An organization needs people to act at the local, state, or federal level. Maybe it’s voting on an initiative with the county. Maybe it’s advocating for state legislation. Maybe it’s engaging leaders at the federal. The organization treats it like a marketing or branding campaign. The ads are great. The content is compelling. Everything seems to be “right.”
But then crickets. People don’t engage. The needle doesn’t move. The campaign failed.
The reason is pretty simple: the way to win in government affairs is to operate like a political campaign, not a marketing campaign. Political campaigns think differently than marketers. They know the key to success is engaging specific people, not everyone.
When you reach out to the right people in the right way with the right message, your cause wins. We’ve helped hundreds of campaigns at the local, state, and national levels do this. Whether it’s a local race or a high-stakes national campaign, we’ve seen what works over and over again.
What follows is a step-by-step plan for running a more successful campaign:
1. Change your mindset. Success in a campaign requires thinking differently. It means operating like a high-stakes political campaign, not a marketing or advertising campaign. This small but powerful shift sets the foundation for everything else. Political campaigns have a lot on the line. But based on a mountain of experience and expertise, the campaigns know the playbook to use.
2. Find the right data. Data is easy. There are tons of data sources out there, which makes it easy to waste time on useless, dated information. The path to success involves the right data. You don’t need everything. Political campaigns use databases with billions of data points combined into simple voter files.
3. Build a list of the right people. All of the data points are combined to give you a clear look at who you should engage. No more guessing. No more hoping for an algorithm to show your content to random people. Instead, you can target exactly those most aligned with your cause. This is a proven secret of politics: you don’t need everybody. You need the right people.
4. Test and measure. Wouldn’t it be great if campaigns were “Set it and forget it”? Life would be much easier. Unfortunately, this isn’t reality. Political campaigns realize this reality. They see the campaign messaging as a constant laboratory. They test, measure, refine, relaunch, and do it again. See your messaging as a living document. The more you test, the better your results.
5. Engage people in a variety of ways. When it’s election season, think of all the ways you hear from campaigns:
And so much more. This is intentional. People need to hear the same message multiple times before they understand. Because campaigns have databases of voter information, they know all the ways to contact voters. By communicating across a range of channels to a target audience, campaigns call the right people to action.
Winning isn’t easy, but it’s simple. In the end, the path to victory is simple:
Find the right people.
Use the right words.
Engage in the right ways.
That’s it. That’s how everything from small-town mayoral races to nationally-covered races are won. The backbone, though, is data. Because when you have the right information in place, you eliminate uncertainty and see a clear path to win.
Bonfire is the tool used by top political campaigns to reach their audiences.
If you want access to the same data, talk to one of our experts today.