Maine combined radio advertising with strategically placed Web banners, print, and movie theater advertising to reach the program's target audience. Demand from the radio ads became so rampant, according to program administrators, that Efficiency Maine was able to halt marketing and continue getting RDI customers through word-of-mouth referrals. Asking customers how they heard about the program in preparation for the program's process evaluation helped Efficiency Maine determine where referrals heard about the program.
  • Philadelphia's EnergyWorks promoted its program through a multi-phased advertisement plan. This first phase focused on radio and weather-related websites to take advantage of peoples' moods during specific weather conditions, which resulted in 15,000 visits to the EnergyWorks website and 303 completed home energy assessments. The second phase used print, online, and regional rail marketing materials to create a sense of urgency to compel consumers to act on their immediate needs by introducing the benefits of energy efficiency. In its third phase, EnergyWorks' advertising continued to emphasize the value and comfort of energy efficiency upgrades, and introduced an educational component that defined some common home energy upgrade terms, such as insulation and air sealing, in ways customers could understand. 

EnergyWorks Aligns Advertisements With Weather

Source: Energy Efficiency Residential Marketing Keep it Simple. Keep it Focused. EnergyWorks, 2012.

These EnergyWorks online banner ads rotated on accuweather.com during days with anticipated temperatures of 85 degrees or above.

See all tips from these handbooks:

Spur consumer demand for your program's services by understanding your target audience and motivating them to act using effective messaging, marketing and outreach tactics, and attractive program offers.

Decide on priority target audience segments, messages, and incentives that will motivate customers.

Create your program's branding guidelines and materials to elevate program visibility and support your marketing and outreach efforts.

Implement marketing and outreach activities in coordination with other program components to generate demand for your program's services.