Running for office is challenging enough, but early on as a candidate (or in the exploration phase), you understand how critical digital marketing is to your campaign. You’ll hear a lot about “digital,” but as I’ve written here, that’s a nebulous, catch-all term.
In this post, I break down the six essentials you need to get your online campaign ready before you launch your campaign
The moment you even daydream about running for office, you should buy YourName.com. The URL for your campaign website is the one part of your branding that you cannot change. The domain name should be as close to your name as possible since that’s what voters will see on their ballots and how they’ll Google you.
In the rare cases that you have a name that can’t be easily spelled phonetically you can reconsider this advice, but only if your name is Pete Buttigieg. Using .com rather than .org or .net will also give you a boost in your appearance on search results.
- GoDaddy – The biggest registrar around, everyone knows how to use it, and it integrates with everything else you’ll use.
You need a professional to design your logo. Since most voters aren’t going to meet you in person, your logo will help them form their first impressions about you and your campaign. Some important considerations for your logo include:
- Is it legible on small items like buttons and bumper stickers?
- Is it legible at a distance like on a bumper sticker at 70 mph or a yard sign at 35 mph?
- Can it or a component of the logo be resized for use online as an icon on social networks?
- 99Designs – I design most of my logos with 99designs because they help you walk through the design brief process and the crowdsourced contests gives you hundreds of options to choose from.
This is your home base. But not just any website. You need to be focused on capturing emails for two key reasons:
- It’s an audience you own and can speak to directly throughout the campaign.
- The bigger your email list the more money you’ll raise online.
- WordPress – I build all of my websites with WordPress because it’s an open-source software which means thousands of developers around the world build plugins, themes, and add-ons for the platform every day. Most importanly, it integrates with just about any other digital tool you’ll use.
Email Marketing Platform
You need your email marketing platform to send to all of those emails you’re going to capture. If you try to send lots of emails from your personal inbox, they’ll likely go to spam and your account will probably be locked.
- Mailchimp – I use Mailchimp for all of my projects because it has great deliverability (provided you’re only sending to opted-in email addresses) and its automation features mean you’re sending emails to supporters at the right moments they’re engaged.
Most of your voters are getting their political news online, but more importantly, most of your volunteers and activists are avid Facebook and Twitter users. You’ve got to engage personally on social media. Nobody should be writing posts except for you because they’ll just sound bland and boring.
You should focus on Twitter and Facebook.
When you announce your campaign, there are going to be lots of people excited to give you money. Make it easy for them by having an online donation page. You need one that’s optimized for politics and is trusted by candidates at the highest levels.