If you are running for office this year, you are likely to be sitting at home wondering how you can still run your campaign while the world goes into lockdown mode.
Well, never fear because all of the things that you were expecting to do, door to door canvassing, fundraising events, townhall meetings, etc are all still possible. We’ve seen the world move to a work from home model so now it is time to figure out how to campaign from home. Here is what you need to do it.
If you are going to be doing a digital-only campaign you need great quality voter data. Up-to-date phone and email information, multiple data points on voting history and demographic information also will be needed. Using paid vendors like L2 political you can import this database into a voter CRM system like Ecanvasser and go for a virtual walk around your district. Seeing your voter file come to life will be essential for creating your strategy of voter contact and seeing how far you are progressing.
Peer to peer texting and phone calling is the biggest thing that is coming out of the Covid 19 crisis. The volunteers and supporters attached to your campaign are simply going to switch from knocking on doors to texting or calling voters. The same process of cutting a turf or creating a walklist will still happen but now those voters are going to hear their phone ring, not their doorbell.
Social broadcasting is huge in the last month. Very simply, hit the Live button on your FB or Instagram channel instead of the Post button and you will go live with a social broadcast. Make sure you have something scripted or at least some good talking points to deliver on your broadcast. Keep it short and informative or personality driven. Remember people are used to social video like this and it is now better to be less formal in your delivery. You don’t need to dress up like a press conference, just deliver your information or updates casually in your local community - it can even be hand held if you like. Oh, and make sure to promote it beforehand to you followers or using social ads so you have people watching!
Remote training and onboarding
If there has been a lightbulb moment through this crisis it has been how possible it is to run companies and organizations remotely. Team meetings, trainings, even casual chats and office banter can all be done over things like Slack and Zoom. In fact, training volunteers and activists is far more efficient now and can be done easily through screen share and face to video conferencing. If you have any fear around setting up Zoom meetings or installing Slack to communicate with your teams remotely then don’t….it’s really that simple. Expect Slack to be free for the first few months, and Zoom should cost no more than $40-$50 per month. Think of all the gas you will save and the time spent getting people into a room together.
Tele-townhalls can be facilitated by upgrading to Zoom’s webinar functionality also.
Resonate through research
Your campaign messaging is arguably your most important selling point this year. Name recognition and personal contact with voters will still happen but for your campaign to win you will need to have the exact right message for voters and you will need to deliver that to them by email, social and advertising. Doing the research directly with voters will pay huge dividends because we are all playing catch-up as to what is important with voters from one week to the next. This is not a normal campaign where research done a month ago is still relevant. How to do it? Easy, phone canvassing with a standard survey that all of your volunteers ask. This gives you real data in real time and allow you to change your messaging to respond to what voters are most concerned about.
Social ads and email campaigns
Don’t forget to get registered with Facebook so you can send out political ads this term. They are a great way to get name recognition up or to promote a social broadcast. You can target voters simply by area the same way you would with door hangers or canvassing and it is just as effective. Set a budget from the start so you don’t overspend. Email campaigns are also still very effective if you have up-to-date email addresses. Make sure your emails are useful to the reader so they are more likely to open them. Subject lines are the most important thing in terms of open rates so make sure the value you are giving to the reader is in the subject line. Email is great also for embedding video or donation/volunteering buttons so make sure you design them clearly. Short is sweet.
Relational organizing means using the close networks of family and friends of your supporters. Give each of your supporters an app like Ecanvasser Go and ask them to canvass their core network for new volunteers or supporters. Everyone of us will have 5-15 people in that core network so if you have 50 supporters already you might be able to onboard 150-750 people into your campaign through a ‘warm referral’. I don’t know about you but if I get asked to support a campaign by a friend or family member as opposed to a canvasser I know I am going to be more likely to do so. Relational is also great for finding new donors and driving them to your website to make a small donation.