You never know when a special election is going to happen – that’s why they’re “special” after all – but these surprise elections represent significant opportunities for candidates to grow their careers – if they’re ready. For state parties and caucuses, they offer a chance to set a narrative or rebalance power.
Campaigners face significant challenges in special elections, specifically low turnout, increased scrutiny, and a compressed timeline. Here are preparations you can make now, before opportunity knocks. Take these steps even if you don’t anticipate a special election
Make Your Brand Flexible
Your website domain name, social media handles, and logos should all be flexible enough to make a switch. That’s why it’s always better to have your name than your office or committee name as the brand.
Ensure You Have Access To Digital Campaign Assets
When time is of the essence, you can’t afford to waste it tracking down logins to update a website, post to Twitter, or send an email. Use a password manager like LastPass (offered free to campaigns through Defending Digital Campaigns) to create secure passwords and manage the access.
Before you lose touch with your campaign team, conduct an inventory of the platforms you rely on and ensure you have access.
Keep Your Email List Active
Unlike postal mail where paying for postage guarantees delivery, email’s deliverability is based on a handful of factors, including your sender reputation. If you stop sending emails to your list after an election, you’ll be forced to start from scratch with your reputation.
The best way to keep your email program going strong is to send consistently a few times a month with a mix of news updates, policy alerts, engagement emails, and fundraising asks.
In politics, success often comes down to timing and special elections offer rare opportunities to advance for many candidates. Even if you’re not looking for a promotion, being prepared to help out your allies is reason enough to maintain your digital campaign infrastructure.