GAINING TRUST AND ACCESS
Use the Internet and Social Media: Your department’s website is the logical first step for promoting your program at very low cost. Create a link on your website for residents to learn about the program and schedule an appointment. Provide a phone number and include an online form for the resident to fill out. Because the number may generate a large call volume, it would be better for the number to be separate from the direct line to your department headquarters. Consider that people in high-risk homes may not be as connected as others. Ask the representatives from the community the best way to communicate.
Social media outreach can expand your reach and the impact of your home visit program. Learn more about tapping into these powerful communication tools. If you have a fire department blog or newsletter, be sure to provide information about the home visit program to the editor. Some community public health education programs have successfully used text messaging.
Paid Promotion: Depending on your budget, paid advertisements can reach a large television, radio and newspaper audience. Billboards and transit placard ads also achieve high exposure – and owners may be willing to donate the space to you especially if they are program partners. You can also pay for ads through social media outlets to increase your reach. A portable reader board sign is an inexpensive way to advertise when placed in a location with a high volume of traffic, such as sporting and special events, malls, or major intersections.
Public Relations: If your department has a public information officer (PIO), work together to create a media campaign. Well-orchestrated outreach can net earned media coverage that will underscore the need for home visits in your service area and also publicize the dates of the program.
Unpaid Promotion: There are many other ways to promote your home visit program at no cost. Local print shops may help you create signage as well as flyer and ad artwork. By negotiating with your local media outlets, you may be able to acquire donated television and radio announcements and print public service ad placements. Local schools, libraries, child- and senior-centers, businesses and clergy may work with you to distribute flyers with the information and post signs and posters in windows.
Tip: In a classic study in Portland, Oregon, a survey of a low income, high-risk area found that virtually all of the people living there visited at least one of four types of places every week: food store, bank, liquor store and/or church. Placards in just these premises could reach virtually everyone at least once, and sometimes several times in a week.