There’s so much to consider at this point; getting the key personnel in place to deliver, determining who your major stakeholders are, and how much influence they can have over the audience you want to engage in your programme, determining the strategy for delivery and putting that into place, determining how to measure meaningful outputs and oh so much more!

The timelines on these CRF bid programmes are tight, so finding the quickest way to engage the people or businesses you want to participate in your programme is key to achieving your outputs.

You’ll likely engage your comms team to put something out in the local press and radio, along with interviews from councillors backing your programme where appropriate.

You’ll have stakeholders that you can reach out to, such as the local Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses or Institute of Directors and other local network groups if you wish to engage businesses, or to local community groups or work advisors, and schools, colleges, and universities if you want to engage individuals.

But will they give you access to an audience large enough of the ideal participant of your programme? And will the messages that your stakeholders share be compelling enough to encourage engagement of participants?

How will you engage with the hard-to-reach audiences?

What will you do if your stakeholders send emails to their lists, or post on their social media channels but you’re met with very few enquiries?

Open rates for emails these days are around 30% at best, and organic social media posts (the ones that you don’t have to pay for) reach about 5-10% of the audience that follows a page or profile.

Articles in local press/radio are difficult to measure as you don’t know how many people have seen them, and most people consume content ‘on demand’ these days meaning that they miss adverts, or key articles that you want them to read.

Businesses are still dealing with adjustments post Brexit and focussing energy and resources on recovery due to the pandemic, and whilst your programme will assist them with recovery, it will be one additional thing for businesses to consider, and perhaps they are super busy with the day to day running of their businesses, that they just don’t see your messages.

Individuals are seeing negative press about the number of redundancies and the economic impact of the pandemic, that they may not believe that there are opportunities or support available.

How will you quickly build awareness and trust of your programme in order to achieve your outputs?

How to decide if you need additional marketing

“Digital marketing is VERY different to comms, and your stakeholders may not have the experience or lists that will produce the results you need”

Awareness is the first step in engaging individuals or SMEs, they must know about your programme, and comms teams usually do excellent work in this area; engaging stakeholders, publishing press releases, and posting on social media.

But to get participants to be able to reach your outputs, there are 2 more steps in the marketing journey beyond awareness.

The consideration part is where your ideal participants learn about your programme (this is an online journey) and the compelling reasons that they should participate, along with building trust that you can deliver what you are saying you can deliver for them.

The conversion part is an invitation to participate, and this is the most important part that is often overlooked. A strong compelling call to action to take part can make every difference to achieving your outputs! Calls to action such as ‘Find a job now from the 23,000 in your local area’ or ‘Engage someone for 6 months to help your business back on its feet whilst we cover their wages for 6 months!’ are more compelling than ‘Check out these opportunities’ or ‘Find out more about Kickstart’.

Have you got all parts of the marketing journey covered? If not, then you need to do additional marketing to ensure that you reach your outputs!

Timing is important, you’ve only got until March 2022!

We recommend that you ‘super boost’ your marketing efforts in the first 2-3 months to reach your maximum potential audience with compelling marketing messages and to start conversations (some people will make decisions quicker than others), and then a final boost in the last month to ensure that you mop up any remaining outputs that you need to achieve.

And by Super Boost, we mean taking the following actions:

  • Create the messages for each stage of the marketing journey
  • Set up a web presence – this could be a simple one-page website (or even a new page on an existing council, LEP, or CIC website), or a more complex portal
  • Optimise the web presence to be found in search engines for words (keywords) that people may already be looking for in Google or other search engines (ie, business support post Brexit, Job vacancies near me etc)
  • Engage stakeholders and share your marketing messages
  • Post on your social media channels using hashtags where relevant
  • PAY for social media posts to be seen by the audience most likely to participate and benefit from your programme (this could be through Facebook ads, Linkedin ads, Instagram ads, Twitter ads etc, depending on who your audience is) (Don’t boost posts, this won’t get you the best results, instead craft specific audiences and ensure you’re using the right ad objectives)
  • Make it easy for potential participants to contact you out of office hours. So often people are browsing online in the evenings and weekends when they have more time, ensure that there’s a way for them to provide you with their contact details (and keep the form as short as possible) so that someone can get back to them during office hours
  • Design ongoing email or social messaging campaigns to keep your participants engaged until they complete and count as an output.

“Whether it’s SME’s, organisations, communities or individuals, digital marketing gives you a way to reach your audience and engage them!”

Your next steps…

If you’re wondering if what you have planned is going to achieve your outputs, book a FREE 30 minute consultation by sending us an email to [email protected] and we’ll talk through what you’ve got planned, and what else you might need to do to get the outputs that you need to achieve.

Our team have 10 years experience of marketing public sector funded programmes to reach both individuals and SME’s and plenty of great references we can provide to give you the confidence that we can help you achieve your outputs.