A campaign can often feel like a numbers game. It’s easy to get caught up on the number of votes you need to win, the number of donations you receive, or the number of volunteers you draft.
But numbers don’t vote, people do; and not surprisingly, they don’t like being treated like numbers. That was the focus of a data-driven campaigning panel on Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority summit in Washington, D.C.
“Personalization is absolutely critical,” said Jessica Dahl of Causes.com, which was recently acquired by Brigade Media. “If people don’t think that they’re being spoken to, they aren’t going to engage.”
Speaking at a two-day conference, highlighted by a slew of conservative heavyweights, and potential 2016 presidential contenders, courting the religious right, a group of political consultants advised candidates to not get too caught up in the data and technology available to campaigns.
Connecting with a supporter on a personal level is what ultimately gives that supporter validation that their contribution to your campaign or cause is worthwhile. Campaigns should be utilizing technology to make that connection, but don’t let the personal touch get lost in the tech.
Acknowledge a volunteer or supporter within their community; make a personal phone call to thank them. Even just taking the time to write a personal email can bring that supporter closer to your campaign or cause, doubling their commitment level.
If a supporter feels appreciated, it becomes much easier to increase their level of engagement.
“Once you have an ongoing conversation with a supporter, you can move them to the next stage of engagement,” said Value Click’s Mark Fallia.
Channels of communication, such as text, can benefit from this augmented engagement. “You don’t want to send a text message to a new person, because people now are very leery of viruses,” said Bullseye Interactive Group’s Rick Furr. “But a text to an engaged person is a call to action.”
It’s more than a safe bet that a campaign’s social media followers are ripe for personalized outreach. Twitter often means direct and continual exposure to a smaller group of people who wield actual influence in their communities.
“When finding spheres of influence within a voter base, these people are first tier activists,” said Dahl. “These are the people you want to be personal with.”