Why We Went to the County Fair

Last month, we decided to see if we could sign up residents with a booth at the Burke County, NC county fair (Burke County is a Hyper-Reach client.)  We learned a lot about getting citizens signed up for emergency alerts, lessons that can be put to good use by any agency trying to get more folks registered.  Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Give something away in exchange.  We tripled registrations by offering an inexpensive prize ($64 at Wal-Mart).
  2. Emphasize the word “FREE”.  Many people assumed we were charging for the service, which was our mistake.  When we made it clear that the cost of emergency alerts was paid by the county, we eliminated that problem.
  3. People may think they are signed up when they are not.  There are so many alert services (especially weather) we thought there was a lot of confusion.
  4. A web form is not enough.  We offered folks three ways to sign up at the booth: our new text-based sign up process, a paper form and the web.  No one used the web, but many used the other two.

Since wireless phones are so important (even people with landlines told us they don’t use them much), registration is critical.  So we’ve put together a “registration kit” with all of the materials we’ve developed so far.  Send us an email if you want a copy.  Burke Fair 2


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