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Marketing the Program

Marketing transportation programs can be an effective way of building ridership and community buy-in. This is especially true for newer programs that do not have an existing user network in place. Most transportation programs will have partnerships with other community organizations. Effective marketing of services can help build new partnerships and coordinate services between the organizations.

Oftentimes, community members may not be aware of a transportation service or may not be fully educated on how to use the services. Information on eligibility, cost, hours, and other critical details should be widely disseminated so all potential users may utilize the service.

When designing marketing materials and campaigns, program planners should consider the target audience and population to ensure the message is reaching the right audience. Marketing the program can be done through:

  • Websites
  • Social media
  • Local publications or newspapers
  • Printed signs and banners
  • Other communication channels

The marketing method should be culturally-competent and appropriate to the community the program serves. In addition, another key element of marketing a program is tapping into community partnerships. Connecting with other programs and organizations to let their audiences know about your program's services can be an important way to gain valuable referrals.

Potential challenges that may arise when marketing a program include issues of awareness and perceptions of the existing service. There may be transportation services available in the community; however, the public perception may be that the service is intended only for clients of a specific agency, program or population. When marketing programs, it is important to make sure the public understands who the program serves.

Resources to Learn More

Marketing Transit Toolkit
Website
This toolkit includes templates for creating marketing materials for transportation programs and also provides a step-by-step guide on creating a rural transit marketing plan.
Organization(s): National Rural Transit Assistance Program

Website Builder Version 2
Website
This tool, meant for rural transit providers, allows users to build their own website with an easy-to-use starting guide and a website template specific for transportation programs.
Organization(s): National Rural Transit Assistance Program