The first step of organizing a political campaign is to come up with a campaign message. After all, the initial impression of the candidate formed by the voter is guided by the message. No amount of fundraising or volunteer action is going to win over voter support if the message is lost on the voter.
Remember that in the run-up to the election, the media, online commentary and the opponent’s campaign is going to clutter the message. This might disorient the assured voters and make the candidate lose votes. So the campaign has to maintain communication with the voters at every step.
How is that achieved?
To keep up communication with the voters, a campaign needs a strong ground game. A ground game will make it possible to have one-on-one conversations with individual voters. This will keep voter morale high and boost turnout for supporters come election day.
This in not the only reason why a campaign needs to talk to voters. In fact, a stable line of communication with voters helps a campaign evolve and be positioned better over time. So here are a few reasons to keep your focus on voter communication during your next campaign.
Tap into voter perspective
Initiating direct communication with voters will help a campaign understand voter mindset. Most campaigns attempt to break down its voter base into demographics so they can structure their message for each demographic. However, the demographic is only the tip of the iceberg when you approach an individual voter. Every voter has a different perspective of the candidate and is motivated by personal reasons.
Talking to the voter will make you understand what draws them to the campaign. This is great to understand the types of supporters your message is attracting. Knowing what makes your supporters want to vote will help you attract similar types of voters. You can come up with a specific message for every individual voter based on the voter data you collect on them.
Get feedback on voter reaction
As the campaign progresses, many voters tend to change their mind based on the current policy in focus or the public narrative. Now you do not want to lose your supporters based on some mudslinging attack by the opposition, do you?
So it is better to talk to your voter base at every turn and know their opinion. You have to establish a feedback loop between the voters and the campaign. Through the voter feedback, you can perceive how the voters reacted during ups and downs faced by the campaign. You can also address individual concerns of the voters that arise further down the campaign trail.
Uphold yourself in voter’s eyes
Speaking of concerns, there are going to be different ones according to the voter’s perspective. Plus their perspective is dictated by the information that they face in their daily lives. For a voter who is not politically active, these information sources would be the news outlets they follow, their social circles and their personal interactions. Samuel Popkin, the American political scientist, calls this the “low information rationality” of voters.
Basically, voters use their existing knowledge to construct a personal narrative about the candidate. Based on this narrative, they decided whether the candidate fits the role to choose who to vote for. So you have to pierce this personal narrative and position yourself as a suitable candidate in the voter’s eyes. For this, voter communication is vital. You have to address their concern at every step. Explain your position so that you do not leave gaps in the message they receive.
Persuade the undecided voters
While low information rationality states voters do not seek extra information, weak supporters and the ones who are still on the fence are open to hearing both sides of the argument. Here, face to face interactions stand a better chance of winning voters over to your side. You could persuade voters with the right conversation to address their situation.
This, of course, has to be a genuine interaction. So your volunteers need to understand how to convey your message and connect with the voter on a personal level.
Keep voters in the loop
A persuaded voter is convinced of who they support but the message does not stay with them perpetually. So you have to keep the voter in the loop throughout the campaign cycle. In general, it is good to have a renewed interaction with the voter every three weeks. Repetition is important. It makes the message stick in their minds when election day arrives.
Persuasion is also not a one-step journey. A voter might need several engagement sessions before they extend you their support. So keep up interactions with your supporters and undecided voters. In fact, communicate your message to even weak supporters of your opponent.
Remind voters at every turn
Voters have short memories. A repeated engagement process ensures that they remember the candidate and the message at the polling booth.
Not every voter cares about the specifics of the candidate’s policies or their political history. So the campaign literature or other broadcasted information about the candidate might be passed over by a voter. Here a communication process with the voter will bring the candidate to light in his eyes. This process which worked on the individual voter has to be repeated for them.
Communicating with voters is the only way to win over their support. Be it through digital tools or traditional methods, every campaign aims to talk to the voters so they could convey their message directly. Voter communication does away with the dissonance between the voter and the campaign message.Tags: campaign message, campaign strategy, political slogan, voter data, voter engagement, voter profiling, voter turnout