What happens when you bring together government agencies from 48 states in one place to talk about digital outreach? As it turns out, a lot of insight.
GovDelivery had the opportunity to attend and present on digital outreach strategies at the Recreation Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) 2014 State Marketing Workshop last week in Atlanta, where communication teams from 48 states gathered to share their challenges and successes around engaging audiences and driving increased participation in outdoor activities and environmental conservation.
We quickly learned that while each state had some unique regional challenges to increasing outreach, there were some universal hurdles, primarily around how to increase participation in fishing, boating and outdoor activity, while promoting the positive impact that license sales have on conservation efforts. These obstacles were familiar to us, as our clients in the natural resource and environment space have been conquering these outreach challenges with significant success, reaching over 4.8 million people this year alone.
During the workshop, natural resource and environment communication teams shared their top marketing and customer service highlights from 2014, and we started to see some common themes around working to increase stakeholder participation at three key stages:
Recruitment – Getting people who have had little or no interaction with fishing, boating or other outdoor activities can be one of the biggest hurdles to long term conservation success within states. Michigan DNR is meeting their recruitment challenge with their downtown Detroit Outdoor Adventure Center, which will offer opportunities for people to connect with nature in an urban environment before committing to roughing it in on their next outdoor endeavor. Indiana DNR uses a combination of online videos and classroom sessions to improve people’s access to information on preparing local fish and game in your kitchen (capitalizing on the localvore trend that is hot the restaurant industry), while educating their audience on the important role that license sales play in environmental conservation.
Retention – Once a customer has experience in an outdoor activity, there is a higher likelihood that he or she will continue to participate in that activity in future years. To nurture this likelihood, Arizona Department of Game and Fish sought out to streamline its license buying process to make online transactions easier for returning customers. The department focused heavily on using social science, focus groups and surveys to simplify the license transaction process for its customers. By using data and a systematic approach to process improvement, Arizona was able to create a simpler experience for purchasing licenses that was more enjoyable for returning customers.
Re–engagement – Re-engaging or re-activating lapsed buyers was a challenge that many departments talked about as it related to their hunters, boaters and anglers. Georgia Department of Natural Resources uses email campaigns to target hunters and anglers who have previously purchased licenses, but not yet renewed their licenses. Often, campaigns include incentives to purchase a new license, such as a promotional lifetime license awarded to hunters or anglers who renewed their licenses before a target date.
Continued participation in outdoor activities like fishing and boating has a direct impact on the ability of state agencies to invest in conservation efforts for future generations. Engaging with hunters, boaters and anglers to promote opportunities to support these efforts through their license purchases is critical.
We were impressed by the techniques and ideas shared at the RBFF Workshop by agencies around the country, who are meeting the ongoing needs of new and existing audiences through innovative and well executed communications. To see how GovDelivery partner agencies in the natural resource and environment space are succeeding in reaching more of their audiences to drive recruitment, retention and re-engagement, check out our recent webinar with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or view other success stories from our partners at Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, and Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources.