Beneficial electrification has become a popular marketing theme among energy utilities and cooperatives, but the concept is still unfamiliar to many customers. Don’t let that get in the way of communicating this powerful message about the benefits of electrification. The term may be a mouthful, but beneficial electrification can improve customers’ lives in a variety of ways.

To fully communicate the benefits of electrification, energy utilities must answer their customers’ questions, which can range from the most basic definition of beneficial electrification to how they can electrify their homes and businesses once they determine it’s a good fit for them.

Here we break down the most common questions and how you can better equip both residential and business customers with the knowledge they need to make smarter energy choices.

What is Beneficial Electrification?

Beneficial electrification is the process of replacing the direct use of fossil fuels with electricity to reduce overall emissions and energy costs. When consumers switch to electricity — such as replacing a heating oil furnace with an electric heat pump or switching from a gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle — they benefit through cost savings, convenience and a cleaner environment.

Utilities should make the benefits of electrification clear to customers with regular reminders and marketing campaigns. But remember, your customers likely do not know what beneficial electrification means. You may want to use more relatable phrases in your messaging to capture their attention.

Chart listing ways to communicate the benefits of electrification with utility customers

Beneficial electrification is more than fuel switching. Fuel switching is a short-term solution, where beneficial electrification is a long-term approach to replacing fossil fuels. A good way to determine if an initiative meets beneficial electrification standards is to consider the following conditions:  

For customers, think about: 

  • Does it save them money?
  • Is it good for the environment?
  • Does it improve their quality of life?

When it comes to your utility, think:

  • Does it improve the reliability or efficiency of the grid?

It will meet beneficial electrification standards if it can satisfy one of these conditions without adversely affecting the others.

What Can Be Electrified?

Beneficial electrification is most often applied to transportation, space heating, cooking and water heating. For utilities and co-ops, this is where content marketing can help connect the dots.

For residential customers, it’s essential to illustrate the switch to electric vehicles, electric lawnmowers, heat pumps, induction stovetops and other residential appliances. For commercial customers, facility electrification such as process technologies, electric forklifts and other equipment are more relevant.

How Does Beneficial Electrification Save Money?

Electrifying systems, devices and more can help utility customers lower their energy bills. While electrification will typically result in higher electric bills, significant savings can be achieved elsewhere, such as customers’ vehicle fuel bills. “Reducing energy spend” may be a more accurate phrase to describe the overall financial benefits of electrification.

However, the cost of electricity itself is a barrier. For example, potential EV purchasers may have the perception that gas is cheaper, which is true in some cases. They need to get past the cost of a gallon of gas (or a kilowatt-hour) to see how electric vehicles are much more efficient than internal combustion engines overall, not to mention that EVs come with lower maintenance costs. EV owners will save about $1,000 per year on fuel, with total cost-of-ownership savings of up to $10,000 over the life of an EV.

Share helpful content that gives your customers step-by-step suggestions to electrify their homes and businesses. Getting valuable advice from a trusted source can make them feel more comfortable and confident as they begin the long electrification process.

Does Beneficial Electrification Help the Environment?

Electricity gets cleaner every day, with more of the nation’s supply being generated from renewable sources. For example, carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour from electric power generation decreased 36% from 2005 to 2021. By driving the transition away from fossil fuels, beneficial electrification is having a major impact on the environment.

EVs are a great example of beneficial electrification. Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions and reduce well-to-wheels emissions by at least 20%. Electric power generated by renewables adds to that advantage — ultimately up to 100% reduction in carbon emissions.

Aren’t Fossil Fuels Used to Generate Electricity?

A big point of confusion in the conversation about electrification surrounds the idea of what it means to truly “go green.” Although we are slowly transitioning to clean, renewable power generation, fossil fuels are still burned to produce electricity. So, although they’re “going electric,” some customers are concerned that it may not be enough — or even “count” — if it still requires the use of harmful fossil fuels.

However, beneficial electrification doesn’t require that 100% of their electricity come from clean energy sources. New electric-powered equipment and appliances are much more energy-efficient than the devices they replace.

Heat pump efficiency has risen from 10 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) to close to 20 SEER — that’s 500% efficient! — for cooling, and from 6 HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) to 10 FSPF — 250% efficient! — for heating in a couple of decades. Natural gas furnaces are 92% efficient.

In the short term, the consumer is reducing their overall energy use by upgrading to a new electric appliance; in the long term, that electricity will come from increasingly green sources.

What Are the Benefits of Electrification?

There are many benefits to electrification, ranging from helping residential customers save energy to supporting a cleaner, more resilient grid for their community. Other benefits of electrification include:

  • Reduced emissions
  • Grid-connected appliances and systems
  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced likelihood of power outages
  • Decreased maintenance costs
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Minimal interruptions with energy storage

There are also application-specific benefits of electrification, including:

  • Induction cooktops heat food more quickly
  • Electric vehicles lower the operating costs of fleets
  • Heat pumps are quieter, more efficient and require less maintenance
  • Smart technology can make life easier by connecting devices
  • Electric lawn tools don’t require potentially dangerous fuel storage

Communicating the benefits of electrification to your customers with specific examples shows them how beneficial electrification can impact and improve their daily lives.

What Are the Barriers to Electrification?

Though the expected benefits may be enough to get your customers intrigued, there are a few barriers to beneficial electrification residential and business customers may encounter, including:

  • The low cost of natural gas
  • Range anxiety for electric vehicles
  • Increased capital cost for electric equipment
  • Lack of customer awareness of alternative electric technologies
  • Lack of trained installers and repair technicians for advanced technologies like variable-refrigerant flow HVAC and heat pump water heaters
  • Misconceptions that industrial equipment like electric forklifts are underpowered and batteries cannot last a full shift
  • Safety concerns for electric lift trucks in wet weather conditions

Despite these hurdles, beneficial electrification can save customers money, reduce emissions and improve quality of life, all without negatively impacting the grid.

With these benefits in mind, it’s clear that customers are going to become more interested in beneficial electrification options and will look to their utility as a resource for better managing their energy use. That’s why it’s imperative to be ready with content and answers to any questions they may have as they begin their electrification journey.

How do you communicate the benefits of electrification to customers? Learn how to power your campaigns with a Content Marketing Strategy from Questline Digital.

As sustainability becomes a greater priority for businesses, energy utilities play an important role as a trusted resource. Key Account Managers in particular are vital partners with business customers as they take on electrification and energy efficiency projects.

But how can Key Account Managers (KAMs) help business customers on their journey to greater sustainability? We spoke with those in the energy industry about best practices to support account electrification and greater energy efficiency.

“The Key Account position can play a big role in both supporting electrification and sustainability,” says Dale Odom, Supervisor of Business Development Services with ElectriCities of North Carolina. “It starts with being that single point of contact to your customers, listening to their needs and providing information when requested.”

Chart listing the ways utilities can support account electrification

Be a Trusted Partner to Key Accounts Customers

According to a recent study, 90% of business leaders think sustainability is a priority. However, only 60% have a strategy in place. For many businesses, the significant investment required for electrification and energy efficiency projects can be a challenge.

That’s why businesses are looking to their energy utility for valuable resources, education and advice. For KAMs, supporting account electrification starts with being a trusted partner to business customers.

“I focus on being a partner to our customers and meeting them where they’re at in their sustainability journey,” says Angela Koker, Regional Account Executive with Avista Utilities. “Key Account Managers should understand the goals of their business customers and then try to be that trusted resource.”

Some business customers may not have a clear picture of the path to electrify their business or make energy efficiency improvements. Equipped with deep knowledge about utility incentives and rebate programs, KAMs have a unique opportunity to help guide business customers every step of the way.

Understand Utility Customers’ Business Needs

According to Odom, the first step to support account electrification is to understand the unique needs of business customers. Questions to keep in mind include:

  • What is the customer’s industry?
  • What’s their approach to business?
  • What does their business model look like?
  • Is the business in a position to make changes?

For example, a hospital system, manufacturing facility and warehouse all have very different operations and sustainability goals. That’s why it’s essential for KAMs to have a strong understanding of each customer’s business.

“It’s going to be different from customer to customer,” Odom explains. “From an electrification standpoint, if you have good relationships as a Key Account Manager, it’s going to be easier to have those conversations. They will often be the first person to hear from their customer on sustainability goals.”

For many businesses, change can be uncomfortable. According to Rendall Farley, Manager of Electric Transportation at Avista Utilities, business customers can be hesitant to make operational changes, especially when it comes to electrifying their warehouse equipment or vehicle fleets.

“They want to know what electrifying their business will look like, the potential risks involved and how much time and effort the project will take,” Farley says. “You have to think about all of those things from a customer’s perspective — and every customer is unique.”

When supporting account electrification, KAMs should be mindful of customer concerns and the potential impacts on their business. “If you’re asking your customer to change a particular process, that’s a big ask,” Odom explains. “Instead of pushing them to make a change, it’s all about being a helpful resource and providing them with the information they need to make an informed decision.”

Schedule In-Person Visits with Customers

For a deeper understanding of how a business operates, Koker recommends visiting the facility and meeting with facility managers. This often takes place during a site visit with one of the utility’s energy efficiency engineers who will conduct an assessment of energy efficiency opportunities.

“I think you learn so much more being in a customer’s facility and seeing their operations firsthand versus a phone conversation or virtual meeting,” Koker says. “Whenever I can accompany an engineer on a site visit, I make that a priority.”

This is especially important for customers who may need more education in order to support account electrification or energy efficiency upgrades. For example, Avista is currently in the process of conducting outreach to smaller businesses in rural areas of the utility’s service territory.

“These customers are farther removed from Avista and need more education on what is possible with energy efficiency improvements and how we can help them accomplish their goals,” Koker notes.

Key Account Managers Can Provide Necessary Education

Business customers are looking for electrification and energy efficiency education from their energy utility. According to Koker, it’s important to educate businesses on utility incentives and rebate programs, as well as various state programs and legislation.

Avista partnered with a leading energy-management consulting firm to offer the virtual Clean Buildings Accelerator program, a year-long effort to help businesses navigate Washington State’s House Bill 1257. The program educates customers on how to set up their ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, ways to prioritize energy savings and other requirements.

“Business customers get coaching calls and periodic check-ins to make sure they’re on track with everything they need to do to align with the Clean Buildings Performance Standards,” Koker says. “It’s essentially a step-by-step process to help them navigate this new legislation.”

According to Farley, supporting account electrification starts with having credible tools that provide quality estimates of the savings business customers will see over time. Educational tools, like calculators, videos or webinars, should provide clear insights on the payback they will receive on upfront investments.

For example, Avista has an incentive program that helps customers with the initial cost of making the switch to electric forklifts. Farley notes that customers are looking for credible information on lithium-ion batteries, which have advantages and disadvantages. For customers who initially electrify a portion of their fleet vehicles, they want to understand how to electrify more vehicles in a cost-effective and seamless manner.

“Many customers look to us for credible information on the technology — as well as how things might change in the future,” Farley says. “Rather than trying to push them to make the switch, we’re here to provide them with helpful facts, programs and options so they can make the best decision for them.”

Supporting Account Electrification Will Set Up Customers for Success

Key Account Managers are in the perfect position to serve as trusted partners as their customers navigate the path to greater sustainability. To support account electrification, KAMs should know the ins and outs of the customer’s business, provide credible educational resources and be available to answer any questions along the way. They have the power to set up their business customers for success with electrification and energy efficiency projects.

“At the end of the day, a trusted resource is what we want to be from a utility perspective,” Odom says. “When a business has questions about electrification or sustainability, the Key Account Manager is often the first phone call they will make. It all starts with great relationships.”

Learn how a digital engagement strategy from Questline Digital will help your utility build stronger relationships with business customers.

Energy prices are expected to continue rising this year and next, making it imperative that utilities have an energy rate communication strategy in place to help customers navigate rising bills.

Average U.S. residential electricity prices will reach an estimated 15.33 cents/kWh in 2023, jumping from 13.72 cents/kWh in 2021. To put this into perspective, the average U.S. residential customer uses about 886 kWh per month. This means the average energy consumer will pay $136 per month in 2023 when they only paid $121/per month in 2021 — a potential increase of $180 per year.

While this may not seem like a life-changing sum, it greatly impacts the day-to-day life of many residential customers, especially low-to-medium-income customers or those who are behind on electricity payments. Some regions of the country are also getting hit harder with price increases than other regions.

Unfortunately, most customers don’t seek financial help from their utility or even know it’s available. Worse, many find the promises of payment assistance programs too good to be true. And others are just plain angry that costs are rising.

To mitigate this frustration and offer aid to more customers, Questline Digital recommends a proactive and empathetic energy rate communication strategy. Specifically, we’ve seen success when utilities implement the following tactics:

  1. Increase education
  2. Don’t leave it to PR
  3. Use more video
  4. Provide energy-saving tips
  5. Share program information before customers need it
  6. Promote home assessments and energy audits
  7. Use customer testimonials

Increase education

It’s common for customers to blame their utility for rising rates, even when it’s not the utility’s fault. Help customers understand what causes high energy bills. With more knowledge comes less frustration.

When customers Google questions like, “Why are electricity costs rising?” they are met with a barrage of news stories and social media complaints, and they’re not always sure which to believe.

Your utility should be the trusted authority. Use content marketing to explain how the rising cost of fossil fuels is impacting electricity rates, where renewables fit in the puzzle and what specifically your utility is doing to reduce the costs of power generation and distribution.

Be transparent and show proactive steps, even if the savings won’t be tangible for some time. Let customers know your utility is working hard to help.

Don’t leave it to PR

While media relations is an incredible tactic for sharing news with the community, it shouldn’t be the sole tool in your tool belt. If your customers only hear about available financial aid or what’s driving higher prices from local publications, they aren’t going to think highly of their utility. Get ahead of the news cycle and share updates and aid directly with customers.

Example of two emails from a utility used to communicate rising energy rates

See this example from a Questline Digital client. Knowing that holidays and winter months can be a stressful time for finances, the utility proactively shared payment assistance programs with a segmented email campaign to targeted customers.

Use more video

Video content should be included in your energy rate communication strategy. Why? Because explainer videos can make complex topics easier to understand. Images and animation aid with learning, while short video lengths and fast action keep viewers’ attention.

Create and share clips that illustrate the forces at play behind higher energy costs, promote programs and explain billing options. Share the videos on your website, YouTube channel and social media, along with newsletters, advertisements and email promotions.

Provide energy-saving tips

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the typical household can save 25% on utility bills with energy efficiency measures. That’s significant, particularly during a period of rising rates. With educational energy-saving advice, your utility can help customers make necessary home improvements or behavioral changes.

We Energies, an energy provider serving areas of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, uses an animated video to show customers how they can update their homes to save energy. At just over two minutes long, the video focuses on stopping air leaks by doors, windows and attics.

Questline Digital provides clients access to an extensive video series titled “You Can” to help homeowners and renters with energy efficiency projects. The videos provide step-by-step instructions on DIY improvements that customers can make no matter what their budget is.

Example of content marketing for an energy rate communication strategy

Share program information before customers need it

While education on energy-efficient products and behaviors can certainly help, utilities shouldn’t rely on efficiency messaging alone.

Utility-specific payment programs and federal assistance programs like LIHEAP and WAP should be promoted widely and proactively. Often only shared with customers who have fallen behind on payments or who have qualified in the past, assistance programs go underutilized. While audience targeting is highly effective, current economic conditions require that more customers are made aware of these programs, including customers who may be eligible for the first time.

MCE, a nonprofit renewable energy provider in California, uses simple animation to highlight assistance programs available to customers and explain how they can apply. Housed on YouTube, the utility can call out key moments with time stamps. This makes it simple for customers to find what information they need.

Example of YouTube video used to communicate rising energy rates to customers

PG&E, an energy provider located in Northern California, uses this 30-second animated video to tell the story of a family and their experience with the utility’s financial aid programs. Short and sweet, this video can be used on social media and in digital advertising placements.

Promote home assessments, installation and energy audits

Just like financial aid programs, complimentary home assessments and installation services are often unknown to many customers. Utilities should expand the promotion of these value-added services as part of their energy rate communication strategy.

TECO Energy, an energy holding company based in Tampa, Florida, shares its Online Home Energy Audit Tool via TV advertisements, reaching a mass audience. These clips connect with viewers emotionally while reassuring people of the convenience and positive impact audits can have on their energy bills.

Example of email from a utility energy rate communication strategy

This email example from a Questline Digital client promotes complimentary installation and tune-up services for electric appliances and fixtures. Reaching customers directly in their inboxes, recipients are encouraged to take advantage of available services to reduce energy consumption.

Include customer testimonials

Financial aid and energy efficiency programs can often feel too good to be true. Dispel skepticism by telling customers about the positive experiences their peers have had. Ask customers who have made efficiency upgrades or used utility services if they would be willing to share their stories through testimonial videos, articles and quotes.

Example of social media post from utility to communicate rising energy rates to customers

Here, Philadelphia-based energy company PECO shares a residential customer’s experience on Facebook, showing other community members how they might take advantage, too. Social proof is highly effective when shared on social platforms or between peers.

Help Customers with an Energy Rate Communication Strategy

Overdue balances and rising energy costs will continue into 2023 and beyond. Get ahead of customer misconceptions and pain points with proactive communications that focus on education, peer validation and widespread awareness.

Learn how a digital engagement strategy from Questline Digital will help your energy utility connect with customers in need.

Your customers want to save energy; they just might not know how. By educating customers about energy waste and showing them how they can save, your energy utility can help customers take advantage of energy-saving programs and products. More than ever, there is a growing need for energy efficiency education.

Many customers don’t realize the strong impact that making energy-efficient choices has on both a person’s daily life and their community. According to, “Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change, reduce energy costs for consumers, and improve the competitiveness of U.S. businesses.” Energy efficiency is also a very important component in achieving net-zero emissions.

By increasing energy efficiency education, customers will have a better understanding of how their energy-efficient choices can:

  • Save money
  • Increase the resilience and reliability of the electric grid
  • Provide environmental, community and health benefits

Energy Efficiency Education for Customers

The first step to converting customers is educating them. Think about who your utility is trying to reach and what their interests and needs are. For example, residential and business customers are very different. What resonates with one doesn’t necessarily resonate with the other.

Business customers, for example, care about reducing energy usage and operating costs while keeping productivity high. Residential customers, on the other hand, may care more about simple, effective ways to reduce their home energy bills without sacrificing comfort. Consider segmenting your communications so you can reach different customers with different energy efficiency campaign messages.

Energy Efficiency Education Examples

Energy efficiency doesn’t have to be difficult for customers. Duke Energy offers free home energy assessments where an energy professional will visit a home and perform a walk-through. They will then give the customer a detailed report showcasing how their home could be more energy efficient and ways they can lower their energy bill.

Example of assessment used to promote energy efficiency education

PSEG Long Island offers an online home energy analyzer that is free for customers to use. It’s similar to a home walk-through, but instead, customers can input information about their home themselves and have their energy efficiency calculated immediately. They can also reuse the analyzer multiple times to test changes to their home and see the results. In the end, customers are made much more aware of the impact on their energy bills.

Example of analyzer quiz to promote energy efficiency education

Additionally, PSEG Long Island promotes seasonal energy-saving opportunities with energy efficiency campaigns. In the summer, the utility developed an email campaign that promoted chargeable electric lawn equipment.

Example of email to promote energy efficiency education

The utility also promoted “National Cut Your Energy Cost Day” on social media by sharing advice for cutting energy costs. It’s important to stay a few steps ahead of your customers in anticipating their needs.

Example of social media post to promote energy efficiency education

There’s No Place Like an Energy-Efficient Home

When it comes to energy efficiency education, residential customers tend to be more open to receiving advice or promotions, simply because they have the time to consider making purchases or behavioral changes. In comparison, time-starved business customers may see these conversations as distractions in their busy day.

“Owners and other decision-makers are busy trying to keep their business running, usually getting their hands dirty right alongside their employees,” observed the Association of Energy Services Professionals. “And as energy efficiency program implementers, here we come, knocking on their doors out of the blue, wanting an hour of their precious time to conduct an energy audit.”

When communicating to residential customers about energy efficiency awareness, there are a few topics that resonate most:

  • Self-serve: Customers want the ability to take things into their own hands and control their energy use. By sharing energy efficiency education tips and recommending things they can do themselves, such as replacing traditional lightbulbs with LEDs or adding ENERGY STAR® appliances to their kitchen, they are more responsive to making these changes.
  • Money: A big motivation for purchasing energy-efficient products is cost savings. Help residential customers crunch the numbers with an energy analyzer tool or calculator that shows exactly what their bill would be if they made these investments.
  • Property value: The more energy efficient a home is, the higher its property value, which means more money for customers. In fact, according to The Guardian and an Energy Saving Trust survey, 70% of homebuyers would consider negotiating the cost of a property if it was inefficient.

Even though homeowners are often the ones who can make large investments in energy efficiency, your energy utility shouldn’t forget about renters. This customer segment is just as concerned about lowering their energy costs as homeowners, if not more. Ensure you have a strategy in place that shares relevant energy efficiency education tips with renters.

Example of interactive content for energy efficiency education

Content marketing is a powerful tool in energy efficiency education. By teaching customers about energy efficiency in fun, engaging ways, they are more likely to make the switch. One example used by Questline Digital clients is the quiz “What’s your energy type?” which prompts customers to think about how they use energy in their day-to-day life. Once they understand their energy style, it provides more opportunities for your utility to promote energy efficiency awareness.

How Peer Pressure Can Create Customer Interest in Energy Efficiency

Another way to reach your residential customers is through friendly neighborhood competition. We’re serious — social norms are a stronger motivator than even your best promotional message.

According to research by the Harvard Business Review, people often use less energy when they think their neighbors care about the environment. When residential customers were told how much energy they consumed and how much energy their neighbors used, customers reduced their energy use by 1% to 2% per year.

“Surprisingly, what matters more than one’s own attitudes and beliefs — how concerned we are with our own energy use and the environment — is whether we believe our neighbors view saving energy as important to saving the environment,” the report found. So rather than always pushing “go green” messages directly on customers, consider taking an indirect route and sharing how their neighbors are making changes instead.

Business Customers and Energy Efficiency

Compared to residential outreach, communicating to business customers about energy efficiency education needs to be much more succinct and focused on two benefits: money and brand reputation.

Like residential customers, money is a top concern for business customers. However, this audience sees savings in a different light. Instead of simple lightbulb swaps, business customers want to know how to save the “big bucks.”

Share energy efficiency campaigns about rebate programs on equipment these customers may often use or need to purchase, or provide side-by-side comparisons of the energy performance (and savings) of key products. For example, illustrate the cost-savings of an electric forklift versus a conventional forklift for warehouse facilities, or electric fleets versus gas-powered fleets for delivery vehicles. By focusing on the equipment that matters to business customers, you can pique their interest.

When it comes to brand reputation, we all know that simple reviews or bad comments can make or break a business in the digital age. Creating a positive image is imperative, especially when it comes to sustainability and energy efficiency. In fact, according to a study by IBM and the National Retail Federation, “Nearly 70% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada think it is important that a brand is sustainable or eco-friendly.”

Business customers need to realize that their public image is just as important as their product. By implementing energy-saving processes or switching to efficient equipment, they could not only reduce operating expenses but increase revenue through customer appreciation and an eco-friendly reputation.

Guide Your Customers to Energy Savings

Building energy efficiency awareness comes down to what your customers need. Every customer is unique — it’s up to your energy utility to identify what matters to them and provide relevant solutions.

Customers are interested in saving energy and willing to make the switch, but your energy utility needs to educate them on the efficient products and services that will make an impact and help them save.

Learn how a content strategy from Questline Digital can help your utility drive customer interest in energy efficiency.

From the convenience of our smartphones, we can easily lower the temperature of our home, turn on the lights before entering the front door and better manage our overall energy usage.

For energy utilities, it’s imperative to harness the opportunities tied to this growing technology. Running a smart home campaign or weaving smart home promotions throughout your customer communications can help your target audience adopt these devices and better manage their energy use.

Check out the following ideas for promoting smart home devices and encouraging their use for energy efficiency.

Consider Your Customers’ Motivations for Smart Home Adoption

Some of your customers will have great familiarity with smart devices while others may be intimidated or unaware. You’ll need to promote the right benefit to catch their attention and educate them. Research from E Source shows that the most effective messages for promoting smart devices include:

  • Convenience
  • Security
  • Savings
  • Ease of use
  • Control

These customer motivations can be used to build separate smart home campaigns for different target audiences. Try segmenting customers based on interests so you can put high-impact messages in front of them.

  • Tech-savvy customers will care more about the latest upgrades and taking advantage of the smart devices’ advanced features
  • Green-conscious customers will want to learn how to reduce energy consumption with automated controls
  • Budget-conscious customers, or those on alternative rate plans, will appreciate tips on how to save money with smart devices
  • Older customers and homeowners will care about the enhanced security features smart products provide

See how this Midwest utility promoted different benefits through email marketing campaigns. With knowledge about customer motivations, messages like “preserve our planet” were sent to customers who’d shown interaction with previous environmental promotions, while the promise to “save more” was sent to low-income and budget-conscious audiences.

Example of segmented emails for utility smart home campaign

Help Customers Save with Smart Home Incentives

To encourage customers to take the next step and purchase a smart home device, consider offering rebates and incentives. Energy utilities are collaborating with smart thermostat manufacturers like Nest to provide customer incentives. These smart home campaigns and incentive programs are often tied to demand response initiatives.

For example, see how this Midwest utility promotes a $100 smart thermostat rebate alongside enrollment for its Smart Thermostat program.

Example of email promoting utility program for smart home campaign

Additionally, check out how Austin Energy promotes smart devices and rebates via its Facebook page.

Example of social post for smart home campaign

Include Local Partners in Smart Home Campaigns

Smart technology also has opportunities beyond individual sales. Energy utilities are joining forces with local partners to help increase energy efficiency in their communities through smart home technology.

Georgia Power collaborated with Atlanta-based builder PulteGroup, the City of Atlanta and the U.S. Department of Energy to create the city’s first Smart Neighborhood. The innovative homes are equipped with a variety of energy-efficient measures including smart home upgrades, rooftop solar and in-home battery storage systems.

Likewise, Alabama Power partnered with Vivint Smart Home and local builders to develop the first Smart Neighborhood in the state. Located in Birmingham, the community is 35% more energy efficient than comparable homes in the area.

Ramp Up Your Marketplace Promotions

Your smart home campaign should make it obvious to customers that they can shop for energy-saving products through your utility. Your marketplace is filled with energy-efficient gadgets at a discounted rate and offers home services, energy-saving program enrollments and accessible financing options. Make sure customers know your marketplace exists and how to find it.

            Some ideas for promoting your marketplace include:

  • Homepage banner on your website
  • Including your marketplace in the main website navigation
  • Regular email promotions
  • Employee email signatures
  • Social media posts
  • Digital advertisements
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Direct mail

FirstEnergy Home sends timely email communications to customers promoting the wide range of smart products in their marketplace. The messaging often ties back to energy efficiency but also promotes benefits like security and convenience.

Share Smart Home Tips for Saving Energy

To truly encourage energy-efficient behaviors, focus on educating customers, not just selling products.

Teach customers how smart homes can be more energy efficient. Showcase articles, infographics, videos and interactive quizzes that demonstrate how smart devices can be employed to curb energy consumption.

Sharing tips and tricks through content on social media, on your website, in your marketplace or with a monthly newsletter can help your utility grow its reputation as a trusted resource.

Example of content marketing for utility smart home campaign

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to also point out where smart devices might unintentionally use more energy. Some smart home devices, like smart speakers, can increase the amount of electricity a home uses. In comparison, devices such as smart thermostats and smart power strips are effective ways to reduce electricity usage.

Harnessing the Power of Smart Home Campaigns

Energy utilities across the country are taking advantage of smart technology to improve customer satisfaction, achieve program goals and make a positive difference in the community. The smart home is only getting smarter. How is your energy utility harnessing these technologies to engage and empower customers?

Show customers how to use smart home technology in every room of the house with a campaign strategy from Questline Digital.