Can Onsite Wastewater Associations Help You Boost Business?

A state onsite association sets the standard for marketing the septic industry.
Can Onsite Wastewater Associations Help You Boost Business?
O2WA has two billboards located near Eugene and Corvallis, Ore. (Photos courtesy of O2WA)

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If you haven’t driven through the Beaver State lately, now might be the time to swing through. Two billboards advertising the Oregon Onsite Wastewater Association (O2WA) display the catchy “Got Septic?” phrase to attract consumers to its website.

“The whole idea is to add some value to what our members pay for their association membership,” says O2WA president Robb Barnes.

“We want to direct consumers to the website where they can get a list of members if they have septic questions.”

The association has seen an increase in website traffic since the billboards went up about three months ago, says Barnes. The three-month contracts for the two sites will end soon, but board members have agreed to do them again and are looking at other possible locations.

Outside the box

Board members chose the placement of the billboards based on population density, among other things. “We thought about sites along the major interstate corridor that are kind of costly, but then we realized that most the people going up and down that are just passing through,” says Barnes. “We decided to go more localized in sites where we have a high percentage of rural residents.”

O2WA has stretched itself to look outside the box in terms of marketing. “What we’re trying to do is two-fold,” says Barnes. “First, we want to increase the value of members’ dues by directing folks to them. And second, we want to raise awareness of the industry within the public.

“One of the biggest things that all of us in the industry wrestle with is a lack of education among consumers. All of their grandpas lived on septic tanks and never pumped them for 35 years. So they think, ‘Why do I need to maintain something that’s out of sight when my toilet still flushes?’”

The billboards have drawn attention from industry professionals as well as septic consumers. “We had one person who was thinking about buying a place out in the country that was on a septic system,” says Barnes. “Once they found out there was an organization of professionals that they could deal with, they were much more comfortable doing that.”

O2WA also promotes members and industry education by sponsoring booths at home shows. The organization buys the space, a local pumping company provides the materials, and members sign up to work the booth along with a board member. This gives association members direct contact with potential customers. “It is an excellent opportunity to educate consumers and the trickle down benefit definitely pays off,” says Barnes. King’s Pumping, Barnes’ septic company, built a model septic tank for the home shows.

Check out the O2WA website for more information. 


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