The 2020 presidential elections saw an all time high voter turnout. It was estimated that about two-thirds of all eligible voters in the US participated in the election. This was a 7% increase from the previous presidential election. So, how can you replicate this same kind of voter energy in your local elections? Read on to find out.
Have a Plan From Beginning to End
It comes down to campaigning and marketing. How are local voters going to know your name? How are they going to know what you stand for and what plans you have for their city? For long-term residents, various local matters are highly important and you must be sure to address them. Each part of your campaign must be thoughtfully and meticulously thought out. From announcing that you are running for election to the final GOTV methods. Flawless execution from point A to B is how you will increase voter turnout and win the vote.
Help Voters Create a Game Plan
This is especially important when it comes to first time voters! What often discourages first time voters from voting is the fact that they simply might not know who to vote for, where to go to vote, etc. Leave no room for excuses when it comes to first time voters, take the extra time needed to reach out and educate them. Some things to remember to discuss:
- Eligibility, things like registering to vote!
- Required documents and forms of ID that they might need.
- Important deadlines, such as registration deadlines and voting deadlines.
Use Social Media
Social media is great for so many things.
- Building connections
- Sharing updates It would be beneficial to your campaign to have some sort of social media presence, and even a social media marketing team. A team that can manage posts, come up with ADs to run, and more. Social media ADs are really easy to run, and the analytics that you get back from each platform can help fuel future campaigns ADs.
While you still might be able to reach older generations, the younger generations can’t be reached anywhere other than social media. The average social media user spends just under two and a half hours on social media a DAY. That is a lot of opportunity and time to reach voters.
SMS marketing campaigns are great because they fit into this nice little package. What do we mean by that? Well, texts are short, sweet, to the point, and they resonate better with a majority of voters. Commercials might have been the way to go in the past, but with many individuals not watching traditional TV anymore, it just isn’t the way. Videos on social media or YouTube are always good options but not by themselves. With SMS your campaign team can send texts with links to any candidate videos that you want voters to see, for those things that can’t be said in 160 characters or less. SMS is great alone or coupled with other campaign methods, and it should 100% be used from beginning to end of the campaign.
There are 3 different SMS campaigning methods:
- Mass texts: With mass texts, you will send out a single text to a bunch of voters. Something like: “Town event this Saturday! Come out to support (name of candidate) and participate in the local festivities. Text “YES” if we will see you there!” This kind of message doesn’t need to be all that personalized because you are just trying to get a headcount of who will be at the event. You can even send a follow up mass text the day before the event reminding voters of the time and location of the event.
- MMS texts: Multimedia messages are amongst the most popular text messages. There are many ways that you can go about it. Send a text with a link to a YouTube video that either serves as an AD or is a recording of a speech given by the candidate. Or send a photo of the candidate along with a brief text so that people can put a face to the name. You can send other links to volunteer forms, fundraising forms, or the candidate's main website. The options are truly endless, but make sure that the text and image are relevant.
- P2P: Peer to peer texting is one of the best ways to build deep connections with voters. These kinds of messages are open-ended. There is no one response. This kind of texting is truly impromptu, the voter can respond with anything, and the responding agent has to be ready with either a corresponding templated message or they have to create their own response.
Get Voters on the Phone
If you can’t say it all in text, then get the voters on the phone! SMS campaigning is a great way to do this. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start cold calling voters (although this can be helpful too). Cold calling voters is considered phone canvassing, you are calling voters one by one in the hopes of having a detailed and educational conversation regarding your candidate. With this method, it is a numbers game. The more people you call, the higher your chances of getting people to talk with you.
Another method you can use is using SMS to schedule times to talk. This is great for that busy working professional that you might never otherwise get on the phone, or the newly graduated high school student who is attending their first year at college and barely has time to look up from their books.
In either case or method that you go with, you want to be able to talk to people voice to voice. Not only does this help them get any unanswered questions answered, but you also can spend more time giving them your candidate's pitch.
Phone canvassing is especially popular during that final countdown right before the vote. When you can voters days before the vote, you can ask them who they are voting for, this may help your campaign team get an accurate representation of whether or not you will win the election.
Engage in Video Advertising
Video advertising has pretty much replaced commercial advertising. Video advertising can be done through social media platforms, they can be live or recorded, short or long, the choice is yours.
For example, on Instagram, you can:
- Create an Instagram Reel. Which are short little video clips that you can add captions to.
- Create a story. The stories can be live or recorded, and the live ones you can save so that when others log on they can see the same story. These are great for Q&A’s, as with life stories people can comment and ask questions.
This is where the younger generations will see your videos, this is where you will be able to engage with them too. There are similar advertising methods on Facebook and Twitter as well. You can even utilize these platforms during Pandemic times to replace in person events or to record and post local events for those who are unable to attend in person events.
The Last Stretch
Throughout the whole campaign, you should be actively planning, sending out text blasts, and connecting with volunteers. The last 30-45 days of your campaign should be the most intense though, especially when it comes to SMS marketing and getting the vote out. These are the final stages where if there is any hope that you can turn non-supporters into supporters, this is it. This is also the time to remind supporters why they chose you, they may already support you but now it is your job to get them up and out to the polls. Saying you will vote is one thing, physically taking the time to go down to the polls is another. This final countdown is the time to make that last little push, get voters to commit, and help them create a voting plan.
Get Out There
There are many ways to connect with local voters. At the end of the day, utilizing all of your available resources is the best thing that you can do. As some final tips, you can even connect with voters at local non-campaigning events. These kinds of impromptu events are great for meeting people you wouldn’t necessarily be able to meet. Keep flyers, stickers, or any other advertising methods handy to pass out and share with those you meet. That way they can follow you on social media, find your website, opt-in for those texts, and more. These kinds of impromptu local interactions and introductions can teach candidates a lot about who their voters really are, what matters to them, and what will get them to vote for you. Some examples might include events at local malls/shopping centers, local farmer's markets, parades, and more.
RoboCent is here to support you in all your local election efforts!