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According to a survey conducted by Accenture, only 18% of utility customers feel satisfied with the experience their utility is offering them.1 Given that number, it’s understandable that many utilities are constantly considering the best strategies to engage their customers.
One of the most overlooked areas for utilities is how to better leverage the traffic that’s already coming to a utility’s website. Customers are accessing many utility sites for billing and payments, to report outages or access the status of them, as well as investigating details around establishing or transferring service. That traffic is a valuable resource that can be redirected and driven to pages that support an effective content marketing strategy for utilities. The value of this content can be the premise for reengagement among customers and drive ongoing brand touch points.
Engaging with utility customers when they aren’t thinking about energy isn’t easy. Customer engagement continues to be one of the biggest challenges many utility marketers are faced with today. Content marketing for utilities is an innovative strategy that many utilities are considering. Just incorporating a few tips within the site navigation under energy efficiency might not be enough to drive engagement. A robust content marketing strategy aimed at customer engagement requires creating an inventory of content that can be promoted and support the customer experience. During site visits, users will find additional information on topics they are researching, and this information will allow users to delve deeper. This enables a utility to truly capitalize on behavior when customers are in the right mindset.
What customers expect from their utility
Many customers are on the lookout for recommendations on ways to save energy. Accenture’s New Energy Consumer Handbook reveals that 58% of customers look to their utility to provide energy-saving tips.2 Marrying energy-savings tips with rebates is a way to meet customer expectations while helping meet the utility’s goals. Most utilities offer rebates and incentives for energy efficiency products. Some customers could be pushed over the purchase threshold if they understood which rebates and incentives were available for energy-saving products.
Content can be used in a storytelling and customer-centric fashion to help customers visualize the types of energy saving measures that can be employed. For example, we recently developed an ebook for a leading utility that highlights “25 Money-Saving Tips.” This ebook highlights a number of tips, some tips that are considered “no cost,” others that are low cost and several tips that require investment. Those tips that require investment also highlight available rebates.
Authoring this type of content can position a utility as a trusted advisor and ultimately positively impact customer satisfaction. Additionally, content can engage customers by educating them about the products that have rebates. Content however, needs to go beyond rebates. A University of Texas poll shows that energy efficiency is a priority for 79% of consumers, and that they’re more likely now than they were previously to purchase a variety of energy-efficient products.3 Content can help demonstrate what changes in a business or home can be made to qualify for rebates.
Educate customers about the benefits of upgrading various older products to newer, energy-efficient models. For example, an article titled “How to Improve Retail Performance with LEDs” can discuss the savings LEDs offer and demonstrate new uses for LED lighting, such as creating ambiance and the application techniques that best accomplish the desired level of light.
Make the most out of customer website visits Maximizing website visits is an essential way to engage with customers. However, it’s just as important to use digital marketing to hold onto and leverage the traffic you already have. When written and used properly, content marketing for utilities is one of the best ways you can meet all your utility marketing goals of engaging customers, improving your utility’s brand and enhancing customer experience. At Jacobs and Clevenger, we specialize in providing content that can drive utility customer engagement.
Topics: Inbound Marketing