As we all know, the internet wasn’t always as ubiquitous as it is now. Although digital communications is often the most effective and efficient way to communicate with your audience, that doesn’t mean in-person interactions have any less value. On the contrary, meeting with citizens face-to-face or talking on the phone is actually another way to turn offline interactions into online opportunities by driving them to your digital communications.
Here are five strategies to consider:
Offer subscription opportunities at call center/311/customer service touch points
Call centers and 311 services provide a great opportunity to establish a digital connection with citizens when they’re already engaged. If a person calls in needing information about winter parking restrictions or has a complaint about a ticket, for example, you might ask if they’d like to sign up for an email or text messaging list that would automatically send them information about parking conditions any time it snows. This is also an excellent way to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive interaction by demonstrating to citizens that you are committed to providing them with better services and information in the future.
Promote digital communications at fairs and community events
Community events like an annual state fair or convention bring huge numbers of citizens to the same place at the same time, making them an excellent opportunity for public outreach. Consider setting up a booth or table that provides information about your organization’s services, encourages email sign-ups, and allows you to meet your constituents face-to-face. Making the first point of contact in person, then deepening the relationship through digital communications, is a winning strategy.
One of the best ways to increase the size of your digital audience is to offer people a diverse and flexible range of options for signing up. QR (or quick response) codes make it easy and efficient for your audience to sign up right from their phones. Smartphone owners can simply scan your QR code and be directed to your organization’s subscription options, which should include a value proposition explaining the benefit of signing up. Some digital communication platforms, including GovDelivery, can even generate a custom QR code that corresponds with any of your email subscription topics.
You may have a large list of your audience’s postal information with no corresponding email addresses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those people aren’t interested in communicating digitally. Consider sending a postcard letting print subscribers know about your other options for sharing information, and encourage them to go paperless with email subscriptions instead. Promoting the benefits of going digital can help convert direct mail recipients into online subscribers, deepening your relationship and saving you printing costs in the future.
Use different audiences to promote digital communications
If you work with schools or youth outreach programs, for example, consider creating a flyer promoting your email subscription options and sending it home with the students. After Prince George’s County Public Schools launched its digital communications systems, the school district gave students fliers to take home to their parents promoting the new services.
Like these ideas? Want more? Check out our post “Build Your Audience First: 7 Ways to Grow Your Reach for Greater Impact.”