The average consumer might have fewer choices for energy and water providers than, say, stores to buy clothes or cars. But utility marketing shouldn’t take that for granted. It’s important to articulate the value that you deliver to them and build and reinforce your customer relationships, and that requires utilities to go beyond running perfunctory brand campaigns and start putting the same care into marketing as B2C organizations in competitive industries.
Personalize your marketing for each persona
The best strategy for marketing to your utility customers includes understanding who they are, defining different personas that represent them, tracing each persona’s customer journey and building your campaigns based on what they want to learn before engaging with a service.
Creating personas includes segmenting your customers based on different demographics such as age, gender and where they live, but also it includes a deep understanding of their lifestyles, daily household challenges and how your services can help solve those challenges and improve their lives.
Once you have the insights that will motivate customers to engage with your services, you can create profiles that represent the “average” person in each audience segment. Then you can utilize each persona to determine how to reach them with the most effective messaging, channels and calls to action.
Meet your customers where they “live”
According to one study of U.S. consumers, the average person spends more than five hours per day on their phone—with more than half of that time spent in social media, messaging and media and entertainment applications like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
Utilities are one of the lowest-performing industries in digital usage, as J.D. Power found in its 2018 Utility Digital Experience Study. Your customer personas will help you meet people on the social platforms and websites their segment visits the most. For example, millennial customers might be more likely to be on social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram, whereas older generations may use email or Facebook more often.
You can use digital channels to entertain, engage and inform your customers, as well as encourage them to take actions beneficial to them. This could include summaries of new features or tools that you offer to help save energy and money, or notifications about potential outages.
As a utility company, your marketing is important because it can improve customer satisfaction. By understanding who your customers are, demonstrating your value and delivering relevant updates in the most convenient channels, you can give them personalized and helpful information that they care about.