Companies everywhere, including utilities, are seeking innovative ways to engage customers and build lasting relationships. One powerful tool that has evolved leaps and bounds in the past five years is the online webinar. With their ability to connect businesses directly with customers in real-time, webinars have become an invaluable resource for utilities looking to maximize customer engagement.

Utility webinars offer a unique platform to educate, inform and connect with customers and employees. By hosting webinars, utilities can deliver valuable content directly to their target audience, providing them with insights and solutions tailored to their specific needs. Whether it’s educating customers on energy-saving practices or showcasing new industry technologies to employees, utility webinars offer an interactive and engaging way to share knowledge.

One of the key advantages of webinars is their ability to foster direct interaction between utilities and customers or employees. Unlike traditional marketing channels, utility webinars enable two-way communication, allowing customers to actively participate, ask questions and get instant responses. This level of engagement not only enhances customer satisfaction but also builds trust and loyalty. Additionally, webinars provide utilities with valuable feedback, helping them understand customer preferences, concerns and pain points, which can be used to refine products, services and messaging strategies.

Animated GIF showing technical and engagement strategies for utility webinars

“It’s time to break free from one-directional presentations where a presenter speaks at the audience,” says Christopher Loehrer, Webinar Manager at Questline Digital. “Rather, organizations need to embrace the conversational aspects of webinar events. Think about how podcasts engage with their audiences by having conversations with other subject matter experts; ask for audience participation. The format of your webinar event is only limited by your imagination.”

There are many ways utility webinars can be used to foster engagement and achieve educational and training objectives. Let’s dive into 25 effective strategies utilities can use to harness the power of webinars.

Strategic Ways to Use Utility Webinars

There are a variety of ways to think about how to leverage the advantages of webinars. Strategically using webinars means that you’re adding them into your content mix or marketing plan to help your utility reach its goals, whether improving education or increasing program enrollments.

When you’re considering the technical implications of utility webinars, you must consider the features that occur behind-the-scenes. These capabilities help increase traffic to your webinar or improve engagement throughout the event.

“Attendees expect your presentations to be informative, engaging, relatable and entertaining,” says Loehrer. “Think about what captures your attention at in-person events and sprinkle that into your webinar to increase engagement and conversion.”

Quotation about the value of utility webinars to educate and engage with customers

Some strategic ways to use utility webinars include:

1. Educational Webinars: Your utility’s marketing or program teams can host webinars to educate customers about water conservation tips, renewable energy options or new industry technologies. Additionally, educational webinars are a great way to train utility employees about trends or best practices they should be aware of.  

2. Product Demos: Webinars can be used to showcase new products or services offered by your utility, providing customers with a detailed demonstration and answering any questions.

3. Customer Q&A Sessions: Utility webinars can be designed as interactive sessions where customers can ask questions about their bills, conservation strategies or any concerns they may have.

4. Efficiency Workshops: These webinars can focus on providing customers with practical tips and strategies to improve energy efficiency or water conservation in their homes or businesses, helping them save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

5. Program Launches: Webinars are an effective platform to introduce new utility programs or initiatives, including rate plans or billing options, explaining the benefits and encouraging customer participation.

6. Case Studies: Utility marketers can use webinars to share success stories of customers who have achieved significant energy or water savings or implemented sustainable practices. By highlighting these case studies, it may encourage other customers to adopt your utility’s programs or services.

7. Industry Expert Interviews: By inviting experts to speak as guests during webinars, your utility can provide valuable insights and new perspectives to customers and employees. This is also a way of keeping customers or employees informed about the latest trends and advancements inside and outside the industry.

8. Community Engagement: Webinars can be utilized to engage with local communities, addressing specific challenges and soliciting feedback or suggestions from customers.

9. Sustainability Initiatives: Leverage webinars to highlight your utility’s sustainability efforts, showcasing its commitment to renewable energy, water conservation or environmental stewardship. Explain in a thoughtful way how your utility is working to reach its sustainability goals and how these goals affect customers.

10. Conservation Challenges: Remember: webinars are fun! Try hosting energy or water conservation challenges via webinars to encourage customers to participate actively in reducing their consumption, offering incentives and rewards for achieving specific targets.

11. Customer Testimonials: Invite satisfied customers to join your utility’s webinars and share their experiences. Hearing first-hand from customers who have benefited from programs or services can encourage other customers to sign up. This is a great way to build trust and credibility.

12. Collaborative Partnerships: Webinars can be used to promote your utility’s partnerships with organizations or businesses in the community, showcasing joint efforts in promoting sustainability and conservation efforts.

13. Rebate Programs: Use webinars to provide customers with detailed information about available rebate programs, explaining eligibility criteria, application processes and the potential savings.

14 .Resource Roadmaps: Webinars can serve as a platform to present your utility’s long-term plans for a clean and sustainable future, keeping customers informed about future energy and water resource plans and resilience initiatives.

15. Virtual Tours: Organize online tours of customers’ facilities, renewable energy installations or water plants through webinars, giving customers an inside look into the operations and showcasing their commitment to sustainability.

One Southeast energy utility used webinars to empower its account managers with training and education events. With a one-person training team and busy internal subject matter experts (SMEs), the utility didn’t have the time or resources to produce quality educational assets for its 300 employees. By including webinars in its strategy, the utility was able to build a robust training program and educational library for its employees, all without exhausting the organization’s resources.

Another utility, Duke Energy, incorporated webinars into its sales strategy as a way to inform customers and encourage new sales of its programs and services. By creating webinars that catered to customers’ interests and needs, the utility was able to not only sell to its customers but educate them about the benefits of its programs. This program exceeded webinar attendance benchmarks and Duke noticed a dramatic increase in customer engagement and J.D. Power ratings since beginning the webinars.

Building Engagement with Advanced Webinar Technology

Effective educational content is key to hosting a successful webinar. But just as important are the technical features of a webinar platform. These capabilities can provide exceptional user experiences and make attendees want to come back for more.

“With a solid launch pad of features and a high-quality delivery, the sky is the limit,” says Loehrer. “Be sure to gather as much information about your attendees as possible to ensure you deliver the right message to the right viewers with these options.”

Quotation about building engagement with the technical capabilities of utility webinars

Some considerations to make about the technical capabilities of utility webinars include:

16. Interactive Tools: Utilities should have access to interactive features that encourage active participation. These tools also allow your utility to gather valuable data throughout the event. Some of these features might be a chatbox, polls and surveys, live emoji reactions, quizzes, and breakout rooms for smaller group discussions.

17. Screen Sharing and Annotation Tools: The ability to share screens during webinars allows utilities to present slides, demonstrate software or showcase visuals. Additionally, your utility may want to have whiteboard and annotation tools to facilitate real-time collaboration and illustrate concepts.

18. Cross-Promotion Tactics: A webinar platform that allows pop-up offers or banners to share more information about your utility’s programs is a great way to redirect attendees to your utility’s current offerings.

19. Professional Attendee Journey: An effective registration system and scheduling tool are essential to managing participant sign-ups and sending out reminders for upcoming utility webinars.

20. Recording Capability: An on-demand version of your utility’s webinar enables utilities to capture the session for later playback and is a valuable way to share the information with those who couldn’t attend the live event. The recording can also serve as a reference for those who did attend and wish to review or share the event with others.

21. Presentation Format: Many utility webinars are presented in a typical fashion with one speaker and a presentation deck. Consider new formats like roundtable conversations, ask-the-expert discussions, and interviews with subject matter experts to further the conversation and retain attendees’ attention.

22. Clean User Experience and Polished Delivery: As a professional organization, it’s imperative to highlight this any time you’re communicating with customers or employees. Ensure that the webinar environment you’re using is clean and easy to use for participants. The webinar platform itself should be well-suited to handle high-definition delivery, play pre-loaded videos and switch between multiple presenters and presentations seamlessly. Plus, don’t forget to include your brand colors and logo to keep your webinars consistent with other communications.

23. Webinar Series: Webinar series that are delivered on a consistent schedule helps your utility stay top-of-mind with attendees. As you continue to produce webinars, you may find some topics resonate with attendees more than others. The ability to adjust webinars as the year progresses is also an important capability.

24. Analytics and Reporting: Robust reporting capabilities provide utilities with insights into attendance rates, engagement levels and attendee feedback to evaluate the success of their webinars. Remember: The key to measuring success is knowing what works and what doesn’t. 

25. Accessibility: Accessibility comes in many forms. Make sure your utility webinar is accessible for viewers on desktop or mobile devices, in multiple languages and with closed captioning features so that all attendees have the best experience possible.

These technical features help to create a dynamic and engaging webinar experience for both utilities and the audience, fostering effective communication and knowledge sharing.

National Grid and Eversource effectively used technical features that contributed to successful webinars. As many Americans struggled to make utility payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, the two utilities partnered to get the word out about their available financial assistance programs. They worked with Questline Digital to produce a series of educational webinars.

To accommodate the varying needs of customers, the webinars were produced with closed captioning and broadcast separately in Spanish and Portuguese. The webinars also included video of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. By incorporating these features, the utilities were able to reach a broader audience. In fact, the language accommodations were met with such positivity that National Grid and Eversource permanently changed how they promote services, ensuring information is available to those with varying needs. Over 9,770 total customers registered for the webinars to learn about solutions for their energy bills, with nearly 1,000 attending the ASL broadcast. 

Leveraging The Benefits of Utility Webinars

The potential benefits of incorporating webinars into your utility’s educational and training strategies are undeniable. Webinars offer a unique opportunity to engage with customers and employees in a dynamic and interactive manner, fostering meaningful connections and delivering valuable content. By leveraging the technical features discussed above, utilities can create compelling webinar experiences that drive customer engagement.

With the rapid advancements in technology and the increasing emphasis on digital communication, it’s crucial for utilities to stay ahead of the curve. By investing in webinars, utilities can harness the power of real-time engagement to build stronger relationships with customers, train employees, enhance brand reputation and ultimately drive conversions.

“Webinars are a unique way to deliver information and measure success,” says Loehrer. “Start with your end goal in mind and work with an expert team to align the strategy to your goals.”

Learn how Questline Digital’s webinar solutions and help your utility educate customers and train employees.

Effective communication has become more important than ever for utility marketers. To truly connect with customers, water and energy providers must adopt an outreach strategy that goes beyond a simple, one-time approach.

In fact, it takes five to seven interactions for a customer just to remember a brand. An effective communications strategy requires a consistent series of touchpoints that work together to build trust, loyalty and familiarity over time.

The key to success lies in maintaining consistency in utility customer communications. By establishing regular and reliable interactions, utilities can cultivate trust and loyalty. This forms the foundation of a genuine digital relationship, leading to a multitude of benefits.

The Benefits of Enhanced Communication with Utility Customers

Consistency in utility customer communications cannot be overlooked. The benefits of such an approach are substantial, including:

  • Stronger digital customer relationships
  • Increased customer control in decision-making
  • Enhanced operational efficiencies and reduced costs
  • Increased customer retention and loyalty
  • Boost in brand awareness and reputation
Chart listing the benefits of consistent utility communications

Building strong digital customer relationships

Prioritizing consistent utility customer communication is essential for fostering a strong digital relationship. By regularly sharing relevant information, your utility can keep customers informed and engaged on your utility’s services and operations.

Brian Lindamood, VP of Marketing and Content Strategy at Questline Digital, emphasizes the importance of maintaining consistency in order to build strong digital relationships with customers. “Merely reaching out to customers when there is a need does not constitute a true relationship,” says Lindamood. “To form strong digital relationships, utility companies must consistently deliver proactive messages that align with customers’ interests and needs.”

Ensuring regular delivery of relevant and personalized content is vital for building and maintaining a strong digital relationship with customers. By consistently providing valuable information, you establish yourself as a reliable source they can turn to. This not only keeps your utility’s audience engaged but also allows them to foster a deeper connection with your brand.

One way to foster engagement is through consistent touchpoints like newsletters. Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) achieved increased engagement and participation in its energy efficiency programs by doing just this. The utility established a monthly residential email newsletter that included educational content for customers, plus information on the utility’s programs. By maintaining this consistent digital relationship, SWEPCO saw a substantial increase in customer engagement and satisfaction.

Increased customer control in decision-making

When it comes to utility services, the complexity and unfamiliarity of industry jargon can often leave customers feeling confused and frustrated.

Regular communication with utility customers is crucial in helping educate them and improve understanding of programs and new technologies. As customer education increases, the more empowered they’ll feel to take control of their energy and water usage. This can be achieved by providing educational resources that allow customers to stay updated with the latest trends, important news, billing updates, rate options, program promotions and more.

When customers are well-informed about their utility’s offerings, they have the confidence to select programs and services that best suit their needs and goals. This not only benefits the customers but also strengthens the relationship between the utility and its customers, fostering trust and loyalty.

Enhanced operational efficiencies and reduced costs

By streamlining communication channels and processes, utilities can eliminate inefficiencies and minimize the risk of miscommunication. This not only saves time but also reduces operational costs, allowing utilities to allocate resources more effectively.

Sarah Sharp, Business Development Consultant with Questline Digital, says, “There is a lot of information to communicate for utility customers, so it is important to minimize jargon and send information when it is most relevant.”

Well-informed customers are less likely to phone a call center, and when they do have questions they will know where to find answers using digital resources. A consistent digital relationship also drives adoption of programs like paperless billing and autopay, further reducing operational costs for utilities.

Pull quote about the importance of consistency in utility customer communications

Increased customer retention and loyalty

Maintaining consistent communication with utility customers enables utilities to position themselves as trusted community resources. “Building trust is the most crucial element in customer communications,” says Sharp.” If people don’t trust you, they won’t listen to you.”

In building trust, customers will know that they can turn to their utilities for guidance on their energy and water usage, cost-saving tips, programs to participate in, and more.

Consistent outreach also raises the visibility of the utility across different touchpoints. “Customers are receiving information in many different channels. When it comes to omnichannel communication, it is crucial to be consistent between channels,” says Sharp. This means ensuring your messages are consistent in tone and language, as well as being delivered in the channels customers expect to receive communications in.

Boost in brand awareness and reputation

Through consistent messaging across channels, utilities can reach a wider audience and showcase their commitment to customer satisfaction. This increased visibility and positive reputation can build new customer relationships and strengthen existing ones.

One way to demonstrate this commitment is to focus on proactive communications versus reactive communications. For example, informing customers about potential outages during storm season can help them be better prepared, even if an outage doesn’t occur. This proactive approach not only builds trust but also highlights the utility’s dedication to keeping customers informed and supported.

One major investor-owned utility in the Northeast focused on these types of communications to ensure customers received timely updates ahead of forecasted storms. By leveraging pre-built email templates, the utility was able to quickly deploy messages with information regarding the projection of the storm, as well as highlighting self-service resources customers could use to stay connected.

Best Practices to Ensure Consistent Communications with Utility Customers

Consistency in customer communication plays a pivotal role in a utility’s outreach strategy, but it can come with challenges as well. Here are two ways to foster success.

Conduct regular training and upskilling programs for employees

Providing regular training and upskilling programs for employees helps them develop strong communication skills and stay updated with industry trends. This ensures that all customer-facing employees are equipped to effectively communicate with customers.

For example, with limited resources and a small training team, one Southeast utility faced challenges in educating its customer-facing employees to address customer questions. To combat this challenge, the utility leveraged monthly training webinars that were customized to meet the needs of the account managers, who were then better prepared to engage with customers.

Leverage marketing automation tools

Customers want a seamless experience from start to finish, and that’s not possible unless employees have the resources they need to quickly and easily communicate with them. By managing their customer interactions with automation tools, utilities can ensure timely outreach that meets customer expectations from beginning to end.

A Midwest energy utility integrated a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to replace their traditional way of deploying emails. Questline Digital’s Engage platform enabled the utility to manage and send quick-turn communications to its customers, using pre-approved templates and centralized customer lists. As a result, the utility successfully sent nearly 3.7 million operational emails, facilitating a seamless and timely customer experience.

Harness the Power of Consistency in Utility Customer Communications

Consistent communication with utility customers brings numerous benefits, such as improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, enhanced operational efficiency and increased brand awareness. By implementing consistent communication strategies and leveraging appropriate tools, energy utilities can establish themselves as trusted advisors while delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Learn how Questline Digital can help your utility deliver consistent customer communications and build stronger digital relationships.

You created the perfect video to promote your utility program or service — now what? The next step is finding the ideal places, from short clips on social media to personalized video emails, to share your video to reach the right customers. That’s why understanding how to distribute video content is key to achieving success for your engagement strategy.

Your utility can create the best video in the world, but if it’s not shared on the right channels, it won’t reach the intended audience or accomplish its engagement goals. Plus, you’ll lose valuable time and money. To reach your program promotion goals, the right video distribution strategy is just as important as producing the best video content.

What Are the Best Channels to Distribute Video Content?

When choosing the right platforms to distribute your video content, energy utilities should assess how each platform works with the video’s message. For example, an in-depth video explaining your demand response program would be completely out-of-place on TikTok, but it would a helpful resource on a website landing page where customers can sign up for your demand response program.

“Different videos do better in different forums,” says Matt Irving, Creative Director of Video Content for Questline Digital. “It’s not just about having people see your video, but they need to see it at a time and place that makes sense. In other words, how you deliver the message depends greatly on the message.”

For example, sharing a billing video would be a great option within a personalized video email versus being posted on YouTube. According to Irving, energy utilities should always be thinking of their video’s message and what platform is best to deliver it.

With your message in mind, here are the best places for energy utilities to distribute video content.

Channel #1: Website Landing Pages

For energy utilities, learning how to distribute video content can make a tremendous impact on your program promotion goals. The first, and perhaps most obvious, channel to share your video content is on your utility’s website.

Video has a powerful impact on website engagement. In fact, consumers stay 60% longer on website landing pages with video compared to those with just text and images. Video can also increase organic traffic, as websites with video content rank higher on Google’s search results. According to the latest research, landing pages with at least one video are 45 times more likely to achieve high rankings.

Compared to other industries, utility programs and services can be technically complicated and difficult for customers to understand. By adding videos to your landing pages, you can educate customers about a complex topic, such as time-of-use rates, demand response or beneficial electrification. In fact, 94% of marketers believe video plays a vital role in increasing customer understanding about a product or service.

PSEG Long Island utilizes video on their Time-of-Use (TOU) landing page to encourage customers to make the switch. The video explains how a TOU rate plan works and the main benefits for customers. This landing page is a great example of how to distribute video content to educate customers who would benefit from TOU.

Example of how to distribute video content on website

To help customers understand their monthly bill, Duquesne Light Company provides a helpful video on its residential bill landing page. This animated video provides a quick overview of the recent bill changes and where to find important information. The video is embedded on the page so viewers can easily watch it from the utility’s website.

Example of how to distribute video content on website

Channel #2: Social Media Platforms

When planning how to distribute video content to utility customers, social media is likely one of your go-to tools. Your utility’s social media channels are a great opportunity to reach a wide audience, including residential and business customers.

Your utility’s YouTube page is the perfect place to both host and share your videos. Currently, YouTube has more than 122 million active users in the U.S. each day. Utilities can host their videos on the site and then use the video link in various marketing communications. Since YouTube is owned by Google, which prioritizes content from the site, your energy utility will also boost search rankings for web pages with embedded videos.

Keep in mind, your utility’s video is competing with a ton of other content on social media. In order to get customers to watch it, you’ll need to use videos that are short, fun and lighthearted. The reality is not all videos posted to social media will give you the desired views.

For example, an animated video with tips on how customers can take advantage of smart home technology is ideal for Facebook and Instagram. However, a long webinar with in-depth information would be better suited for your utility’s website or LinkedIn page.

A great example of how to distribute video content on social media, Duke Energy shares videos of their employees in the field to help humanize the utility and showcase their work in the community.

Example of how to distribute video content on social media

Since 80% of social media browsing is now from a smartphone, your utility should include text and captions in your videos to make them mobile-friendly. This is becoming a must-have on social media for consumers who want to watch videos without audio while in public. We Energies utilizes videos with captions on their Facebook page to ensure all customers can get important outage restoration updates.

Example of how to distribute video content on social media

Channel #3: Newsletters

Monthly email newsletters are a powerful educational tool for utilities, so it only makes sense to share your video in this effective communication channel.

Your utility customers look to your eNewsletter for helpful education, advice and resources; adding video gives them the information they want in the format they prefer. In fact, visuals, like video, have the power to improve the learning and processing of information by up to 400%.

Video is also more engaging than other content types, leading to higher click-to-open rates. Questline Digital data finds that email newsletters with video have a 7.1% average click-to-open rate versus a 5.7% average click-to-open rate for email newsletters without video.

For utility marketers, exactly how to distribute video content in newsletters can be a challenge. Unfortunately, you can’t embed a video into your newsletter; instead, you’ll need to add a “play button” graphic on top of a static image and link to YouTube, Vimeo or another web page with the video. This makes it clear to customers that they need to take action to watch the video.

This newsletter example from one of Questline Digital’s utility clients features a video with tips to help business customers adapt to a hybrid work environment. The video includes a large play button to make it clear that it’s a playable piece of content.

Example of how to distribute video content in email newsletter

Channel #4: Banner Ads

Another recommended channel to share your videos is banner ads. A potentially unexpected channel, banner ads are a great way to generate brand awareness and click-throughs. With less text and more visuals, banner ads capture attention and invite customers to learn more about your utility’s programs and services.

Just like emails and newsletters, you’ll want to link directly to your video on YouTube, Vimeo or a website landing page. You can include a play button on a static image or use a GIF to illustrate movement in the banner ad. Your utility can also take advantage of outstream video advertising that plays the video without sound (unless the viewer chooses to unmute it). When using video for banner ads, be sure to use captions and text to effectively communicate the message.

An example of how to distribute video content, PSEG Long Island took advantage of banner ads to promote the Smarter Home, an interactive video experience to educate customers on energy efficiency. The banner ads linked directly to the animated microsite.

Example of how to distribute video content with banner ad

Channel #5: Personalized Video Emails

Personalized video emails are a powerful tool for energy utility marketers looking to distribute video content and increase program enrollments.

With an average of 16x higher click-to-open rates and a 4.5x increase in unique click-throughs compared to non-personalized content, it’s clear that personalized videos capture the attention of customers and drive engagement.

Unlike most platforms that don’t allow individual targeting, personalized video emails enable marketers to create unique experiences tailored to each customer. By using personalized video emails as part of communication strategies, energy utilities can effectively encourage customers to take action, whether to enroll in a program, sign up for a service or purchase a product.

These videos provide additional information that customers need to make informed decisions, enhancing the overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns. With personalized video emails, energy utility marketers can deliver engaging and impactful content directly to their target audience.

Facebook utilizes personalized video emails that are tailored to each customer. By using their back-end consumer data, they can deliver personalized video emails for users’ birthdays, anniversaries and more. The videos make users feel seen and special and, in the long run, encourage them to continue visiting Facebook and sharing on their profile.

By using a similar strategy and delivering highly relevant and targeted content through personalized video emails, your utility’s customers will also have a compelling reason to visit your website or program landing pages. It allows your utility to stand out and create a memorable experience.

Right Fit, Right Format, Right Channel

Keep in mind that videos can be shot or edited in any number of formats to fit your needs. The distribution channel you plan to use will determine what aspect ratio (or shape) you will use, such as horizontal videos for laptop or TV screens or vertical videos intended for smartphone screens.

According to Irving, the standard HD aspect ratio of 16:9 works in most digital environments. Videos designed for social platforms such as TikTok or Instagram stories should use the inverse aspect ratio: 9:16 for vertical viewing on a phone. Square videos (with a 1:1 aspect ratio) will also work well on many social platforms and can also be adapted for use in video display ads.

Distribute Video Content to Reach Program Goals

Creating a great video is only one piece of the puzzle. The next step is deciding how to distribute video content and finding the right channels to get as many eyes on your video as possible. The challenge is choosing the platforms that work best with your message, whether it’s a fun clip for social media or a relevant, personalized video email for a program promotion.

“Make sure the people in the space you’re jumping into want or care about your video,” Irving says. “It’s important for energy utilities to understand how the video is going to resonate with people. The platform has to fit the message.”

Learn how a video content strategy from Quetline Digital will help your energy utility build customer engagement.

For companies in the energy industry — whether utilities, EV charging station manufacturers, solar providers or sustainability consultants — quality content is vital for customer engagement and business growth. Today’s energy customers are looking for helpful resources, not a sales pitch. That’s where content as a service comes into play.

Bridging the Knowledge Gap With Content

Compared to industries like retail, hospitality or entertainment, the energy industry can be technical and complex. Energy topics like beneficial electrification, demand response and time-of-use (TOU) rates are not always easy for the average consumer to understand. For energy companies, it’s essential to bridge this knowledge gap to increase customer awareness, engagement, and sales.

With a content-as-a-service platform, energy companies have the opportunity to educate customers on a wide variety of energy topics. This energy content is delivered to customers on their preferred channel, such as a website landing page, email newsletter or social media.

Content as a service, often abbreviated as CaaS, is defined as content that is delivered on-demand to consumers through a repository (typically subscription-based). This allows content to be stored on a content management system and then automatically sized and deployed in the best format for a particular channel. With this service model, energy companies always have access to a wide variety of content topics and formats to share with customers.

“This is a way for energy companies to get access to high-quality content without the heavy lift of creating everything from scratch,” says Ryan Prestel, Vice President of Business Development at Questline Digital. “Content as a service is a great place to get started with content marketing, with the added flexibility to use and edit content in any way they choose.”

Content-As-A-Service Platforms Save Time and Money

Consumers are looking for expert advice and resources, making thought leadership a critical element to an energy company’s marketing efforts. This requires ongoing content that is useful, engaging and speaks to customer needs and interests. Without a content-as-a-service platform, energy companies simply won’t have the valuable content necessary to become industry thought leaders.

“Many small companies are trying to be thought leaders, but they don’t have big marketing departments to make that possible,” Prestel says. “They see the importance of content from a thought leadership and SEO perspective, but they can’t afford to hire copywriters, designers and other creatives. This is where content as a service can make a huge impact.”

Creating high-quality articles, infographics and videos is both costly and time-consuming. For many energy companies, employing a copywriter or designer is not possible. Plus, marketing employees often lack the bandwidth to write and design new content every week.

Outsourcing the work is typically not an affordable option either. Freelance designers and copywriters cost $30 to $100 per hour, while a video production company can demand anywhere from $7,500 up to $45,000 per video.

Chart listing the cost of creating educational content for energy companies

Keeping Up with Industry Changes

Creating quality content isn’t a “one-and-done” task for energy marketers. In particular, the energy industry is rapidly changing with new technology, requiring continuous education to keep customers abreast of these innovations.

Content needs to be regularly published to ensure it’s timely and relevant for customers. However, it’s not always easy to think of new ways to educate or market to customers. By using content as a service, energy company marketers have a repository of articles to choose from that speaks to these industry innovations without complicated jargon.

For example, Questline Digital’s Engage Content Library includes more than 4,500 content assets on a wide variety of topics, including energy efficiency, beneficial electrification, electric vehicles, smart technology and more. This content-as-a-service platform is produced by a team of industry experts who ensure the content is updated with the latest research and trending topics.

Armada Power, a demand management service provider, is taking advantage of the Engage Content Library to help grow their utility clients’ hot water heater program. Through content as a service, the energy company plans to increase program participation by educating customers on demand response, virtual power plants, load management and other related topics.

“Content as a service allows energy companies to show the breadth and depth of their knowledge and capabilities,” Prestel explains. “Customers will start to see them as an expert resource for their energy needs.”

Content for Every Customer Touchpoint

To be effective, content marketing must reach customers at every touchpoint in their journey. Content as a service ensures that energy companies have the right resources for each stage in the customer lifecycle, including awareness, education and action.


  • Welcome email series
  • Social media
  • Outage communications
  • Digital ads


  • Email newsletters
  • Interactive content
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Articles
  • Webinars


  • Program promotions (EV, solar, TOU)
  • Paperless billing campaigns
  • Payment assistance campaigns
  • Energy marketplace promotions

For example, a solar photovoltaic (PV) installer needs content to build awareness on their various customer-facing channels. Topics could include the benefits of solar energy, common myths about solar, and an overview of the installation process. The awareness stage transitions to the education stage where customers receive useful content in their preferred channel, like social media, eNewsletters or webinars.

In the action stage, the company needs content to encourage customers to move forward with solar PV installation. A content-as-a-service platform allows energy companies to access and easily post content for every stage of the customer lifecycle.

Equipping Energy Companies With the Right Content

Becoming a thought leader and energy expert takes time and ongoing publication of relevant and timely content. With a content-as-a-service platform, energy companies have access to best-in-class energy content — without relying on an entire creative department. Through a repository of ready-to-go content, energy companies are better equipped with resources to educate and engage customers throughout their journey.

Educate your customers and boost conversions with content-as-a-service solutions from Questline Digital.

As energy consumers choose new electricity sources and show more interest in their overall consumption, the utility industry is paying more attention to the customer experiences it provides. Utility professionals now understand that their relationships with customers need to be built around two-way conversations.

In the latest edition of its “New Energy Consumer” report, Accenture paints a picture of utility customers seeking relationships with their energy providers that go beyond transactional. They are demanding more of their energy providers, especially when it comes to energy-efficient products and services.

The voices of these new energy consumers are getting louder, underscoring the need for utilities to take a customer-centric approach to their communications strategies. Utilities know they need to offer new products and capabilities. But they also need to understand the unique needs of each customer and develop relationships with them.

So, what are utilities doing?

How Content Marketing Affects the Utility Customer Experience

Now that brands in other industries are realizing the importance of creating content for specific stages of the customer journey, utilities are also finding it to be a valuable strategy for customer engagement and retention.

“When it comes to customer experience, a big motivation for utilities is to establish and maintain long-term relationships,” says Brian Lindamood, Vice President of Marketing and Content Strategy at Questline Digital. “After all, unlike most other companies we do business with, we have lifelong relationships with our utilities. That’s why content marketing can be so effective. It’s not about a sales cycle that can be measured in weeks or months. It’s a lifelong relationship.”

An effective content marketing program includes a variety of content types. Offering multiple communication options allows utility customers to choose their preferred method of engagement. Communication channels and potential content formats include:


When it comes to the content marketing channel that utilities use successfully, email newsletters are the winner, hands down. “Newsletters are the main channel for utilities in proactively getting their message into customer inboxes and on their phones,” says Lindamood. “The monthly touchpoint is an effective, low-key way to be visible in customers’ lives without bombarding them with ads or messages.”

The town of Benson, North Carolina has been enjoying outstanding customer engagement from its eNewsletter, which leverages videos, infographics and articles from the Questline Digital content catalog. In 2021, the utility’s monthly newsletter achieved an above-average open rate of 47.3% and an impressive click-to-open rate of 33%.

At Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), the utility’s Key Accounts eNewsletter is improving engagement — and customer satisfaction — among business customers, with the metrics to prove it. “With Questline’s Key Account eNewsletter, we can track official metrics for customer engagement and have seen a related increase in satisfaction scores,” says Monika Campbell, Manager of Large Customer Services at BGE. “Our Key Account Managers who have higher eNewsletter opens have happier customers.”

Advice from Monika Campbell about improving customer experience in the utility industry

Social media, text and websites

Because millennials and Gen Z audiences are active users of mobile devices and prolific sharers on social media, many utilities are choosing to use social media platforms and text messaging to communicate with these audiences.

“Younger customers are used to getting their bills via text from other companies,” says Lindamood. “We’re seeing utilities increasingly using text messaging, especially for outage alerts, emergency messages and promotions.”

Websites, meanwhile, are used by most utilities for providing in-depth content resources like articles, infographics and videos.


The experience of commercial and industrial (C&I) customers is important, too. In fact, because they have more options when it comes to suppliers, maintaining their loyalty can be a greater challenge. Webinars are an effective way to reach these customers and position your utility as a thought leader in energy end-use implementation.

Duke Energy, one of the country’s largest energy holding companies, has seen a substantial increase in customer engagement and its J.D. Power ratings since it began offering webinars to its C&I customers.

Improving the Utility Customer Experience With Relevant Content

A recent survey by Content Marketing Institute found that more than half of the companies delivering an optimal customer experience agreed that content marketing was a major contributor to their success. These marketers make it a priority to deliver relevant content when and where a customer is most likely to see it.

For energy utilities, that means providing customers with helpful content when they need it. “Using content marketing tactics to reach consumers on the channel they prefer can go a long way toward helping utilities meet their safety and educational goals,” Lindamood says. “Providing relevant and helpful information not only increases engagement, it improves the overall customer experience.”

Learn how a content marketing strategy from Questline Digital can help your utility improve the customer experience.