If it feels like you’re being bombarded with advertisements, well, that’s because you are. The average consumer is exposed to upwards of 5,000 ads every day … and growing. You’re probably pretty good at tuning out most of those messages. Of course, your customers are good at tuning out messages, too.
That’s why content marketing can be so effective. With this approach, you build long-term satisfaction by providing customers with information that actually interests them — instead of bombarding them with ads they don’t care about.
Do your messages cut through the clutter to reach customers? Here are three great content marketing ideas from other industries that energy utilities can apply to their own content strategy.
At first glance, Makeup.com looks like it’s produced by a glossy fashion magazine. The robust website is filled with makeup product reviews, how-to’s, expert tips and helpful videos.
In fact, the site is owned by cosmetics giant L’Oreal. Yet there’s one thing you won’t find on Makeup.com — blatant sales messages. Ads would be a turnoff and easy to tune out. Instead, L’Oreal attracts customers by offering advice and information that interests them. And, not coincidentally, it helps them use more makeup.
What utilities can do: Help customers, don’t sell to them. Provide content that helps them take control of their energy use, such as efficiency tips or smart home technology advice. When they’re ready, these informed customers will be more open to your program promotions or other marketing messages.
2. Learn from Experience
Farmers Insurance is known for their quirky TV commercials featuring actor J.K. Simmons reenacting actual, elaborate mishaps. Farmers’ content hub, Learn from Experience, plays off this theme with entertaining and useful articles drawn from real-life examples.
But this content isn’t about insurance. Instead, it’s about all the things that people need to insure, from cars and homes to life-changing events like weddings and births.
What utilities can do: Energy is critical to customers’ daily lives. Yet their questions and interests may not always be specific to energy use. Look for energy-adjacent topics to build content around. For example, instead of focusing on the energy-saving benefits of a smart thermostat, show customers how the technology also makes their lives more comfortable and convenient.
3. I Love You, Colonel Sanders!
An anime-style dating simulator that’s finger-licking good? I Love You, Colonel Sanders! puts gamers in the role of a culinary student who wants to date their classmate, Colonel Sanders. If it works out, he might even ask you to be his business partner and open a chain of chicken joints.
If you’re wondering what this has to do with selling fast food, the answer is, not much. And yet, the free video game — created by Kentucky Fried Chicken and distributed on the Steam online game platform — has received more than 8,000 positive reviews and generated lots of buzz. In other words, KFC built strong connections around a memorable interactive experience and got customers talking about the brand.
What utilities can do: Make it fun! Educational content doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, interactive games and quizzes aren’t just more engaging, they’re more memorable as well. Customers are much more likely to absorb and retain information when it’s presented as entertaining content.
Every day, as more digital clutter invades our lives, it gets harder to reach customers with truly important messages. By learning from these content marketing ideas and developing your own strategy, your energy utility doesn’t need to push its messages on customers. Instead, customers will come to you to seek out information and advice that interests them.