How do you feel about marketing? When we bring up marketing, some of the excuses that we hear are that it wastes time, or the results are not solid enough, or even that since SSA does marketing there is no need to do more. Add to that, we are focused on such a specific field; we may not feel the need to market individually. All of this makes it easy to put marketing on the back burner, but we all experience a time when we wished we had a marketing plan in place. It is a necessary part of what we do, and we want to find the most cost- and time-efficient ways in which to market our EN.
Let’s start by looking at some of the marketing opportunities available to us:
- Choosework.net: You can include a short description of your services and market your EN. In February of 2015, SSA announced ENs could submit requests to have personalized information added to their listing at the Find Help page of the Choosework website. The requests that comply with the guidelines set forth may be emailed to ^ENDescRev@ssa.gov for review, but submissions must comply with the following guidelines, as provided in the SSA email:
- There is a 250-character limit.
- Use correct grammar.
- Do not use platitudes, i.e., largest EN in the nation, nationwide leader in job placements.
- You may use phrases of indisputable fact (e.g., EN since 2006).
- Do not make comparisons with other ENs, specific or general.
- Do not make statements regarding services not available under the Ticket Program.
- Do not use jingles, slang or other unconventional language.
- Networking: NENA has many networking opportunities, and by learning about the services each of us provides, we are better able to refer beneficiaries when necessary.
- Social Media: A business Facebook page and a LinkedIn page are both great places to start.
- Partnering: With local agencies as well as AJC, CIL’s, DVR, etc.
- Start with selecting one project, then expand to another: Even with small steps we can see an improvement in the number and quality of contacts. Sharing strategies and ideas amongst each other allows us to be able to put effort into those areas that will bring us the best results.
- Marketing Proof of Concept (POC): Because this is a POC, only a limited number of ENs are able to participate at this time. But it is moving along and presents an opportunity for us to send mailouts and/or make phone calls. Naturally, we will keep everyone posted on the POC’s progress, and we hope to see this avenue open up to more and more organizations in the future.
- NENA’s YouTube Support Group: This is a newly-launched project for NENA members, managed by NENA’s Marketing and Outreach to Customers Committee. Its purpose is to help NENA members learn how to create You Tube videos and use them to inform the public about Ticket to Work and the services their organization offers.