Running for political office is hard work from start to finish, but unfortunately, there are many mistakes a candidate can make online before they even launch their campaign that will be difficult to correct as time goes on.
There are so few moments that you control in your campaign and one of those is the launch. You won’t get another opportunity to generate the attention and enthusiasm that comes along with a campaign launch.
Here’s a look at common mistakes and how to avoid them:
A Logo That’s Not Up for the Task
Your logo is important because most voters will never meet you in person, but they’ll encounter your logo, but not enough candidates think about all of the different use cases for their logo: from social media icon, to yard sign, to TV ads and beyond, your campaign’s visual representation will serve a lot of purposes.
Make sure your logo is designed with these locations in mind. Is it recognizable when shrunken for online uses? Is it legible from a long distance on a yard sign or other outdoor use?
A Campaign URL Not Optimized for Search
Your domain name is another key part of your campaign’s branding. Candidates should always try to get their name as a .com whenever possible. If that’s taken, always make sure you have your full name somewhere in the domain and as a .com to ensure better ranking in search results.
A Domain Name that Doesn’t Appear in Search
Another frequent mistake is keeping the website dark until the moment of launch. This prevents Google and other search engines from finding and indexing your page which means when your supporters are searching for your site after you launch, they won’t be able to find it and it could be days before your site begins to appear on the results page.
Create a simple, blank html file with your site’s page name and host it on your domain for a few weeks before you launch. When you’re ready to go live with the website, you’ll be able to switch it over with ease.
A Bad Email Sender Reputation
Your sender reputation is one of the factors that determines whether your email reaches an inbox or goes to spam. Since you’re likely a new sender, you won’t have a reputation associated with your domain, so you’ve got to start small.
Going from sending 0 to 5,000 emails in a single day is activity internet providers and email platforms would associate with a spammer, so if you’ve got a list you want to send information to at launch, start by sending to a few hundred, then send to a few more, and so on, until you’ve reached your entire list. Otherwise, you risk damaging you and your domain name’s reputation as an email sender
Also make sure your email copy always has a link for an opener to click on with a clear call to action because engagement is a key factor in your reputation as well.
An Expensive Website that Doesn’t Do the Job
More candidates need to embrace the “minimum viable product” approach with their campaign websites. Start small with something that tells voters who you are, how they can help, and where they can donate.
Once you’ve got these basics mastered you can iterate to a more complex website. It’s too easy to spend a lot of money and time on a website that doesn’t need what your campaign needs it to do.
No Email Capture on Your Website
For example, if your website doesn’t have a form for supporters to enter their email on every single page, you’re missing out on hundreds of critical opportunities to convert site visitors into email subscribers who will hopefully eventually become donors.
No Retargeting Codes
Even if you have no plan or budget to advertise online with platforms like Facebook and Google, make sure you launch your site with their free retargeting pixels already installed. This will enable you to advertise to users who have visited your sites when they use Facebook or sites that use Google’s ad platform. It’s a tactic called retargeting and you want to build your audience as early as possible.
A Missing or Badly Setup Donation Page
You’ll have a lot of supporters who are very enthusiastic on day one and if you don’t have a donation page ready to go, or it’s not configured properly, you’ll miss out on thousands of dollars in donations.
An Expensive Launch Video with No Distribution Budget
Most campaign launches are happening with a video and candidates may spend thousands of dollars with their consultants to produce these, but if you don’t have a distribution plan behind the video, it’s all for nothing.
When you budget for this video, make sure you have money set aside for paid promotion on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You should also have a strong organic strategy in place because nothing moves unless pushed and going viral is a myth.
One of the reasons we decided to make Best Practice Digital so affordable at just $250 a month is so candidates take advantage of our help early, before they launch their campaigns so we can help you avoid these common mistakes.