It’s a strange time to be a political candidate these days. With COVID-19 and the #BlackLivesMatter Protests taking place in cities and communities all over the United States, the rules of civic engagement are literally being re-written daily.
Is it okay to canvas neighborhoods?
Is it okay to schedule fundraisers?
Is it okay to share your opinions on political issues on Facebook?
Ask five different consultants, and you are sure to get five different answers.
Here’s what I know.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Campaigns are about momentum and campaigns that have it, tend to beat the ones that don’t. If you want to be successful in politics, you have to start building momentum at every opportunity.
How you ask?
Well, at VOTEGTR, we work with campaigns all over the United States, and we are very fortunate to have visibility into a wide variety of campaign operations at every level. We’ve seen cool stuff that works, and we’ve seen silly things that don’t. Fortunately, we like to share what we know with the candidates we work with. Crazy, huh?
Here’s two quick things candidates are doing right now to build momentum and show energy in the Summer of 2020.
1) Give the Voters what they want. Ha. Easy right? Well, first you have to know what they want. Your local pollster can help you gauge what issues are top of mind within your district. Once you know which issues are motivating vote choices, your campaign can carefully craft its positions. Need an experienced pollster that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg? We can provide you with recommendations of reputable firms we like and respect.
From there, the VOTEGTR team can help your campaign staff create a social media plan that drives your message on the issues and puts it in front of key targeted voters. A static post on Facebook is a good start, but every candidate, regardless of your ballot position, should be investing in video messaging like this so that you can ensure total visibility and reach.
As a medium, data is showing video to be preferred by both the social media algorithms and individual users alike. Campaigns that invest in video messaging will be rewards on Election Day over those that do not.
2) Optimize your website. Holy cow, is this important! It amazes me how many candidates fail to recognize the potential of their website.
Website functionality falls into two main categories – 1) User Experience and 2) Messaging.
A proper analysis of your site’s functionality will enable you to ensure your website visitors are able to do and find what they want to do and find on your web pages.
Whether it is making a donation, filling out a volunteer form, or seeing the button that takes them to the events page, these click path items need to be optimized. Just think about it….if 10% of your website’s traffic failed to donate because the button is in a strange place, what impact does that have on your online fundraising?
Fortunately, VOTEGTR can work with your team to study how your users actually use your website. This enables us to set up optimization tests and ultimately, use real data to improve the performance of your landing pages. In a close election, an optimization strategy is a no-brainer.
Similarly, if your website doesn’t articulate your candidate’s value prop appropriately or simply portrays your candidate poorly, this can be a huge problem.
For example, if 25% of your website’s visitors leave before reading anything about your candidate’s background or leave with a negative impression based on something they read, what is the effect on your campaign’s potential?
VOTEGTR can help candidates refine their website’s messaging from a design perspective. After years of testing landing page efficacy, we know how to present headlines, sub-headlines, text, and imagery that presents political candidates in the best light possible.
Bonus) Okay, this one is extra. One activity we love to implement for our clients involves using social media to draw users back to an issue survey that appears on an optimized landing page.
Have questions about an issue and want to use it to spark debate? There is no better way than to ask people for their opinions online, while at the same time asking them for their name, address, phone number, and email address.
Not only will you receive their opinions on the issues you ask about, but you’ll have instant growth of your email newsletter list.
These are just three items that came to mind during the writing of this blog article. At VOTEGTR, we have a long list of digital strategies and tactics that can help your campaign raise money and engage voters. If your campaign needs some help kicking your digital campaign into high gear this summer, give us a call.
Sean Murphy is the CEO and Founder of VOTEGTR, a digital media service that provides websites and digital advertising to political candidates, political action committees, and ballot initiatives in the United States.