Democrat or Republican: we can all agree that any politician’s word should be taken with a grain of salt. People also agree that they can’t stand robocalls come midterms in November. They’re relentless; they’re predicting the apocalypse if the opposing party wins; they’re not doing enough to connect with voters. But they’re also a necessity for politicians to reach out to large groups of voters in a short time span.
That’s the catch-22 campaigns face with robocalls: In order for robocalls to be successful, they have to reach as many people as possible, but they also have to hit a personal note with voters.
It hard, but it’s also doable. Campaigns just have to prioritize gathering as much data as possible on their voters and building voter personas.
We’re going to discuss how political campaign managers can collect, analyze, and organize data based on key demographics and use it to create targeted voter personas.
How to Create a Voter Persona
There are a certain number of steps a political manager should take in order to create a successful voter persona. We’re going to break those down first before we get into how to use a voter persona.
1. Define Your Audience
It’s important to keep the audience in mind — an imperative in politics — because your candidate’s success is in their hands. At the end of the day, they have to feel like they’re connecting with your candidate personally, and in order to do so, you have to know which group of people your candidate’s message is going to resonate with.
To gain a better understanding of who your voters are, research key demographics like age, gender, relationship status, occupation, salary, district they live in, etc. A best practice that has several benefits is to record all the calls you make.
2. Go Beyond Demographics
It’s not enough to rely on specific demographics to paint a clear picture of who your voters are. Knowing where a person lives and what they do isn’t enough for anyone to say they actually know who they’re reaching out to. Demographics are only the start. If the candidate’s base is middle class, that would be way too general for a voter persona.
Here’s a list of questions that can be asked, or should be explored, when creating a voter persona:
- What does a typical day look like?
- What social media are they on?
- What publications (print or digital) do they read?
- What do they do at work?
- Do they have any hobbies?
If their day is spent almost entirely at work, they might be hoping for jobs with shorter hours to spend time with their families; if they’re on social media they want to be connected with the world; if they’re reading, what they read tells you what they’re interested in, or more specifically, what party they vote for; if they work physically-demanding jobs, they might want better health insurance; if they have hobbies outside of work, like, for example, hunting or hiking, conservation policies might speak to them. You get none of this from “I consider myself middle class.”
3. Include Names and Photos
Voter personas, as we’ve already said, need to be personal. Start by including a name for the voter. If you believe one voter in particular speaks for a wide range of voters, use it! People remember names — not Voter X. Voter X can be anyone, but including a name personalizes the persona. You see people as people, which isn’t common in politics.
To go even further, add a picture. People, by nature, are visual learners, which can and needs to be taken advantage of.
How to Use Voter Personas for Robocalls
So now that you know what the barebones of a voter persona should be, we can focus on how to actually use them for your political robocalls and phone banking campaigns. Let’s take a closer look.
It’s not enough to call a voter and say, “You live in X district, which has voted *insert political party* for the past fifty years, meaning you should vote for me.” If I got that call — and didn’t hang up immediately — I would ask, “So what?”.
Robocalls have to be specific to the voters you’re trying to reach. Use demographics to connect with your voters. Something like, “X district has voted *insert political party* for fifty years straight and I align myself with that party because I believe X, Y, and Z needs to happen in order to keep taxes from rising so people with low incomes can get by” actually speaks to people.
There is no such thing as being too specific when it comes to voter personas. People are different, and there’s no way you can group everyone into one specific category. By creating multiple voter personas, political campaign managers can target groups of voters with robocalls that go beyond attacking the other candidate.
Ultimately, politicians win based on how well their message resonates with voters. Understand and take advantage of the fact that voters — despite falling in line with your overall message — have different priorities.
For example, one voter might prioritize lower taxes while another prioritizes environmental issues. You can create a persona that characterizes the average environmentally-concerned voter and from that, a robocall talking about policies pertaining to the environment. Maybe some voters are angry on social media and would respond positively to negative attack ads.
By creating segments based on voter personas, your political campaign becomes much more personalized.
At the end of the day, voters want to vote for a politician who they feel is interested in addressing the issues affecting their everyday lives: smaller job markets, low wages, healthcare, climate change, high taxes — whatever it may be.
By creating voter personas with key demographics as a foundation, political campaign managers can segment their voters into more personalized categories based on what matters specifically to them. That way, political campaigns take full advantage of robocalls and effectively convey their message to the entire voter base.
Author: Reuben Yonatan
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP — trusted VoIP comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs. Reuben assists SMBs align business strategy with culture and improve overall corporate infrastructure. Follow him on Twitter @ReubenYonatan.