S A LT L A K E C I T Y C O M M U N I T Y C O U N C I L S
MARKETING GUIDE 2011
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Dear Community Council Chair: Thank you for your involvement and commitment to our community. Salt Lake City is blessed with the unrivaled combination of a diverse population, access to the great outdoors and a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in our neighborhoods and our sense of community. I know there is no better place to live. Your personal commitment to serving our neighbors and local businesses not only makes our city stronger, but also serves as an example to others that together we can reach the potential this great city and its thriving communities hold. Each community council has its own history, governing bylaws and contributing members. As Mayor, I embrace those differences and challenge you as a community leader to engage those around you and actively work together with the City to create an environment of purpose and belonging. Great leadership inspires individual contributions and enhances our city for good. I appreciate your leadership and look forward to continued and renewed efforts to achieve the goals we all share for Salt Lake City. Warm regards,
Mayor Ralph Becker
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table of contents branding: Making a Neighborhood a Community ........................................................................ 4
Developing a Brand Mission
Cultivating Brand Values
Creating the Message and Design
websites: Building, Hosting and Managing an Online Presence ................................................... 10
Types of Websites
Choosing The Right Type of Website
Checklists for Creating Websites
email communication: Developing Announcements and Newsletters .................................... 18
Email Communication Overview
Email Marketing Options Available
Eight Steps to Starting an Email Marketing Campaign
Developing Valued Content
References ............................................................................................................................ 24 Note: Find this guide online The online version of this document will have active links to additional resources. Access the online version at www.slcgov.com/citizen/comm_councils/bestprac.htm.
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Making a Neighborhood a Community branding overview Branding is a typical buzzword that people throw around when they’re talking about marketing. But truth be told, few people truly understand what a brand is, and even fewer people know how to successfully create one. Simply put, a brand is a set of elements that make something relatable and recognizable. These same elements can even help people develop an emotional connection with something. The brand, therefore, is what’s used to cultivate a relationship between a company or organization and the existing or potential audience—which in this case is the neighborhood residents and businesses. The term “branding” originates from the practice of using a hot metal iron to burn a mark that denotes ownership—a practice commonly used on cattle. Today, the term has a much broader definition, but the concept is essentially the same. That is, a brand acts as an identifier as it creates awareness and/or changes perception. In the case of a community council, it’s probable that the main objectives of the brand would be to elicit an emotional connection with the neighborhood and promote a feeling of overall unity.
common misconceptions about branding • A brand is only a logo • Only BIG companies and organizations need a brand • Brands are an over-rated gimmick • Brands are built with advertising only
The following guidance will assist in the development of a community brand. After the development phase, the brand should be implemented and then reevaluated at least annually and adjusted as needed.
Use NeighborWorks as a resource NeighborWorks provides information on housing and neighborhoods and can be used as a viable resource for community building and organizing.
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developing a brand mission A brand mission is more than a mission statement; it’s a representation of the overall direction of the organization. The brand mission acts as the cornerstone of all marketing, with everything else building on, and working in harmony with it. No program or effort should ever contradict the brand mission. The community council’s brand mission should take into consideration the long-term vision and strategic direction for the area and should also account for service opportunities that exist or will be created. When developing the brand mission, think about: 1. The purpose of the community council 2. The audiences and stakeholders 3. The benefits and services the community council offers
don’t be afraid of setting a lofty brand mission The brand mission is a long-term view of where the community council is headed, so it’s important to be honest and set high aspirations.
Well-developed brand missions will be more than a statement; they will inspire action from all who interact with the brand. While the residents and businesses won’t typically know the brand mission or hear it stated, they will develop an understanding of it as they see it reflected in everything the community council does. For instance, it will be demonstrated in the way council meetings are run, in all communications and at events.
Exemplary community council values include: • All people should be treated with respect, fairness and dignity • Well-being can be enhanced by awareness and understanding of social policy and planning issues • Balancing preservation with development and use
longer brand missions don’t equate to better brand missions Brand missions should be clear and concise and use active language.
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cultivating brand values Brand values are the core principles or standards by which the community council is run. These values are the actual drivers in building an emotional connection within the community and bringing the brand mission to fruition. They are also the catalysts to branding tactics and act as benchmarks to measure behaviors and performance. When determining brand values, consider all of the community council’s audiences and stakeholders and select values the entire community can embrace, in both the present and the future. For instance, values should not be too strict or too vague. Although it is important that the values be aligned with the majority, remember that they can’t be all things to all people.
Exemplary community council statements include: • Our mission is to promote and enhance the interests, general welfare and quality of life for the community of Tierrasanta. • Th e mission of the community council is to foster an inviting, safe and vibrant environment for all residents and businesses. Members of the council are available to listen to any concerns with the goal of cultivating a positive and enriching experience for all community members. Above all, the community council strives to create a welcoming environment for all members of the community, to celebrate successes and promote respectful relationships among all.
religion and politics should never be included in the brand values Because a community consists of individuals with varying beliefs, brand values that include elements of religion or politics will produce divisions in the community.
implementing brand strategies and tactics Brand strategies and tactics work in tandem to achieve objectives. While the strategy provides an overview of the audience and the message, the tactics detail the specific tools or efforts that will be used to reach the end results. After a clear strategy is in place, determine the communication objectives that need to be achieved and then select the tactics best suited for reaching them.
objectives should align with the brand mission and values Refer to the brand mission and values in the development phase to ensure that all objectives, whether they are based on annual, quarterly or monthly periods, align with the brand mission and values.
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when developing tactics be sure to consider • The desired objective or result • The audience or stakeholder that is being reached • The resources available including experience, time and money • The evaluation measurements By taking the time to plan strategies, objectives and tactics, valuable resources can be spared and the end result will be stronger. The following are examples of an objective, strategy and associated tactics:
Exemplary objective: Increase awareness of the community council.
Exemplary Strategy: Inform and educate residents about the importance and benefits of the community council.
Exemplary Tactics: • Organize an open house • Go door-to-door using volunteers • Welcome new residents to the community • Develop a website • Place banners along major thoroughfares
show the support of salt lake city Salt Lake City recognizes that community councils are a key to the success of the City. Community councils can show the City’s support by proudly including the statement “a salt lake city community”on any materials that are produced.
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creating the message and design With all of the foundational branding elements in place, the message and design can be developed. It’s at this point that many people fall off the brand wagon. The message and creative design should not deviate from the brand mission, values, strategy and objectives, but rather should be the outward expression of each of those elements and should be geared towards speaking to the broader audience and not exclusively to the council.
consistency is key It’s easy to fall prey to clever messages and designs. Before succumbing to these, remember that the brand mission and values are there to provide guidance. If a message or design doesn’t support these, don’t use it.
When creating messaging, keep your communication to the point and clutter free—less is more. Trying to include every detail can overwhelm people and cause them to tune out the message. Tier the level of detail based on where the message will appear. For example, the limited space on a postcard requires a summary of the most important facts, while a website can show more detail. Similarly, too much input on what to say and how to say it can make the message ineffective. Since no two people are alike, no two opinions are either. Crafting designs and messages to include the opinions of each council member can be a frustrating exercise that will ultimately lead to an inferior end product. After gathering input from the council members, seek the help of a professional, or allow the most qualified individual to make the final decisions.
leverage people in the community If resources are not available for professional design services, look to the community to find volunteers with the skill set needed, but make provisions so that any work done can be easily transferred to another individual if the need arises.
summary Because the brand is a long-term representation of the community, and all marketing and communication efforts stem from it, careful consideration should be given to creating each element. Every message and design created after the initial brand is developed should align with the brand and work to accomplish its objectives.
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Building, Hosting and Managing an Online Presence website overview There are websites for almost everything these days. A websites purpose can range from being used for commerce to being purely informational or even a combination of both. But no matter why the website was created, it should be built to meet the needs of the end user. A website is an important tool for community councils because it can act as a central information hub for residents and businesses. Proper use of a website can also lower printing, postage and time expenditures. Although there are numerous ways to develop a website, this document will offer some points of consideration for creating a website tailored to the needs of the community council.
plan for the future Remember that the community council website needs to exist long-term. Develop a plan that allows for longevity in its production and management. at first, website lingo can sound like a foreign language A dictionary for common website terms can help translate the jargon used by developers. check one out
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types of websites The building of a website can be categorized into three levels. Each level will require various amounts of experience, time and resources and will meet different needs.
Level 1: Contained Environment A contained environment, like Facebook or Myspace, is a social and informational solution and is the easiest, and possibly the quickest to set up. However, customization for design, content and future expansion is limited and a unique domain name (i.e. yourcommunitycouncil.org) is not possible. A contained environment enables easy communication with residents, but its multi-way communication needs daily monitoring.
Example environments include: Facebook and MySpace YOU
EMAI L PAGE S LI NK S EVE NTS
COMM UNIT Y
Customization: Basic Features/Functionality: Basic Socialization: High Expertise to Develop: Low Expertise to Maintain: Low
getting started on facebook 1. Start by setting up a generic email address for the community council (i.e. email@example.com). This email address should be able to be accessed by multiple users. 2. Go to Facebook.com (Note: Make sure you are not currently logged into a Facebook account. If you are logged in, logout.) 3. Select the “Create a Page” option, click on “Company, Organization, or Institution” and select “Community Organization.” start here 4. Follow the setup instructions and reference the Help Center if questions arise. help is here
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Level 2: Software-Administered Environment A software administered environment is one that allows the creator to easily build a website, even when the creator has only minimal programming experience. The cost of this type of software ranges from free to expensive monthly subscription-based fees, and will sometimes require the purchase of additional low-cost website hosting services. Typically, this type of software has extensive help features to guide you through the process.
don’t be afraid of help Computer programs and software typically have a “Help” feature in the menu that can be a useful resource to provide clarification on different functions or tools. If the answer isn’t available there, an Internet search will likely help uncover the solution.
Designing these sites is simple because they utilize customizable templates, which are plentiful. While there are many free templates available, inexpensive options can also be purchased if one of the free versions isn’t a good match. Further customization can be made using HTML programming or plug-ins, which are pre-programmed components that provide a specific function. These are easy to install and available for numerous different functions. Some Software-administered environments include WordPress, Blogger, iWeb, Dreamweaver, Intuit Web services and Go Daddy’s WebSite Tonight®.
BU LK EM AIL
S U B CR IPT IOIN LIST
EVE N TS
PAG E S
CO MMU NIT Y
D OW N LOADS
Customization: Moderate Features/Functionality: Moderate Socialization: High Expertise to Develop: Low to moderate Expertise to Maintain: Low to moderate
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software has limits There is often a threshold for customization in software-administered environments and moving the website to a new platform is often out of the question.
Level 3: Programmed Environment A programmed environment provides the highest level of customization. However, creating it also requires the most experience with website design, navigation and programming. Programmers can use various types of languages, ranging from HTML to Flash, to develop a website and can build it on different types of platforms. The cost of a professionally programmed website can vary significantly.
D OM AIN SERVER
WE B D EV E LOPE R
WE B SE RV E R
CO M M UN I T Y
SU B SCRIB E R LIST
BU LK EM AI L
Customization: High Features/Functionality: High Socialization: Low to High Expertise to Develop: High Expertise to Maintain: Moderate to high
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always think long-term Make sure to think about the longevity of the website before it is programmed. Once the website is completed, how will updates be managed and is the management easily transferable?
choosing the right type of website Choosing which level of website to develop will likely be based on the resources available and the community council and residents’ overall needs. Below are a number of needs and features that may guide the decision. Please note that this list is not all-encompassing.
checklists for each website type NEED OR FEATURE
TYPE OF WEBSITE LEVEL 2
INFORMATIONAL ONLY MINIMAL OR NO PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM SOCIAL COMMUNICATION ENVIRONMENT REGISTRATION FORMS DOWNLOADABLE FILES (AGENDAS, MINUTES) ARCHIVAL OF INFORMATION (MINUTES, NEWSLETTERS) NUMEROUS PAGES UNIQUE DOMAIN (I.E. WEB ADDRESS) HOSTING SERVICES WEB SERVER/EMAIL SERVER EXTENSIVE DESIGN/PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE MINIMAL OR NO DESIGN EXPERIENCE TIGHT OR NO BUDGET FREQUENT UPDATES LONG-TERM/EASILY TRANSFERABLE SOLUTION FAST DEADLINE FUTURE SCALABILITY LITTLE TO NO SEARCH ENGINE EXPERIENCE IMAGE GALLERY SEVERAL EDITORS TIE-IN WITH THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS ECOMMERCE CAPABILITIES LEGEND AVAILABLE
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Designing and building a website is a very broad topic with many variables and is difficult to cover in its entirety. The guidance presented below provides a path to start on when establishing an online presence. Where applicable, links to more in-depth resources have been provided.
a well thought out plan and design can save valuable resources Resources used up front to develop a blueprint and design will save resources in the long run.
Level 1 Checklist: Contained Environment
[ [ [ [
[ [ [ [ [ [ [
] Create a generic and easily transferable email address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) ] Set up an account (i.e. Facebook page) ] Strategize content use ] Develop content valuable to the end-user and place the most important content first with the details following ] Diligently proof content ] Implement consistent branding (Note: This envrionment has limited branding capabilities) ] If desired, include “a salt lake city community” statement on the website ] Use a call to action for a newsletter/email subscription ] Show clear access to contact information ] Link to all social media channels ] Ensure all links work properly
mission and values don’t belong on the homepage Although the community council mission and values are important, they are mostly relevant to those running the community council. If necessary, these may be posted on the website, but shouldn’t be placed in a prominent location, i.e. on the homepage.
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Level 2 Checklist: Software-Administered Environment
[ ] Fulfill all checklist items for level 1 [ ]O btain a unique domain (Web address) and alternate versions (i.e. .org, .com, .net, hyphenations, misspellings) [ ] Secure hosting services [ ] Use or customize chosen theme template [ ] Implement branding [ ] Use consistent content layouts on all pages [ ] If desired, add the salt lake city header bar [ ] Redirect alternate domains to the preferred domain [ ] Keep the website free of paid ads such as Adwords [ ] Test all plug-ins [ ] Test website loading times (i.e. loads within 10 seconds on dial-up) [ ] Test e-commerce features for security (if applicable)
most paid hosting services come with free email services If you have paid hosting services look into using their email services too. This will allow for more consistency between your email and the website domain (i.e. email@example.com).
Level 3 Checklist: Programmed Environment
[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [
] Fulfill all checklist items for level 1 and level 2 ] Develop a navigational blueprint ] Design a template using website best practices ] Program website using the most appropriate language and platform ] Implement any third-party applications ] Optimize the website for search engines ] Develop error messages ] Ensure placement of proper alt tags and description text ] Develop and post a site map ] Check for architectural issues (i.e. robots.txt, doctypes and meta tags) ] Check for 508 compliance ] Test website in all Internet browsers and versions of the browsers ] Test website at various resolutions and screen widths ] Test login authentication (if applicable) ] Test forms
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reference an extensive website checklist before starting Pole Position Marketing has put together an all-encompassing checklist that will prove to be very helpful in your endeavor. check it out
summary Creating an online presence can be simple, with little or no programming experience required, or complicated. Consider the needs of the community council and the resources available to determine which option(s) are most suitable.
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Building, Hosting and Managing an Online Presence email communication overview Whether sending an announcement or a newsletter, community council email communication to residents and businesses is considered email marketing. Email marketing is an effective way to communicate with a larger base of individuals within a community. Even though community councils arenâ€™t selling a product, they are selling the services needed to bring local residents and businesses together to grow a tighter knit and continually improving community. Since most people send and receive emails regularly, it is easy to believe that using this tool for marketing is no different. Unfortunately, thatâ€™s not entirely true. There are some rules and techniques that should be followed to increase the effectiveness of this communication, and there are some services that make utilizing email for marketing a simpler process.
valuable content is key Developing and communicating valuable content is the key factor in the success of an email marketing campaign and will make the community councilâ€™s communications a sought-after source for information.
email marketing options available There are many options available for managing and distributing an email marketing campaign, and most can be categorized into three main groups. Each option has advantages and disadvantages depending on the overall needs and objectives.
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1. Online Email Marketing Services These services are typically intuitive, even for email marketing novices. They are affordable for just about any budget and their help centers are extensive. Best of all, the marketing services featured here are trusted by companies across the country—meaning communication sent from their email servers are likely not to be seen as spam and blocked.
the mayor’s office recommends constant contact The Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office uses and has had great success with Constant Contact.
2. Offline Email Marketing Software This option is considered “boxed software,” which is installed on a computer. Like its online counterpart, there are many offline options for email marketing software, many of which are easy to use. However, there is often a higher price tag for quality options in this category, and all require an email server and extensive IT experience to set up and maintain.
3. Basic Email Client Setting up contact groups and sending emails from standard services like Hotmail, Gmail and Outlook is simple and something that most people have experience with. The down side is that sending mass emails from these options will likely be viewed as spam and blocked or blacklisted. Also, developing and maintaining an email template that is properly branded may take a higher level of programming experience than available.
common email jargon Spam U nwanted and unsolicited bulk email messaging, often from commercial advertising. Whitelist
Authorized to send emails to a particular email server.
Blacklist U nauthorized to send emails to a particular email server, typically emails are blocked. Blocked
E mails blocked by email servers, never making it to the intended recipient.
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eight steps to starting an email marketing campaign Setting up an email marketing campaign is much easier than it sounds. Below are eight steps to help get a successful and long-term campaign up and running. 1. Set up a general email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) that can be accessible by multiple users and is transferable. 2. Create an account with a chosen online email marketing service. 3. D evelop an email and/or a newsletter template using pre-designed options or have a customized template made. There is typically a minimal fee for customization, but its branding power and longevity make it worthwhile. 4. Create an email list by uploading contacts. 5. Populate the email or newsletter template with quality and valued content. 6. Send the email or newsletter. 7. View reports to see the number of opens, click-thrus and forwards. 8. Continue the email marketing campaign, but be mindful not to over-communicate. Send at most one newsletter per month and as many announcements as necessary as long as they are newsworthy.
purchased email lists are likely to be viewed as spam and blocked Many of the trusted email services have forbidden the use of purchased email lists—one of the many reasons they are a trusted service. It is best to generate a contact list of residents and businesses within the community council’s area.
developing valued content Developing relevant and useful content—the text, images, graphs, etc.—for any communication piece is crucial. Making the effort to write effectively is well worth the time—especially because residents and businesses will often decide whether or not to read future communications based on the value of the first piece they receive. Bear in mind the following things when writing newsletters, announcements and other community council communications: Newsworthy Content: Always write with the audience in mind. Limit information to what the reader will deem as newsworthy, relevant and of value.
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Snappy Headlines: Write 65 to 70 character headlines that catch the attention of the reader. Concise Information: Be mindful of length. Write short powerful messages using a friendly tone. The average person reads only 200 words a minute, so a 600-word story will take three minutes of the reader’s already time-crunched schedule and may lose their attention. For perspective, the average online and email news release is only 250 words. Tiered Messaging: Structure the message in levels with the key points and expected actions at the top, followed by the less important details and ending with a call to action. This format allows readers to learn the most important details quickly even if they don’t take the time to read the entire piece.
link out to the full story For email marketing it is wise to put the key points in the email and link out to the full story on the community council’s website.
Active Voice: Use an active voice when writing—it will make the story more inviting and help the reader move through it quickly. Reading Level: Write to a 5th grade reading level to ensure widespread readership from a diverse community. Points of Interest: Liven up the content with relevant quotes, steps, tips, graphs and images. Use examples the reader can relate to. Proof: Diligently proof the content for accuracy, spelling and grammar. A poorly written piece will quickly lead to abandonment in the short- and long-term.
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keep these things in mind when writing • Don’t use all caps in subject lines • Be sensitive to using personal information • Avoid overusing exclamation points • Refrain from using clichés • Don’t overwhelm the reader with stats
summary Every communication with residents and others, whether verbal, printed or presented electronically, makes an impression and should be thought through carefully. Messages should be concise, relevant and interesting, keeping the reader engaged and the lines of communication open for future dialogue.
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references Wilson, Laurie J., & Ogden, Joseph D. (2008). A Matrix Approach to Public Relations and Marketing (3rd ed.). Brigham Young University: University Press.
Pole Position Marketing. The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. Retrieved 2011, May 17, from http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/library/ebooks/web-marketing-checklist.pdf
Phipps, Brian. (2008, February 8). Brands Create Customers. Message posted to http://tenayagroup.com/blog/2008/02/08/how-to-define-the-brand-mission/
Brandchannel. Brand Platform. Retrieved 2011, May 17, from http://www.brandchannel.com/education_glossary.asp#BrandPlatform
Merriam-Webster. Various definitions retrieved 2011, May 17, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary
A S ALT L AKE C ITY
Download the logo from www.slcgov.com/citizen/comm_councils/bestprac.htm
The header bar will be available for download shortly.
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Proud Supporter of
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