Design Compelling Marketing
Clear, targeted messaging can help drive increased participation from more families and elevate the importance of summer meals in your community. Use this opportunity to highlight the ways you are going above and beyond to serve fresh, healthy meals that feature locally grown produce.
Tips for successfully marketing and promoting your summer meals program:
Remember the basics. In all your messaging, include the name of who is offering summer meals, when and where they are available, and the fact that they are free of cost to all children in the community.
Design cohesive branding and imagery. Work with your district, partners, or regional coalition to design cohesive branding and imagery. Successful marketing requires recognizable, consistent imagery and concise messaging that will resonate with your constituents. Consider your community demographics when choosing imagery and language to ensure that they are effective and culturally appropriate.
Celebrate with events. Form partnerships with local government, businesses, nonprofits, and media to help you host events throughout the summer that create awareness and increase participation from the community. Successful midday or evening events can include festive picnics or barbecues featuring local celebrities, musicians, and farmers. Bring together local vendors and health care providers and consider offering arts activities, games, or other family services.
Diversify marketing tactics. Consider utilizing various school and community-based marketing strategies. Schools can make announcements toward the end of the year, schedule robocalls to parents, send emails to parents, and send flyers home with students. When summer meals begin, make sure your sites are identifiable from the street and that dates and times of operation are posted clearly. Eye-catching banners, ads, and flyers with summer meals messaging can be placed throughout your community in areas that are highly trafficked by families.
Connect with local media. Issue media advisories and invite local print, television, and radio journalists to your events. Send a press release to local media before the start of your program. In that press release, discuss the benefits of summer meals and include site dates and times along with quotes from community stakeholders, such as elected officials or business leaders. Call or email your local news reporters to garner additional coverage that promotes your program.
Utilize social media and advertising. Take full advantage of free platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the word out. Use eye-catching graphics, high-quality photos, and clear language to capture the attention of parents and students alike. Partner with community organizations to cross-promote events and magnify your social media impact. If you have a marketing budget, consider investing a modest amount in targeted advertising. Most platforms have parent and family audiences identified for every city or zip code in your district.