It’s time for digital consultants to treat their campaigns’ supporters the way they’d like to be treated themselves. Or as Joshua Habursky put it in a recent C&E article: "It's the duty and responsibility of the advocacy community to develop some self-policing mechanisms to ensure that the authenticity of constituent communication prevails."
This is very true. And in my world, that would include some self-checks on communication products as well as self-policing.
But the tech vendors Habursky is referring to, the big ones that incumbents seem to favor, may not be taking care of the most basic of details to ensure that your contact with constituents is authoritative and authentic. These oversights could cost your campaign or advocacy effort dearly, so it may be best to conduct some simple checks.
How authoritative and authentic is your carefully crafted communication if the recipient clicks reply and gets an instant bounce on that attempted response? In that case, do you think the recipient feels respected enough to yield up a donation sometime soon? Would they vote for you or your opponent in a primary?
Whatever our own particular political stripes, we all learned in the last election that voters demand respect. Conversely, hold voters in contempt, and you could be risking a shot at victory. To test my theory, I recently tried hitting reply to an email I received asking me to buy some campaign merchandise. What I got in return was a bounce back.
Many voters now understand how to deconstruct an email address to get a domain name (everything after the @ in the email address). Some see if it’s possible to get more information on the candidate or cause before taking the requested CTA.
This is especially true in list rental situations when a solicitation is coming in cold. Finding a nonexistent domain is as off putting to a voter or potential supporter as an undeliverable email address.
Now, every attempted contact with the campaign is an opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, every attempted contact by phone or email should receive a polite response via the same channel within 24 hours.
If this practice is followed carefully, it becomes especially easy to develop contacts into activists, volunteers, donors. Such practices can even be digitally confirmed so your campaign seniors learn to trust your reported metrics on this.
All of the well-known companies in the digital business undertake activities similar to the one described above, as do the smaller shops from time to time. Good digital sometimes feels like trying to nail jelly to the wall, but there are ways to make it stick.
Ron Robinson has been a digital consultant/programmer in Los Angeles for twenty five years.