Following the trends is what we are supposed to do, bucking trends is what we actually do.
I recently came across an article that advised me what trends I should follow if I want to succeed in politics in 2018. In the age of the influencer, I was left thinking, if every aspiring politician followed these steps, wouldn’t they all get elected? In an ideal world, yeah, sure thing! In this world? Hell, no!
Are We Now Anti-Data?
So instead of following the trends, take a look at what we know right now. Data is a poisoned chalice at the moment, let’s not shout from the rooftops all about our campaign teams skills in data mining and the data points we hold on our voters. It’s not trendy, nobody will want to hear this.
Go back to basics and invest in that thing they call “conversations”. Ok, let me break this down further, think of data mining as online dating - people matched by the data points they share. Politicians do this too. They attempt to use the data points of potential voters to help them form a campaign message that you may agree with aka DATE ME = VOTE FOR ME!
Conversational campaigning is a return to the old way we did politics. Get to know your voters, a bit like getting to know your date in real life, you know, organically. You see, we were onto a good thing by investing in data analysis but we overdid it and now we need to return to the basics (in an effort to get it right next time around). Big brother needs to be put into the background while grassroots campaigning takes to the fore in 2018. We shared a helpful piece on canvassing scripts last week because in our enthusiasm to reign supreme digitally we forgot how to talk to people at the doors. Check it out here.
Send Your Own Emails
Another trend which I felt was startling was the encouragement to invest in email automation. Again, we moved with the times and saw that speed was favorable when campaigning. This is true, campaign cycles are short, people need attention pronto and sometimes machines did this job a bit better than us but people have wised up and know that “Dear Mary” isn’t as personal as it used to be. Mass emails are great when you are delivering a broad message but when it comes to segmenting to a smaller cohort of your voters, how about investing a little bit more time and manpower. It will double your open rate and also make you more informed about what is actually affecting your voters.
MailChimp is a great tool which many campaigns use to send out bulk emails but it still requires you to curate the content and also offers a more tailored approach to replying to any voters. Embrace technology by all means but keep the automation to a minimum if you want to form solid connections with your electorate.
Make Your Website User-Friendly
The final trend that was deemed a game changer was the use of chatbots. Again, this isn’t even necessarily focused on political campaigns. Chatbots are used on most websites nowadays, they offer users extra help when navigating websites and answer questions, heck, we use them ourselves.
My issue with this trend is that chatbots on candidates websites indicate one thing and that’s simply that your website isn’t fit for purpose. Many candidates websites should be tailored to do one job and that's to represent you as a candidate. Having a chatbot sitting on your site indicates that people may still have questions after they have explored your site. Keep it simple and clear.
Saying all that, trends are great because they keep changing, software is used and disposed of rapidly in campaigning cycles. We are reinventing all the time but the one thing that keeps coming back is that conversations in real life can’t be replicated. Are you seeing your politicians enough, are they asking you what is affecting you. If not, who are they representing?
If you are interested in returning to the safe haven of traditional campaigning with a modern twist, why not sign up for a free Ecanvasser trial now?
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