So you want to get into politics. Congratulations on wanting to make a difference. In today’s climate, with politics being so visceral, it’s a wonder why anyone would want to jump into that arena. But you’re here and you’re thinking about it, so here are three things you need to know that will end your campaign before you get started.
The adage, fail to plan, plan to fail works well here. To have a shot at winning, you not only need to plan well in advance, but you also have to have a plan. Many people new to politics see an open seat and think they will be the ideal candidate for that seat. What they fail to realize is that no one knows who they are, they have no real backing
If you’re serious about running for office, be it at the local, state, or federal level, you need to get started sooner rather than later. People need to know you. People need to like you. And that starts with having a plan and a team who can develop and grow your social media presence.
Conversely, there are candidates who announce their intentions too early which only invites a crop of opponents to jump into the arena. Moreover they believe that voicing their opinions early on national or global matters early and often will win them followers. It may win them “followers”, but not necessarily “voters”.
Sometimes it might be best to wait an election cycle out before announcing. Depending on the seat it might be a two year or a four year wait but that gives you time to establish yourself as a person, not a politician.
Running a successful campaign these days is not cheap. And while raising the most money is not indicative of a win, you will need to raise a significant amount of money.
But aside from raising cash for your campaign, how you spend your money is also just as important. When it comes to your messaging, the commercial tag line on a well-known product, “compromise elsewhere” applies here as well.
We know of candidates – some of them incumbents – who believed they had enough name recognition and thought spending money on yard signs and palm cards was enough. Very little was spent on digital messaging and on election night their supporters were stunned by their defeat.
New information suggests that digital spending should make up between 20% to 40% of your total ad budget. As more people turn to social media for their news and the added convenience of having social media at their fingertips, having direct and targeted messaging is vital.
However, we’ve seen in past elections that flooding social media with ad buys does not necessarily lead to victory either. Anyone can post pictures on social media. Anyone can post messages or re-post messages. But it’s hiring a team of professionals who have experience in messaging, who have the technical experience to know the best times to post and how to target a message to reach voters.
As digital marketers become increasingly prevalent, many mistakenly believe that posting digital graphics and slick video shorts is what wins voters over. Back to our previous comment about posting a lot of content doesn’t necessarily lead to victory.
Michael Bloomberg had name recognition, had political clout, and paid a team of New York “experts” whom he allowed to outspent all other candidates on digital ad buys. He had everything going for him. Except…
Donald Trump, on the other hand, though he had name recognition, was an outsider who had millions of people that “hated” him for personal reasons. But instead of hiring a flashy New York ad firm or an insider DC political campaign company, he chose a guy who built a website for his daughter’s business. They crafted their message to appeal to their voters and they targeted their message to people they knew would vote. In other words, their message reached voters.
The point is, sometimes, paying handsomely for “bright and shiny” isn’t always the best option. Finding a company who has worked for underdogs, candidates who were behind in the polls and went on to victory is better than finding a company who has never faced adversity or challenges.
Lastly, you should look for a company that will be honest with you. There are plenty of digital companies that will take your money, give you a decent effort, but know deep down that you’re not going to win. You need a company that will manage your expectations and will be honest with you up front so that you can make sound decisions.
We at Reach Voters are an in-house integrated team of professionals with decades of experience who have come together from our various walks of life to build an outstanding, dedicated team. Though we’re a young company, our win ratio impressive.
We understand messaging and along with our technical expertise we know how and when to deliver your message to those who matter most…YOUR voters.
We have worked with underdogs, those not expected to win their elections. And we helped them win their seat.
If you’re seriously thinking about running for office, give us a call and let’s talk and let’s see if we’re the right fit.