The following information was designed to share best practices to teach communities how to drive resident opt-in's and increase their contact database.
Over the course of many years, and thousands of communities, big and small, a series of best practices have been established to provide maximum results in increasing resident opt-in data bases for cities, towns, counties, states and more.
The ultimate goal is to keep residents informed, safe, and when necessary communicate critical and actionable information before, during and after an emergency crisis.
Providing ongoing pertinent communications including severe weather, missing or dangerous persons, road hazards and other public safety and community information is key in establishing an ongoing digital dialogue to keep your resident population continuously safe and informed.
Steps For Success
Step 1: Set Opt-In Goal
First, identify the amount of opt-ins you are starting with. This will provide you with a baseline on which your database will grow.
Ask your account representative "How many opt-ins already exist?" With millions of residents already in our system, you will likely already have contacts that you are not aware of.
Set your goal for how many opt-ins you would like to receive over a certain period of time.
Step 2: Plan How You Will Achieve Your Goals
Establish a Plan to Achieve Your Goal
Marketing Plan: Create a simple marketing plan. Use the suggestions in this document for successful examples.
Local Agencies: Work with local agencies to get the word out and increase the number of residents you can reach to have them opt-in.
Step 3: Establish Appropriate Time and Resources
Identify the people who are needed to help support the plan.
Have a team meeting to discuss the overall goal and ensure everyone understands their role and responsibilities in making your notification solution successful.
How to Increase Opt-Ins
Issue a Press Release
Initial Press Release: Issue a press release to your community about your notification system. Include information on system usage and frequency as well as the types of messages that community members will receive. This ensures residents have clear expectations for the system and they understand its value. Don't forget to emphasize that the service is always free for residents.
Crisis Press Release: Issue a press release after a crisis urging residents to stay informed and to opt-in to receive public safety information.
Also consider setting up interviews for your agency representatives with the local media to help you reach a wide audience. Be sure to provide clear instructions on where and how people can register.
Weekly Social Media Postings
If your department is already using social media as a tool to engage the community, leverage it to ask residents to opt-in to recieve notifications. You can let your followers know exactly what they need to do to sign up. Posting these instructions regularly will help increase subscribers.
Communicating on a regular basis, extending beyond ENS communications, is important in establishing a consistent rhythm of information for community members. Other content and event ideas to share online with the public include:
Urge residents to share and forward social media posts so that more members of the community can stay informed and join the opt-in database.
Public Signage Urging Residents to Opt-In
Other Marketing Tactics
Work with Community Groups to Increase Opt-ins
Best Practices for Writing Messages
Types of Alerts and Message Writing
Message Content Ideas
Send Messages Throughout an Event or Crisis
Deliver Information Throughout the Lifecycle of an Event or Crisis
Manage an incident or crisis effectively by sending public safety information before, during and after the event.
How to Write Effective Messages
Tips to Remember
Best Practices Abridged
Take the time to make sure that everyone in the department is educated about the system. When you have an entire department and/or city promoting the platform it will be a much more successful program.
Send quality information on a regular basis. The higher the quality of the information, the more people will be drawn to it.
Engage the residents. Don't talk to them, talk with them.
Capitalize on major events to drive opt-ins.
Cross platform marketing. Make sure you are getting the word out on all communication channels that you have access too.
Use human language, not "cop" language