Digital is unique amongst other campaign disciplines because it touches so many different functions, including communications, data, voter contact, and fundraising. In fact, the biggest challenge for most digital campaigns is just getting everything done. With automation, you can get more time back in your day and focus on the things that require your time and expertise.
Automating your political campaign takes an investment of time to set up – in fact, it may take more work than simply completing a task – but over the long term it pays dividends back to you in the form of more time – the most valuable resource for any campaign.
Your To-Do List
Everyone has recurring tasks that happen daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Instead of trying to keep track of them in your head, add them to a to-do list app – my favorite is Todoist – as scheduled, repeating tasks.
Productivity expert David Allen, who wrote Getting Things Done, sums it up this way, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” By freeing up your mental capacity for more important tasks, you can do more and worry less. You can even break repetitive tasks up into smaller steps so you’re doing as much as you can before they’re due.
Social Media Posting
To grow your campaign’s audience on social media, you need to post frequently. That translates to 7-10 Tweets, 3-5 Facebook posts, and 1-2 Instagram posts every day. The good news is you can schedule much of this content ahead of time.
Using a social media scheduling platform like Buffer, you can fill up your queue with content at times that are convenient for you and it will automatically post them at scheduled times. You can – and must – share updates about timely items, but an automated schedule ensures you won’t go days without posting.
Effective email marketing relies on being at the top of a supporter’s inbox when they check it on their phone, tablet, or computer. Automated email marketing tools make it possible for any campaign to send messages at precise times based on a supporter’s behavior.
Every campaign should have an automated welcome series (sometimes called a “drip campaign”) that sends a sequence of emails after a supporter first signs up. The benefits for doing this are wide-ranging, but most critically, you’re emailing them when they’re online, active, and interested. You’ll build up your sender reputation to achieve better inbox placement and you’re more likely to get donations.
You should also automate emails based on other actions like donating, signing a petition, or volunteering. Automated email marketing gives you superpowers to write one set of emails but send it out hundreds or even thousands of times during the course of your campaign.
Digital marketing generates lots of data that can be combined to provide helpful reports. The challenge is in separating the signal from the noise with reports that aid decision making. With automation, you can set up reports that are delivered on a schedule without having to edit them manually.
With a combination of Google Data Studio, Google Sheets, and Zapier, you can automate daily, weekly, or monthly reports that include multiple data sources updated in real time. Connect your data sources like WinRed, Mailchimp, and Facebook to a Google Sheet with Zapier, then build a Google Data Studio report with the data. You can set email reports on a schedule to make sure you’re always up to date.
By automating these key components of your digital campaign, you’ll free up more time to focus on improving what matters. Campaigns can always hire more staff and raise more money, but they can never get more time. Automation should be the secret weapon for any well-run campaign.