Marketing Yourself in an Election: A Primer
Election campaigns boil down to a lot of marketing messages crammed into a month. It’s cluttered and messy.
Our province is just heading into municipal election season. The campaign has been running on low heat for a couple of months, but with all the nomination deadlines this week, high gear is now on.
As with business, standing out from the crowd is the key to getting noticed. Follow these tips for a better chance at sticking out like a sore thumb. (Hint: these tips also apply to your business)
Campaign Signs: The subject of much debate. Are they necessary? Do they work? Are they just colorful litter? In most cases, no, no, yes. Most campaign signs look exactly the same as the ten signs next to them. Like any outdoor marketing medium, signs need to make an impression in seconds. You have that long to stand out from the cluster of signs. Be clean and simple, and keep information to a minimum. Be different than the others. Make sure the sign is high-contrast and can be easily seen.
Website: have one. Like the sign, it needs to be simple. Include information on how voters can contact you. Engaged voters are more likely voters! Clearly state your goals, your positions, and a little about yourself. Make sure, no matter what else you do, that your website has a mobile version. If you direct people to a website from your outdoor marketing, a lot of voters are likely to access your site via a mobile device. If your website is unreadable on a smartphone, you’ve lost the opportunity to make an impression.
State your case: clearly. Make your goals clear, attainable, realistic, and measurable. A campaign promise to “engage residents” is meaningless. How do you plan to engage those residents? “Improve services” similarly says nothing. What services would you like to improve, and how are you going to do it? The more specific plans you lay out, the more those plans will connect with voters.
Youth: find a way to connect. Older people are more likely to vote. That’s a given. That’s why candidates for every election visit every community center and retirement community possible. However, the youth vote is a huge, largely untapped market. If you’ve got an idea to connect with younger voters and actually get them out to vote, you will have that group all to yourself.
Shake hands: it works. Meeting people, looking them in the eye, and asking them to vote for you is still a great way to make an impression. It seems shallow, but people will vote for you if they like you.
Running in an election is the same as marketing a business or product. It’s just that the product is you. Be different, be clear, and connect.