As Election Day draws closer, campaigners must begin to triage competing urgent priorities. Nowhere is this problem more acute than with online campaigning. You could (but shouldn’t!) spend 24 hours a day working on digital marketing. Email, social, website, advertising, texting…it never takes a break.
There simply isn’t enough time to get through your to-do list for a digital campaign when crunch time hits. So how should you prioritize what to do first and what to let fall to the wayside?
Remember What Matters
Campaigns have four goals:
- Win votes
- Raise money
- Earn attention
- Upset the opponent
If something on your to-do list doesn’t clearly align with one of these objectives, get rid of it. There’s no time for anything else.
Leverage the 80-20 Rule
The Pareto Principle, often referred to as the 80-20 Rule, describes the common pattern that 20% of causes are responsible for 80% of results. A small portion of volunteers will be responsible for a majority of your voter contacts, most of the dollars raised will come from a few donors, and a few of your Facebook posts will get the greatest reach on the platform.
In order to recognize this input to output ratio disparity and focus on the higher yielding activities, measure your online campaign carefully and precisely. Always focus on tying causes to effects.
Done Is Better Than Perfect
If you’re going to have any hope of identifying your highest yielding efforts, you just have to put in the work. As Morton Blackwell says, “Effort is admirable. Achievement is valuable.”
A bunch of almost finished deliverables won’t bring you any closer to accomplishing campaign goals.
Getting things done before you’re sure they’re flawless requires confidence in your work and doesn’t listen to the critics who chime in on Twitter when they spot a mistake.
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The most effective way to get something done is to build a system that’s repeatable and transforms into a habit triggered by campaign activity.
- When a new TV ad is released, we will post it on YouTube and Facebook.
- Every Monday, I will write five fundraising emails for the week.
- Each time the candidate gives an interview, I will Tweet a quote.
This cuts down on the number of decisions you need to make every day and frees you up to execute.
Automate Everything You Can
Use your campaign’s marketing tools to automate and schedule workflows. Spend 15 minutes in the morning to schedule social media posts for the day. Create a welcome email series for new signups and volunteers.
Put your digital campaign to work even when you’re not.
Have a Plan
Finally, it’s impossible to stay on top of anything without a plan – especially in campaigns where so much activity is dictated by fixed, external deadlines. Examine the calendar and scope out what digital campaign needs exist based on events and plan accordingly.
If early voting begins next week, you know that means social media posts, graphics, videos, and emails. To get them ready on time, you’ve got to work on it today. That may mean you can’t get to something today, but you can only make that decision with a plan.
This is the only way to ensure priorities overcome the tyranny of the urgent.
Every campaigner lives for this final rush before Election Day, but in order to be at your most effective, you need to be ruthless about prioritization. And get as much sleep as you can.