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You need a communication plan and here’s how to make it work!

October 2, 2019 | Blog

In response to the fundamental shift in our power system economics, utilities must redefine their role as energy providers. Customers are now interested in more than reliable and inexpensive electricity, they also want the power of choice whether it’s their rate plan, control of their energy consumption, choice in electricity resources, self-generation, and storage. Utilities should align their monetary interests with evolving customer demands. Once utilities become active partners with their customers, opportunities for increased revenue will appear.

How can utilities transform customer relationships into successful partnerships? Creating an effective communication strategy that results in customer awareness and builds trust is the first step. Communicating information about rate choices and how they affect the customer’s bill, reasons why their bill changed over time and the availability of DER related products and services, is a vital element of this transformational process. Utilities need to communicate with their customer base effectively to succeed.

Today customers are overwhelmed with messages, businesses must earn their attention with relevant information delivered on the customers’ own terms. Undoubtedly, there is no way to build a strong customer relationship, without understanding their preferences first and acting accordingly.

One of the questions utilities should address first, is which communication channel they should use when sending branded information. Though it is best to provide an omnichannel approach, we have learned that even though billions of people use several social media platforms, email remains the most pervasive communication channel (*The Radicati Group, Inc.). Just consider that the number of active email accounts in the United States is expected to hit 254.7 million by 2020 (*Statista), while 99% of consumers check their email at least once a day (*Hubspot). But as more and more emails flood people’s inboxes, how can you ensure that your emails are even getting viewed?

Apogee’s experience and expertise gained from creating communications plans and sending millions of emails on behalf of our utility clients have proven the following will make your email campaigns perform better:

  1. Use video instead of text.

It appears that video is by far the most popular communication tool, as 68% of customers would favor a short video message, as opposed to 15% of those who would choose text instead (*Wyzowl). Consequently, it’s not surprising that the percentage of businesses that use video as a communication tool increased from 63% in 2017 to 87% in 2019 (*Wyzowl).

  1. Create irresistible subject lines.

Your subject line is your only opportunity to entice someone to open your email. Create several compelling subject lines then A/B test them while tracking the data on all the emails that you’ve sent. Finally, adjust your subject lines as needed.

  1. Find the optimal times to send.

Determine the best times and days of the week to let your emails go out. Schedule the same email to be sent on different days and/or times. Analyze the data and find the optimal time that better works for your unique audience. Keep your customer’s demographic characteristics in mind, when choosing the best time to send your email campaigns.

  1. Be sure that it is optimized for mobile.

Three out of five consumers check their emails on the go, 75%  say they use their smartphones most often to check emails and 61% of email opens occurred on mobile (*BlueCorona); optimizing your emails for mobile is now of vital importance.

Follow these steps and make sure you don’t waste both your time and resources on a communication strategy that doesn’t work. Meet your customers where they are and include them in your overall strategic plan.

 

About The Author

Kate Panaousis, Marketing Analyst, Apogee Interactive

Kate Panaousis is a graduate of Panteion University of Athens, Greece with a master’s degree in Applied Economics and Management and a graduate of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Her professional background includes experience with statistical analyses, forecasting techniques, and research. She is currently the Marketing Analyst at Apogee Interactive. Her role includes market research, statistical analysis and sales team support.

1 Comment

  • Susan Gilbert says:

    Well done Kate! Short, to the point, and packing a powerful message. Thanks for sharing your experience and insights.

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