We’ve covered political targeting extensively here on Local Victory. If you haven’t read Political Targeting: The Beginner’s Guide or How to Target Your Campaign Tactics, take a minute to check them out now.
The important thing to take away from those articles is this: modern political campaigns shouldn’t waste valuable time or resources by trying to communicate with everyone who lives in the district. Many people won’t be registered to vote, won’t be registered to vote in your party (for a closed primary), or aren’t likely to vote on Election Day (as determined by their past voting behavior). How many voters you communicate with will ultimately be decided by what you can afford.
Going one step further, your campaign should also be targeting voters by using your campaign strategy: are you seeking crossover votes? Looking for ticket splitters? Trying to find people interested in issue A or issue B?
Targeting is extremely important, and no modern campaign (no matter how small) can do without it. Yet, many campaigns only think of targeting as something that applies to TV, or direct mail. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything your campaign does should have some element of targeting, and should be moving you closer towards the goals laid out in your campaign plan. Here are 8 different ways you can and should be targeting your political campaign tactics:
1. Mass Communications
This one is easy. Your television ads, radio ads, direct mail pieces, and even billboards should be purchased, placed, and mailed such a way as to hit your targeted voters.
Likewise, your e-mail blasts, e-newsletters, and web advertising should be targeted to your chosen voters and demographics.
3. Yard Signs
Are you placing your yard signs willy-nilly? Getting them up anywhere you can? That’s fine if you have unlimited resources, but if you’re on a tight budget, you should be getting your yard signs up so as to be seen by your targeted voters.
I love door-to-door, and think every candidate should do it. Yet, too many candidates just go out an knock on every registered voter’s door, and wonder why they never got into half the district. Target your door-knocking campaigns.
5. Campaign Events
Schedule rallies, coffees, barbeques and fiestas where they will do the most good: wherever your target demographics live, work, and play.
6. Sign-Waving Campaigns
Many grassroots campaigns engage in sign waving on busy corners to show enthusiasm and raise name ID. Great, I’m all for it. But only if those corners were chosen because of the number of targeted voters that pass by them each day.
7. Campaign Advisors and Boards
Do you have a finance committee? A campaign advisory council? A young professionals group? Are you making sure that at least some of the membership (and leadership!) is being drawn from your targeted groups and demographics? Make sure leaders in your targeted communities are also leaders on your campaign!
Similarly, make sure a good portion of your volunteers are from your targeted groups and areas… people who volunteer on a campaign are more likely to tell their friends and neighbors to vote for the candidate they are working for and to make sure their network goes out to vote!