After reflecting on your community’s current political landscape and your abilities, you have decided to run for office. You’re ready to make a major contribution to strengthen and improve your community. In order to win elections at a local level, it’s imperative to have a strong campaign strategy with the essential materials to get the word out.
The success of any campaign begins with capturing potential voters with your presence. They must know who you are and what you stand for. While candidates for federal offices have significant funds to finance major spending on advertising, events, and promotion, most contenders for local elections have slightly smaller budgets and must focus on getting the best return on their marketing investment.
Print marketing has been proven to be successful to get in front of potential voters. Here are some of our favorites.
Palm Cards & Business Cards
Palm cards, also known as push cards or postcards, are easy to carry around and get your information into the hands of voters. Small enough to fit in your pocket, they are considered your “campaign in a capsule” because they should contain all of the highlights of your candidacy. These durable cards typically feature a photo of yourself, logo, a small bio, and a couple of key causes you support.
Similar to palm cards, business cards are ideal to hand out to potential voters. Keep the design simple by including your name, contact information, website and and office you’re currently running for.
Political Mailers, including EDDM® and Direct Mail, can be extremely beneficial and cost-effective. Research has shown that 81% of recipients read or scan their mail on a daily basis, peaking a potential supporter’s interest within seconds. Because of its size, this tool is ideal due to its large canvas, making it perfect to place additional information on your platform and vision. Larger than the traditional envelope, your mailer is sure to stand out among your recipient’s mail.
These signs serve as a public recommendation because lawns blanketed with your signs illustrate how widely you’re endorsed. Lightweight and durable, their size makes them easy to hand out at rallies and events. Since the majority of people will see your signs from moving cars with only a few seconds to read them, it’s critical to design for easy reading. Therefore, your name should be the most visible element in a font that’s easy to read. In slightly smaller letters, you can include a call-to-action, such as “vote,” “re-elect,” or a slogan.
Bring your message to their front doors with premium door hangers. Door hangers give you more canvas to convey your values and political views. When creating your door hanger, make sure to keep the front side simple and to arrange your text in a clean and organized manner; an overload of information can cause confusion about your message.
Other popular print items that are sure to help you excel include campaign bumper stickers, political business cards, brochures, and flyers.
While print products have spearheaded many successful campaigns, there are also several digital options that can increase your reach and strengthen your platform.
Create a Website
Honesty and transparency are the pillars of public service. Since the majority of US residents are on the Internet, it is vital that you have an accessible and interactive online headquarters where people can read your biography and viewpoints. Podcasts are a great addition to your website, giving you a popular platform to connect with listeners of all ages. Including an email sign-up button allows you to track those interested in your campaign and gives your supporters a way to stay connected to upcoming events and appearances as well as how they can support your candidacy. You could also use that information to periodically send out personalized emails to your supporters.
Reach Out On Social Media
According to a study by statista.com, in 2017, 81% of US American had a social media profile, representing a three percent growth compared to the previous year.
Now, consider this: Which social media platforms are your supporters on? How can you best interact with them? What are their concerns and beliefs?
Once you discover their most popular social media sites, you can discuss the best way to deliver your message on each one. A common mistake candidates make is sharing the exact same message across their accounts. From Facebook to Snapchat, each platform is different—from how they use them to the reasons people use them. Understanding each platform’s subtleties is the first step to creating messages that will stay with your audience. Here are our top suggestions for effectively utilizing each platform.
Facebook has proven extremely successful in creating and strengthening communities. Because of this, it is also a great platform for targeting ads. Facebook features several options to help you effectively reach your voters. Some of these include: 5 Point Political Targeting, which “targets and reaches voters according to a five-point scale from very liberal to very conservative;” the “Likely to Engage Politically” Targeting, which “categorizes users into three audiences, liberal, conservative, and moderate, and determines who is actively engaged with public political content and would have a high propensity to re-share content;” and Congressional Targeting, which allows you to target based on zip code, city, country, and state. Facebook also offers a live video function. Use Facebook Live to host a virtual forum and answer questions from citizens.
Use Twitter to discuss and comment on current events that impact your platform. Create catchy hashtags for yourself and your campaign. Make sure to get your account verified so everyone knows you’re legitimate. Through Twitter, you can post videos that are 140 seconds long. Use that tool to share your story and viewpoints. You can also purchase space for political ads.
Use Instagram to capture key moments as you canvas your community. This social media app allows you to create featured ‘stories’ that stay on your profile page for 24 hours. It also features paid ads for you to promote yourself. With photo ads, you can tell your story through a clean, simple, and creative canvas with one or multiple pictures. Video ads give you the option to incorporate the power of sight, sound, and motion into a 60-second compilation.
Whether you’re running for county commissioner or a seat on the school board, there is a diverse range of print and digital marketing tools available to you. By combining both into your strategy, you’re sure to run a successful campaign.
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Also published on Medium.