Every good campaign strategy plan needs to focus on maximizing its success rate.
In this article, we help you craft a campaign strategy plan that focuses on all the aspects of your campaign, starting from defining the goal to measuring the success of your campaign.
So, what should be included in a campaign strategy plan?
- Campaign goal/s and objectives
- A specific target audience
- Strong key messaging
- List of tactics and activities
- Success metrics
Now, let’s see how all these come together to create your campaign strategy plan.
How do you plan a campaign strategy?
This section shows you the step-by-step process of building your campaign strategy plan.
1. Identify your campaign goal/s and objectives
It’s essential to have a goal that aligns with your campaign’s purpose. Your campaign goal should bring you closer to your overarching vision. Remember, your goal should align with the expected outcome; and the objective should define the measurable actions to achieve your goals.
For example, consider answering the following:
- What do you need to achieve? For example, say get ‘x’ votes for your candidate to win the election.
- How will you know you’ve achieved it? For example, ‘x%’ of supporters from your list are in favor of your candidate.
Answers to these questions help you arrive at your goals and objectives. Remember, when you define your goals, keep them SMART:
The more SMART the goals are, the easier it will be to achieve them.
Here’s an example: “By the end of [timeframe], [country] will have a literacy rate of X%.”
Best practice: Celebrate short-term victories, say, achievement of milestone objectives to keep your team motivated to work towards achieving the long-term goals.
2. Evaluate the current environment
Once you have your goals and objectives clear, you can discover your strengths to build on and the weaknesses to address.
SWOT analysis is an excellent model to analyze your strengths and weaknesses along with exploring the opportunities and threats. Getting a clear picture of your environment will help you build a campaign strategy plan that focuses on achieving your objectives efficiently and effectively.
|Strengths||Look at the available resources. This may be the skills and experience of your team, your network, and other helpful information to your campaign’s success.||Example: Does your network have influential high-ranking authorities like the senator, congressperson, etc.?|
|Weaknesses||Find out what you lack. This may be the relationships you need to build, the information you need, funds you need to raise, etc.||Example: Do you have enough funds to start? If not, add a fundraising component in your electoral campaign.|
|Opportunities||Look at the conditions that influence your campaign positively.||Example: Is there a key event aligned with your issue that’s taking place in your area?|
|Threats||Find out the conditions that may hinder your chances of success. Work on minimizing the damage these conditions may cause.||Example: Is there a popular group whose views contradict the issue you stand for? For instance, you’re counting on getting a bill passed which has strong opposition.|
This detailed evaluation can help you decide where to focus your efforts during the campaign and address the obstacles from the onset. This enables you to find the right hook to link your issue with the right policy, people, and conversations.
3. Lay out the milestones
Define the milestones you need to hit to reach your objectives. These milestones are a series of steps that take you to your objective, leading you towards your goal.
Say your objective is to gain sponsorship of $X on a local level. Your milestones should indicate the number of partners you have at each stage of your campaign. These milestones will help you understand how close you are to reaching your objectives and if your strategy is working.
Here are a few examples of milestones in a political campaign strategy plan:
- Raising $Y of funds in one week.
- Expanding your database by X contacts from your constituency in the next 15 days.
- Get Y number of contacts in touch with your representative in the next ten days.
So, say your goal is to get more than ‘X’ votes for your candidate to win. One of your objectives would be to raise a total of $Y through your fundraising platforms. Breaking this down as milestones you would need to have collected $Z funds in the next 15 days, and so on.
4. Define your target audience
Understand who are the people you need to reach. These may be your voters, partners, government officials, etc. Now, finetune these sets of people to narrow down your target audience.
- People aged between 25-34
- People without a college degree
- People with mid to low income range
- People interested in politics or politically active, and so on.
Having a clear picture of the target audience helps you efficiently use your campaign budget. It also enables you to finetune your campaign messaging, marketing tools, and target locations suited to them.
Also, understand how each segment of your audience influences your campaign. Your approach to each of them needs to be different depending on the role they play.
Pro tip: Factor in the audience groups that may hinder the effectiveness of your campaign and formulate a strategy to overcome that.
5. Decide on the key messaging
Your campaign messaging should be consistent and have a clear positioning statement in terms of the causes your candidate is supporting.
What does your audience need and want to know about your campaign and candidate? What do they think about your candidate’s accomplishments in the past years?
How do you plan on spending the budget allocated if your candidate wins the election?
Your message should have that, and it should be persuasive and appealing to each set of audience you’re reaching out to. Although the framing of your message is different, the essence of your communication should be the same and in tune with your campaign’s goal.
Good campaign messaging covers the following pointers:
- The problem you’re trying to solve.
- Your approach to solving the problem.
- How your target audience can contribute to solving the problem.
- Expected results and how it indicates the problem has been solved.
For example, if the [bill name] is passed, America’s adult literacy rate can increase by X%. Currently, Y% of citizens are unemployed due to a lack of education and skills, and the literacy program will help all those people get back on their feet.
6. Outline the tactics and activities
Outline the campaign tactics and day-to-day activities to reach your milestones in your campaign strategy plan and prioritize them based on the impact they deliver. For example, the door to door canvassing will take place for ‘X’ days, through which we aim to collect ‘Y’ contact.
Your SWOT analysis can help you define these tactics. List these tactics in chronological order to determine the timeline for execution.
Here are a few examples of activities:
- A letter to a high-ranking official.
- An event addressing your target audience.
- A one-to-one meeting with the legislator.
- Advertisements on television.
- Regular social media activity.
- Phone calls to all your contacts.
- Press releases.
- Interview with government officials.
- Media interviews.
- Online petitions.
- Designing and distributing campaign materials such as t-shirts.
Each activity should have the following:
- A fixed timeline outlining start and end dates for your electoral activities.
- Defined teams for departments such as fundraising, promotions, public relations etc. Each team should have a lead.
- Expected outcome for each activity with defined timelines and connections to other activities.
- Metrics to measure the outcome.
- Budget divided within teams, milestones or activities.
7. Plan your monitoring and evaluation
You need to ensure that all the effort you put into your campaign is monitored and measured against the success metrics regularly. This helps you know if you’re headed in the right direction and how effective your campaign strategy plan is.
Here are some questions you may need to ask yourself during the tracking process:
- Are you targeting the right people?
- Does your messaging need any change?
- Are your tactics resulting in a week-on-week growth?
- Are there any challenges you are not addressing or opportunities you are missing out on?
Make the necessary changes and discard the parts of the strategy that are not working.
Now, with a solid plan in hand, your next step is to have the right tactics that can help you meet your budget goals and run successful campaign strategies.