Candidates up and down the ballot increasingly rely on digital platforms like websites, Google Search, Facebook, and email to win competitive elections. While it’s easy to get caught up in the various platforms and fads, at its core, effective political campaign marketing online encompasses a few key goals.
There are four things every campaign needs to do to win:
- Earn votes
- Get attention
- Raise money
- Upset your opponent
Focusing on these four objectives is essential to effective political campaign marketing online. Unfortunately, digital marketing platforms like email and social media can easily distract your campaign from allocating resources – both time and money – to what actually matters.
Here are five priorities for your political campaign marketing to emphasize.
With political campaign marketing, your candidate is the brand. Voters need to know two things: your name and when to vote. Everything you do online from the logo and website to social media and emails should reinforce these two data points. Getting a voter’s attention and not conveying these details to them is a missed opportunity.
Your brand should still mean something, but always accompanied with the name and election. Mainstream reporters are increasingly writing stories about campaigns based solely on digital content like social media and emails. If your output is interesting enough, it can also lead to earned media.
Having a professional, focused brand online also builds your credibility as a serious candidate.
Getting people to help your campaign in meaningful ways is another critical objective for political campaign marketing. Think of this from the perspective of a supporter: If they’re excited about your campaign, they want to help you – so make it easy to do.
The worst thing that could ever be said about your campaign is “I wanted to help out but they never got back to me.” Build an online presence that makes it easy to get in touch and even easier to follow up. Again, think about this like a supporter. If you’re active on Facebook, they’ll send you a message through Messenger. Who is checking it? Maybe there’s a contact form on your website. Who has the responsibility for checking that?
With a focused political campaign marketing strategy – thinking of your campaign like a business – these opportunities won’t slip through the cracks.
Every candidate needs resources and of course fundraising is a key priority for political campaign marketing. There’s a misconception that successful online fundraising stems from making extreme comments and having a large audience on social media. In reality, campaign fundraising takes a lot of work and commitment.
The earlier your campaign focuses on building a list of supporters’ emails and mobile numbers the better. Lead capture is online fundraising. It takes investment of time and money to do properly.
Political campaign marketing is also an essential tool for persuading voters. Campaigns have two sales jobs with the vast majority of voters: First, to persuade them to decide you are the right candidate and, second, to persuade them to get out and vote. Polls show that 70% of undecided voters turn to Google Search when learning about candidates.
When they’ve got questions, your campaign needs to provide the answers. That means having a well-organized website that’s easy to find and navigate, a few options for voters to get in touch and ask questions, and clear information about your candidate’s position on relevant issues.
None of your political campaign marketing efforts matter if you don’t get your supporters to the polls. It’s increasingly essential for campaigns to be trusted, reliable sources of information about how, where, and when to vote.
Help your supporters build their plan to vote and follow up with them.
Most candidates know they need to have robust digital campaigns, but it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees and miss the point. By focusing on political campaign marketing, you’ll prioritize the things that actually make a difference to help you win.