Successful Promotion Strategies
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Following are promotional strategies that are effective in promoting AF Life Improvement Series programs. It is up to you to decide which methods will work for you and your partners. Aim for a coordinated effort that provides continuous messages via multiple channels throughout the year.
WORD OF MOUTH
Consumer research indicated a strong word of mouth or viral communication pattern (communication spread to multiple people by word of mouth or e-mail) among the AF target audience. Tactical elements of a viral marketing strategy could include:
- Soliciting testimonials to use in promotional materials.
- Reward system for program referrals.
- Encourage forwarding of e-mail invitations to specific events or “bring a friend” promotion by direct mail.
- Educating class participants to be program ambassadors.
For more detail, see the How to Encourage Word of Mouth tip sheet
Media relations is a method of communicating with members of the media, including broadcast, print and online outlets, to get word out about your program. Media relations can help you reach your target audiences with messages they can understand, believe and support. Get started by reviewing the media relations tip sheet provided in this section, along with template news releases, a newsletter article and key messages.
AF/ STATE/ PARTNER NEWSLETTER ARTICLES AND OTHER ORGANIZATION COMMUNICATION VEHICLES
Place newsletter articles promoting the programs in both your newsletter, as well as partners’ newsletters. A template newsletter article is provided, but consider developing quarterly articles that incorporate the human-interest element. Consumer research has shown that our audience favors testimonials. In your articles, highlight program benefits by asking participants to share their success stories. Other communication ideas include:
- Web sites : Ensure that the current programs are listed on the AF/ state Web site program schedule.
- Voicemail/on-hold messages : Promote your programs on your telephone message system.
FLYERS AND BROCHURES
Distribute AF Life Improvement Series promotional flyers and brochures at locations most likely to be frequented by people with arthritis or those interested in arthritis (physicians’ offices, hospitals, physical therapy locations, etc.).
PRINT ADS/ PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS (PSAS)
Print ads/PSAs are available in eight formats for all three AF Life Improvement Series programs. Distribute PSAs to community newspapers. Also place PSAs in your newsletter, as well as in partner and facility newsletters.
Direct mail is another way to reach your target audience and consists of sending promotional materials through e-mail or postal mail.
- Consider an e-mail promotion or mailing save-the-date post-cards inviting participants to try a program.
- Consider developing a course catalog or other comprehensive listing of all of your program sites, and distributing it once or twice each year.
PHYSICIAN/ HEALTH PROFESSIONAL OUTREACH
Send letters and/or program materials to area physicians, health professional organizations and other medical agencies so that these professionals can explain the programs to their patients. Provide presentations at the professional organizations’ annual conferences to promote the programs and to report the program evaluation results. Ask the professionals m to post your program flyers and place AF informational brochures in their waiting areas.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PRESENTATIONS
Determine where your target audience is likely to congregate and/or which agencies they already interact with on a regular basis. Arrange for an existing program instructor or trainer to deliver a presentation about the programs and/or an exercise demonstration at these sites.
See: the Community Outreach powerpoint presentation for an example of key points to deliver to a lay audience
Partnering agencies can provide incentive items such as coupons for a free class or discounted course fee that could be included as part of other promotional strategies.
AF PROGRAM BRAND AWARENESS
Increase awareness of the AF programs simply by getting your instructors, participants and partnering agencies to use AF branded items such as:
- T-Shirts for the instructors and class participants can help promote the programs.
- AF Program Signage including window slicks, program signs and partner plaques that are displayed in the facilities can increase awareness about the programs on an ongoing basis.
See: the list of AF branded items