A successful political campaign wins the hearts of a broad range of voters through a carefully crafted marketing strategy. In today's fast-paced, not-enough-hours-in-the-day world, many voters do not take the initiative to actively research and compare political candidates. That means that when Election Day comes, ballots are cast according to how well each candidate's campaign was able to permeate the everyday grind and deliver a clear and compelling message to voters. Election marketing tips such as those listed below have proven invaluable to winning campaigns.
Market on multiple fronts
Exposure is just as important to political candidates as it is to corporate brands. You can brand your candidacy by first creating a well-communicated platform and summing it up with a tagline that defines your campaign. Develop a logo and identity, and achieve visibility by marketing on multiple fronts. Print postcards, brochures, business cards, posters, door hangers, banners and yard signs. This is direct marketing at its finest.
Put up a website that explains your platform and background in full and make daily updates to open a dialogue with voters. Use social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to accent your campaign. Forums and online advertising likewise offer opportunities for exposure.
Take out newspaper, radio and television ads, and - even better - get free press by granting interviews, working with a charitable organization and challenging the status quo (creating controversy). You should also speak to community organizations and clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Chambers of Commerce, Eagles, your local CIC and others.
Hit the streets
Get out and greet voters, talk to them about their concerns and listen to their answers. If possible, go door-to-door yourself. If not, employ a team of volunteers to help you distribute door hangers and to go door-to-door to spread support. Be in the public eye: Local events, charity drives and athletic contests help you connect with voters. You can also hold debates, town hall meetings, and "meet the candidates" nights to directly engage voters in the issues and to contrast your platform against your competitors'.
Campaign early and often
Don't wait until the last minute to start your campaign. A well-run political campaign should be planned months in advance to ensure you have the resources in place to seamlessly execute your plan without delay come election season. When it's time to launch, you should strike early and often to maximize your voter visibility. Send postcards or brochures out to voters right away, send another batch when the election gets closer and distribute door hangers a day or two before the election. Make sure local media is aware that you are available for interviews and voice your opinion on a number of local issues. Coordinate pavement-pounding sessions and other public activities, and be active in your community.
Winning elections isn't always about the issues or your solutions to them. In many cases, it's about awareness and presentation. If you're running for public office you probably want to make a positive difference with your solutions, but you won't get that opportunity unless you can market yourself to voters. As Andre Agassi famously pitched for Canon cameras, "Image is everything." Bolster your image with the election marketing tips detailed here.