Get the Word out! Reaching Study Participants
by Angela Lao
Back in the spring and summer, Inciter conducted focus groups in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. to gather feedback on marketing tools that were being developed by a client for ours for their public health campaign, which was focused on eating behaviors.
As an intern at Inciter, I was tasked with helping to recruit participants for this project, and I was eager to find any method that would attract as many participants as possible. Ultimately our team used several techniques that together were successful! In this blog I wanted to share some tips and techniques that I found to be most helpful.
Finding your best method(s) to get the word out!
Posting Flyers: Make sure you have an eye-catching image and event details in large font for people to see. Be sure to post these flyers around corners of high traffic, walkways, or any public transportation stops to maximize the flyers’ visibility. You could even make flyers with tear off tabs with your organization’s name and contact information.
Social Media and Beyond: Social media sites are a great way to start getting the word out – for example, Facebook and Twitter advertisements can reach many people. However, advertisements should also be posted on other websites to reach those who are not as social media savvy. Instead, I turned to other community event websites, but often these websites have postings for recreational events such as festivals or concerts, rather than announcements for a public health focus group.
Key Words: To find the best pages for advertisements, look up the following key words: ‘community calendar’, ‘submit an event’, or ‘event calendar’ for the city you are interested in. These will often lead to you to community announcement pages, event calendars, and event management websites – this is what you want! News channel event calendars, any city-based event websites, and even Craigslist are surprising, but great websites for online postings. You can even make your event on Eventbrite to attract more participants, and you can share this event link on the post.
Create Your Post: Start with an informative title. For this project, I used “Public Health Focus Group Looking for Paid Participants” or “Paid Participants for a Johns Hopkins Study”. Then, write out what you want to say about your event. Dates, times, locations, and contact information are all important information for potential participants. Be sure to capitalize, underline, or bold any important pieces of information. For the posts, I often capitalized “PAID OPPORTUNITY”, “PARTICIPANTS WILL RECEIVE”, and underlined important information such as the time and location of the focus group.
Add an Eye-Catching Image: People are usually drawn to the image before reading an event description, so make sure your image is eye catching. Go for colorful pictures related to the subject of the focus group that will get people’s attention. For example, our images had pictures of a meal or colorful fruits to draw viewers in.
A last thought, for once you put your postings together… A lot of event websites must approve the event before posting it on their website. These ones are usually hit or miss – keep in mind that these postings might not go through so be sure to submit the events to many websites.
Have fun, play around with images, and good luck with your posts!
Check out the examples from our focus group project below: