by Jessica Lalau
Whether you’re a first-time candidate or looking to unseat an incumbent, to generate the winning number of votes, you need to reach your constituents with your message consistently.
And how do you do that without draining your marketing budget?
Ensure that the one political campaign you run is a single, cohesive strategy that spans a number of platforms.
I'm talking about Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads AND reaching potential voters in the place they spend most of their time — right at home — with targeted direct mail.
This article will cover how you can get started on that single, multi-channel campaign.
1. Target your voters where they’re most likely to read your message.
Even in our digital age, the majority of people (81%) still pay attention to their mail, with 55% of consumers reporting they “look forward” to what they’ll receive in the mail.
Plus, according to the Direct Marketing Association, 70% of consumers flat out prefer to be marketing with direct mail.
I recommend you start with mailers, because a direct mail campaign is the most technically and logistically fraught part of the process. While digital ads go live in less than an hour, getting a mail piece into the hands of voters is going to take more time.
Don't worry — it's worth it. The value of that physical impression far outweighs the cost!
So, start by brainstorming your mailer campaign.
Here’s how to do that:
First, design a direct mail piece that clearly shows:
- Your name and district/state
- A professional, high-resolution image of you
- Your campaign platform highlights/message in an easy-to-read format.
Next, rent a mailing list of voters that consists of individuals you want to reach. A professional mailing company like PostcardMania can help you with this, and pulling your first 1,000 records is free.
Here's an example of a postcard design that would work:
Next step: design digital ads to MATCH your postcard.
This step is vital to creating that one single campaign that puts you in position to win — it's all about reaching your voters both in their homes AND simultaneously online in all the places they already spend their time every single day.
2. Run Matching Pay-Per-Click Election Ads on Google
Google’s Display Network — accessed through their platform called “Adwords” — reaches 90% of internet users with ads that can target the constituents of your district, county, or state. Here’s an example:
Google’s Display Network includes millions of websites on the internet, which means your ads can be shown on websites like ESPN, Entrepreneur.com, Best Buy and other popular sites. Just like the name suggests, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
I recommend you target voters by zip code(s), city, or even congressional district.
Plus, Google ads can be used to show your message (and name) repeatedly to voters who have already shown an interest in your campaign. Here’s how that works...
Have you ever been browsing online for something, and then you lose interest and end up wandering off? Who hasn’t! It happens every day. Now, have you ever noticed that, afterwards, you started seeing ads from that same organization appearing on other websites? If so, you’ve experienced a little thing called retargeting.
Retargeting can increase the number of people who actually become leads (like filling out your contact form) by 70%.
These ads, however, can take some skill to master, so I recommend you hire someone to manage your Google ads for you.
Here are a few tips for election advertising to be aware of:
• You’ll need to first verify your business, nonprofit, or committee with Google
• Include a disclosure stating who has paid for your ads
• If your organization has already been verified, check to see if renewal is required
Once the Google arm of your campaign is set, it's time to move to the next platform...
3. Promote your campaign on the #1 social media network
Of course, I’m taking about Facebook! With 68% of all Americans using Facebook, plus 66% of monthly users using it every single day, it’s extremely likely your voters are there. Facebook owns Instagram, another huge social media platform popular on mobile, so be sure to double up on your exposure and run your ads on both.
Match them in design closely, so that your voters know they’re seeing your name and message when they see your ads, whether on Facebook or Instagram.
Here’s an example of how both could look below, on each respective platform:
Similar to Google and due to previously mis-managed political campaigns on social media, Facebook requires you to state who paid for the ad. Plus, you need to ensure your ads don’t offend the user experience on Facebook, such as, stretching the truth or insinuating libel in any way — lest you risk your ads not being allowed to run at all. Thus, I recommend you hire an agency familiar with Facebook advertising if you can, so you don’t waste time dealing with potential ad restrictions.
Again, this multi-channel, offline-online marketing strategy puts your political marketing in front of prospects in all the places they spend their time:
- At home (with direct mail)
- On endless internet websites (with Google ads)
- And on social media (top 2: Facebook and Instagram)
If managing all this marketing seems like way too much work, we created a marketing program that bundles your postcard mailings with your Google/Facebook/Instagram advertising for you.
We call it Everywhere Small Business, and it comes with a completely automated tracking dashboard.
If you're interested in working with my company, PostcardMania, you can get started here by checking out the 1,337 postcard design templates we already have on file — all of which have already been proven effective based on real-world results.