July 27, 2018

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

Seeking Hearth Retailers for Social Media Beta Test

Sponsor a customer today. There are limited spots available and we are gearing up for pellet season so don't wait sign up! 

The Pellet Fuels Institute Promotions & Communications committee is seeking sponsorships for a social media beta test occurring during the 2018-19 heating season. The program is designed to test the use of social media to increase consumer awareness of heating with wood pellets within specific market areas. Participants will have social media messages generated by PFI staff and delivered to selected consumers in their market area via existing retailer Facebook and Instagram platforms. 

How it works:

  1. A Pellet Fuels Institute producer member identifies and sponsors a specialty hearth retailer willing to participate in the beta test and sponsors their participation. The price to sponsor a retailer is $1,500. This fee covers a four-month advertising budget and PFI's administrative costs.
  2. To participate, the specialty retailer must have or be willing to create Facebook and Instagram profiles.
  3. PFI staff and contractors will create and post content targeted to social media users within a 25-mile radius of the retailer. The posts will be intended to increase both the consumer's awareness of wood pellets as a home heating source and the specialty retailer as a resource for purchasing pellet appliances.
  4. PFI staff will work with the retailer throughout the duration of the program to align content with special promotions at their locations while also working through the strategic messages developed by the Pellet Fuels Institute.
  5. PFI staff will mine the social media platform analytics to determine which of the tested messages were most effective with selected audiences.

What we're hoping to learn:

The program is being developed to efficiently enable the PFI to test a small number of pro-pellet messages with actual consumers across the pellet using geographies of the United States. Social media advertising enables us to test messages and identify receptive pellet fuels audiences while promoting the pellet option. Messages the encourage consumers to further explore wood pellets as a home heating option may include but are not limited to:

  • Economic advantage of wood pellets over other fuel options
  • Ambience of a cozy wood fire without a fireplace
  • Ease of use of a pellet appliance; no need to haul logs
  • Heat Local. Using wood pellets for home heat helps the local economy.
  • Wood pellets are an environmentally preferable, low-carbon, renewable home heat option.
  • Wood pellets play an important role in sustainable forest management.

How to Participate:

The program is available to producer members on a first-come-first-served basis. There are ten sponsorships available. Please send an email to [email protected] with the subject line "WILLING TO SPONSOR" to reserve your sponsorship today.

Important Dates:

July 27 - Registration Opens

August 8 - Participant Webinar

August 20 - Beta test begins

December 20 - Beta test ends

We look forward to working with you all to build visibility for pellet heating! Thank you for your support. 

Social Media Beta Test FAQs
1.  What is the ultimate goal of the sponsored content?

Sponsored content will target new social media users who may not be aware of the heating with wood pellets. Whereas a business can create posts that its followers will see, and boost the post beyond that audience to some extent, sponsored content will identify potentially receptive new audiences and target them multiple times. Sponsored content also enables us to test our ads and messages, and monitor stats like how many times our content is being seen or attracts engagement. In a recent test with a retailer in Pennsylvania, we were able to reach 30,000 Facebook and Instagram users an average of 2.5 times each.

 2. I've heard there is a cost to post sponsored content on both Facebook and Instagram. Does the cost of program cover these expenses?

Yes. The cost of the program covers both a monthly ad budget of $100 for a 4-month campaign and the cost for implementing the program. The cost for the full 4-month beta test is $1500; the pellet fuels manufacturer and retailer are welcome to split that cost in any way.

 3. Will my brand have a presence on any of the sponsored ads?

This campaign is designed to raise awareness of pellet heating among receptive consumers, and to send them to a knowledgeable local expert who can guide them through the purchase of a pellet appliance. During this beta test, we will be featuring the logos and websites of the featured local hearth and patio retailer wherever possible. We encourage pellet fuels manufacturers who are sponsoring retailers to work with those retailers to highlight your brand at the point of sale as a preferred or recommended pellet fuels manufacturer.

 4. Why do I need to involve a specialty hearth retailer? Why can't I just promote my brand with this beta test?

To create a new pellet fuels customer, that customer must first own a pellet appliance. With this campaign, we are seeking to introduce fresh, new consumers to the benefits of pellet heating. Hearth and patio retailers are on the front lines of selling appliances, so we want to a) introduce the concept of pellet heating to consumers and b) send them to someone who can advise them on installation.

 5. What images will be used in the sponsored posts?

We welcome all images of pellet fuels appliances and are happy to use photos supplied by the retailer. Our preference is for retailers to supply promotional photos of the products that they sell from the manufacturer. If promotional photos are unavailable, we will choose from the images that we've already collected. It's important that we feature photos of pellet appliances in an array of home environments so that viewers will be able to picture an appliance in their home.

 6. My retail partner already uses both Facebook and Instagram for their business. Can they keep up with their other social media efforts while the PFI campaign is underway?

Absolutely. We enthusiastically encourage regular Facebook and Instagram activity during the campaign - both for pellet appliances and for other merchandise the retailer may carry. The more visibility, the better. We also plan to work with each retailer's social media manager to re-post some of our ad content during the campaign.

 7. My retailer would like to use this opportunity to highlight special offers for wood pellets and  pellet appliances. Is this program flexible enough to allow for that?

Certainly. We urge each retailer to provide us with a special offer for pellet appliances that we can feature in our ads. We can feature a new offer each month, or keep up the same offer throughout the season.

 8. What kind of information will I and my retail partner be able to see during the test?

We will share monthly reports that show the key stats of the campaign - including audience reach, clicks, post engagement (likes or scrolling through a slideshow, for instance), and more data.

 9. How will we measure success for the program?

Our ultimate goal is to promote the sales of pellet appliances, making progress toward Operation 100K. We'll measure success in several ways - number of people reached, engagement with our ads, and retailer leads. If we are able to replicate our initial test from this summer in each of the selected markets, we will reach 250,000 or more social media users. We will also ask our retailers to keep track of how many leads they get from Facebook or Instagram and to report these numbers

Send Us Photos!
Energex's Adam Becker and Tim Portz entertaining the crowd at the reception, at the PFI Annual Conference

We're building a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills, and product. Send them to Carrie Annand at [email protected]. This week's featured photo from the PFI Annual Conference shows Energex's Adam Becker and Tim Portz entertaining the crowd at the reception. 

Become a 2018 PFI Sponsor in August

Don't miss the opportunity to sponsor PFI to reap the benefits for the rest of the year! Sponsorship at all levels brings many perks, along with exposure for your company to the pellet fuels industry. By signing up to sponsor the association early in 2018, you will reap the benefits throughout the coming year. 

The 2018 sponsorship packages options include benefits such as:

  • Company logo listed on the PFI website
  • Weekly newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

PFI's membership list includes more than 100 companies, and the Pellet Wire, our electronic newsletter, is sent to close to 2,000 subscribers every week. Now is the time to become a sponsor of this organization. Visit our website to explore how you can become involved.

Follow PFI on Twitter, Friend Us on Facebook, and Connect with Us on LinkedIn 

We'd like to connect and interact with PFI members and anyone else involved in pellet fuels production! 

Here's how you can help us build our online community:

  1. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Carrie Annand news or other ideas to post on LinkedIn.

Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! We want to be the first to know your company's recent developments to share them with the wider pellet fuels industry.

Please be in touch with Carrie Annand with information on your company's growth, job openings, promotions, or other news. 

Join a PFI Committee

We welcome and encourage all interested PFI members to get involved in our committees. There are many opportunities to help steer the association. No matter where your expertise and interests lie, we have a committee that will suit you. Help us plan our next conference, shape our policy agenda, lead communications outreach, or grow the PFI Standards Program. Visit PFI's website for more information. 

Upcoming Industry Events

March 14 - 16, 2019: HPBA Expo 2019

June 4 - 6, 2019: 2019 PFI Annual Conference 

Connect with PFI

Join PFI

Fuel Availability

Are you a PFI member, pellet manufacturer, or distributor that has fuel available? Email [email protected] to have your listing updated or added to the PFI website.

Industry News

Growing and Grilling: The Annual PFI Conference in Review 
Biomass Magazine

Two major themes dominated the 2018 Pellet Fuels Institute Annual Conference June 24-26 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Operation 100K, the organization’s mission to boost domestic sales of residential pellet stoves to 100,000 units a year; and the importance of barbeque pellets to increase sales and pellet awareness. Powerpoint presentations were scarce, as the affair was rather conversational in tone with loosely structured panels led by Tim Portz, who joined PFI as executive director six months prior. 

Since joining PFI, Portz has visited pellet and stove retailers and producers of wood pellets. He said the U.S. has 13 million tons of installed wood pellet production capacity with PFI members representing 4.14 million tons. Single-factory PFI membership capacity is roughly 1.67 million tons, Portz said, while 2.47 million tons of capacity is represented by multisite producers. “Our organization represents seven different multisite producers,” he said. The capacity of members whose products are certified to the PFI quality standard is 3.21 million tons, while the capacity of members not a part of the standards program is 668,400 tons. Certified capacity of nonmembers, according to Portz, approaches 610,000 tons. 

Read Full Article

The Godfather of Pellet Grills Becomes a Pit Boss 
Hearth & Home

Pit Boss Grills (Dansons, Inc.) is announcing a new patnership with BBQ Bob, an unofficial "BBQ Celebrity" and the man credited as being the Godfather of Pellet Grills. Born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri, Bob found his barbecue roots early on, and helped create the barrel lid that pellet grills are known for today. Not only has BBQ Bob won many a BBQ competition, he has also cooked at a legislative picnic, championed pellet grills into the future, and helped raise national awareness for the pellet grill segment.

"I am proud to be a part of a company that is helping make a 200-year-old tradition available to everyone," said Bob. "Not only are Pit Boss Grills Bigger, Hotter, Heavier than other pellet grills out there, but the company has a solid foundation in family and friendship."

Read Full Article

Vermont Group Hopes to Fire up Wood Boiler Industry 
VT Digger

Renewable energy advocates are pushing a 21st century upgrade to an ancient technology — wood heating — as as a way to meet Vermont’s renewable energy goals while revitalizing the state’s struggling forest economy.

Susan Clark purchased a pellet boiler a few years ago to replace an aging oil furnace at her central Vermont home. At a press conference Tuesday, Clark said the lower cost of wood pellets compared to the oil she had been using will eventually make up for the almost $20,000 price tag for the purchase and installation of the boiler.

Advanced wood heating systems — pellet boilers and stoves, and wood chip boilers — produce significantly less air pollution while generating heat more efficiently than their traditional wood stove counterparts. Clark said that heating with a wood pellet boiler has “all the advantages of oil in that a truck comes to your house twice a year and you’ve got fuel” with none of the dust associated with wood stoves.

She pointed to a hole on the side of her house where delivered pellets are sucked through a pipe into a storage tank in her basement. They are then automatically fed into the boiler to heat her house.

Read Full Article

Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected] | (206) 209-5277 | www.pelletheat.org