Promoting online consultation
Quality market research, audience identification and promotional activities are key to driving traffic to an online consultation space.
The Big Picture
1. Create a ‘Consultation Brand’
Create an integrated consultation brand for the project, or if possible, for all of your consultations across the organisation.
Branding should be accessible to the general public and entirely consistent across all online and off-line promotional material.
2. Choose a memorable project name
Around one third of your website traffic will be generated by organic web search of your project name. Many public sector projects have long, jargon-laden or otherwise hard to recollect names.
Instead choose a project name that has a bit of punch, vitality, and life to it. Also choose a name that uses plain English and clearly relates to the subject matter.
3. Choose a memorable project URL
Around one third of your website traffic will be generated by direct access to your site URL. Many URLs are far to difficult to recall or to type.
Choose a URL that reflects the project name. Avoid acronyms and long URLs.
Offline Options Checklist
- Let everyone know at your public gatherings about the online consultation space.
- Mainstream media coverage in local newspapers and on local radio stations.
- Talkback radio with the project manager or proponent.
- Editorial content in local newspapers.
- Direct mail to relevant audiences.
- Public authorities could add a note or piece of promotional material to the next correspondence with the community, e.g. council rates notices, services bills etc.
- Hand out postcards at key transport hubs and social meeting points.
- Public kiosks in high traffic areas such as malls.
- A tent or stand at local festivals, major events or community markets.
- For local issues, ask the library to hand out a “project bookmark” with each borrowed book.
- Quirky promotional material, such as magnets, wristbands, drink holders, squishy toys, beer coasters.
- QR codes linked directly to feedback opportunity on all paper promotional material, particularly posters.
- Take out advertisements at public transport hubs (bus stops, train stations and tram stops) on routes affected by projects.
Online Options Checklist
- A clear link on the consulting organisation’s website homepage.
- Footer message with direct link to consultation site as part of staff signature blocks.
- Internal email to all organisational staff with direct link to the consultation site.
- Cross-promotion from the organisation’s Twitter account with a link directly to the consultation site.
- Create a Twitter hash tag (#project).
- Cross-promotion from the organisation’s Facebook page (or group) with a link directly to the consultation site.
- Facebook advertisements directly to the consultation site.
- LinkedIn in advertisements for professionally oriented consultations.
- Contact administrators of existing Facebook (and other social networking sites) to request permission to paste links to their group pages.
- Google advertisements directly to the consultation site.
- Direct marketing using email databases.
- Create banner advertisements for highly relevant websites.