At the end of the year, Campaigns & Elections took a look how “consultants across the campaign industry are grappling with questions of volume and timing after a cycle that saw record spending and more calendar-shifted voting.”
I’m so appreciative that they reached out to get my thoughts – here are a few:
Still, volume can become an issue if the quality of the communication isn’t there. In fact, several Republican consultants stressed that campaigns still need to be targeted and specific in how and why they’re reaching out.
“The rate of response was very dependent on the quality of the interaction,” said Nicole Schlinger, who heads Iowa-based phones firm Campaign HQ. “That kind of message’ [This is so and so, I’ve texted 15 times and you haven’t given to me yet] does not engage people.
“The percentage of responses that we would get on messages like that really would drop. On the other hand, if you had a candidate who sat with his iPhone or her iPhone and recorded a 30-second message at their dinning room table, put it up on Facebook and then texted it out to people, then we could even do a robocall of the sound file to landlines. That was the kind of thing that was really, really effective because people would engage with it. There’s no point in doing something that’s not worth engaging with.”
Here’s a fun Flashback Friday post that happened during the rush of the end of the campaign season.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reached out to talk to me about phones. I love phones. I’m glad they asked!
Robocalls also are an effective way to promote a campaign event or deliver other information about a candidate, Schlinger said. Many campaigns use robocalls to remind voters to return absentee ballots or convey where to vote in person on Election Day.
They can be especially helpful in down-ballot races where the candidates may not be well-known or get little attention. “You might not know a lot about a candidate for a county or a local office, but if you know Gov. Reynolds or Sen. Grassley or Ambassador Branstad supports that person, that could be a meaningful factor in your decision about a race,” Schlinger said
The folks at Campaigns & Elections asked several firm owners to weigh in on lessons learned in 2020. Here’s mine:
Nicole Schlinger, founder and president, CampaignHQ:
“Business fundamentals matter and they do apply to political firms and consultants! There was a stark divide between firms in a strong financial position and those betting on a big windfall in the fall of 2020. Firms with cash reserves and lower overhead could put financial worries aside and focus on the immediate needs of their clients and staff. During the election surge, firms that either panicked or were forced to lay off workers in the spring had a harder time picking up where they left off.”
In typical New Years fashion, we are highlighting a few resolutions that make sense for your 2021. Now is NOT the time to take a breather. You’ve done the 2020 campaign analysis, you’ve made it through the holidays, now it’s time to lay out your goals for the next cycle – that’s where we are here to help.
Here are a few ideas for you to think about:
– How are you keeping in touch with volunteers and maintaining a strong connection to them?
– Peer to Peer texting isn’t just for turnout. How can you mobilize activists to support the key legislation your candidate campaigned on?
– Patch through calls can help you quickly make an impact.
-Even though the vaccine is here, the pandemic is far from over. It will be a long time until in-person events are back to “normal.” Telephone townhalls and microforums are the perfect way to stay in touch and engage in a two-way conversation with your supporters, activists, and voters
Not sure where to start? Give us a call and let’s brainstorm your winning strategy together!
That means that, taken together, the bottom line for all this research might be better summarized as, don’t forget the old-fashioned phone. Chances are excellent you’re underestimating its advantages and overestimating its drawbacks.