November 2, 2018

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director’s Desk – Who We Are

As this edition of the Pellet Wire is being distributed the Pellet Fuels Institute board of directors will be convening in Indianapolis.Our board chairman, Don Wagner, and I have been working on, discussing, and planning our agenda for over two months. In advance of this meeting, Don asked every board member to prepare a short list (no more than three) of priorities that they feel were the most important for the PFI to concern itself with. Our goal is to reach as close to a broad consensus within the board on three strategic imperatives that we set our association’s efforts towards.

While I’m going to allow the discussion and debate to unfold before sharing the top 3, I am happy to report that promoting the pellet option is the clear front-runner. This has been the organization’s mantra since about February and formed the basis of what we talked about in Nashville at the HBPExpo. Our members have universally embraced the idea that without more stove sales, the market opportunity for wood pellet producers is unlikely to increase. Yes, the BBQ market is boosting demand grill by grill, but simple bar napkin math shows that one stove sale is as good as over 30 grill sales in terms of pellet demand generated. Placing this priority at the top of our list is the easy part. Developing a tactical strategy, enlisting industry partners (appliance manufacturers, retailers) and building an operating budget that puts some arrows in our quiver is where the work comes in and again we’re just talking about our top and least controversial priority.

Still, this is our mandate. My goal is to work with the board to identify three priorities that we are confident we’ll be able to hang our hats on even five years from now and drive into the operation of our association at every level. These priorities should inform how I spend my time, what our committees spend their time on, what we discuss when we gather, who our strategic partners are and what we need and want from them. These priorities should resonate strongly not only with our current members, but also those wood pellet producers out there serving the domestic market who are not currently participating members.

I’d like to close by thanking our board for joining me in Indianapolis. Anyone working in this space knows this is a busy time of year and I’m humbled by everyone’s commitment to being there.

- Tim Portz
Executive Director

Social Media Beta Test FAQs

There’s still some time to reserve your spot in the PFI Social Media Beta Test! Please be in touch with Tim as soon as possible if you’re interested in signing up or learning more. 

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 audiences that are receptive to pellet fuels while promoting pellets. Messages that encourage consumers to further explore wood pellets as a home-heating option may include but are not limited to:

  • The economic advantage of wood pellets over other fuel options
  • The ambiance 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.

 1. What is the ultimate goal of the sponsored content?

Sponsored content will target social media users who may not be aware of wood pellets for home heat. 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 the program cover these expenses?

Yes. The cost of the program covers both a monthly ad budget of $100 for a four-month campaign and the cost of implementing the program. The cost for the full four-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—the 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.

*The social media beta program is open to manufacturer members only. 

Photo of the Week - Energex

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 is from Kenny Lisle with Energex. 

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

Northport School District’s New Wood Pellet Boiler Part of Pilot Project Supporting Bioenergy, Rural Economies
Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources

A carbon-neutral wood pellet boiler will soon provide heat for students and staff at a school in Northport, thanks to a bioenergy pilot project supported by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Washington State Department of Commerce, and the Washington State University Energy Program.
The project on Northport's preschool-through-12th-grade campus is the first time the state has funded the installation of a wood pellet boiler in a public building and is part of a larger effort to promote the wood-energy industry in Washington.
Supporting the bioenergy industry is a component of DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan, which aims to restore 1.25 million acres of unhealthy forests in Washington. In addition to taking actions to increase forest health and decrease the risk of catastrophic wildfires, the plan calls for using forest restoration and management strategies as an economic catalyst in rural communities, such as turning wood byproducts into pellets.
“Demand exists for bioenergy, and we want that industry and its jobs right here in Washington, including in our rural timber communities,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the head of DNR. “From timber byproducts that would otherwise get burned or thrown away, we can create cleaner and more efficient fuels to heat our homes, businesses and public places.”

Read Full Article

Report Shows Economic Benefit of Modern Wood Heating in Maine
Biomass Magazine

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service recently released a report documenting the economic and environmental benefits of heating community, commercial and institutional buildings with modern wood chip and wood pellet technology and fuels produced in Maine.

The Maine Forest Service analyzed the use of wood fuels in calendar year 2017 in hospitals, campuses, schools, municipal buildings and private businesses across the state. In the last 10 years, over 100 new installations have been made, nearly always replacing imported heating oil.

Read Full Article

Firewood Suppliers Struggle to Keep up with Mainers’ Burning Hot Demand
Portland Press Herald

Read Full Article

Pellet Fuels Institute

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