Unlike analog campaign channels like TV ads, mail, or phones, you can’t just turn your digital campaign on and off. In order to maintain an effective digital campaign cycle over cycle, there are key pieces of infrastructure you need to keep in place continuously.
Even letting these lapse for a few months puts your campaign at a disadvantage, especially if something unexpected arises like a special election, open seat, or similar opportunity when you need your digital campaign at full capacity.
Here are five pieces of digital infrastructure your campaign needs to maintain all year round.
Your email list is your campaign’s most valuable digital asset. Not only is it a crucial channel for fundraising, it’s also the best way to keep supporters up to date about your accomplishments in office and other political priorities.
Continuing to reach inboxes requires a strong sender reputation which is maintained by sending emails to your list consistently and getting engagement with the messages you send. You should send fewer emails than you were during the campaign, maybe 2-4 per month, with the bulk being content-focused updates rather than fundraising asks.
You’ll also need to continue with list building activities like petitions, surveys, and pledges to replace churn due to unsubscribes or address changes.
Your opted-in text messaging list also needs to be maintained in the off year. Using opted-in texting is more affordable than P2P and gives you the benefits of higher response rates. If you have a shortcode for your campaign, keep the subscription active and send updates about once a month or as a need arises.
If you didn’t start an opt-in texting program during the campaign, now is a great time to start because you can slowly build up your subscriber base.
Remember, your website is the homebase for your digital campaign. As online audiences become more dispersed, the need for a central hub is greater than ever. Make sure your website hosting is paid for with an active credit card and your domain registration is set to automatically renew.
Having your website go down even for a little bit can set you back in terms of email sender reputation and appearance on Google, but the real danger comes if you cannot regain access quickly due to missing logins. A scammer or troll can swoop in and claim your domain and you’ll have few options to get it back.
Ranking On Google Search
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s ranking on Google Search. Your supporters and constituents are turning to Google to learn more about you and how they can get involved. Recency is a key factor in how prominent your site ranks for search results. Keep updating your website with content year round – blog posts, press releases, and announcements – to maintain your front page placement for key searches.
Meta Advertising Verifications
In order to advertise on Meta properties, namely Facebook and Instagram, you’ll need to maintain your personal authorization to run ads as well as your page’s disclaimer. If you’re pausing a relationship with an agency or staff moves on, make sure at least one person on your campaign team has this status – even if you don’t know how to run ads yourself. It will be quicker to start an advertising campaign when you need it.
If the next time you activate your digital campaign is for fundraising ahead of the 2023 Q1 deadline, you’ve made a mistake. Not only have you neglected your campaign’s relationship with its supporters, but you’ll have allowed critical digital infrastructure to atrophy.