Let’s have a look at the political campaigns in the US:
- Get the latest — Barack Obama
- Mitt Romney for President | Mitt Romney for President of the United States of America in 2012 (the splash page kind of banned my IP) :)
- Gary Johnson 2012
- Jill Stein for President
Now let’s look on how to they get the data from their fans.
Splash page (right the intro) Get the latest — Barack Obama
Header in the main page (the splash page was something like Obama’s above, but it didn’t load to me, I could only see it in Google Cache; the below screenshot is their header) Mitt Romney for President | Mitt Romney for President of the United States of America in 2012 (the splash page kind of banned my IP) :)
Splash page – Gary Johnson 2012
Home page, no intro / splash page (it’s a fragment from the homepage) Jill Stein for President
So, what do we notice? The candidates do a lot of effort to get the emails of the voters. Some aim for other media, also (Twitter / Facebook / phone number). But most candidates aim for email address. They also ask for the ZIP code, to geographically locate.
I failed to understand the importance of such a database prior to the current local elections in Romania.
Now, it’s quite obvious to me why do the US guys ask for this data:
- If you enter the web site, you most likely want to know more about the candidate. But how can they keep in touch with you? They need your data for this.
- If you just read a page or two, have a look at their bio / photos / videos, and then leave, they may have lost you. Give them email / zip / phone, and they can contact you again and again. You have already shown interest, you are a valuable visitor.
- If someone is most likely to:
- Donate money.
- Donate time.
- Donate resources.
- Lend resources.
- Spread the word.
, well, they are likely to visit your web site. Get their data and ask for their help.
- The ZIP code is very important for local meetings (“If you live here, we know 3 other people who live near you, we might put you in contact”).
- There are crucial moments during a campaign, when you need to send a message to all of your followers. Sometimes, it’s hard to get TV appearances, and not everybody watches TV. If you have a database of your fan-base, you can send them emails during campaign.
- It’s important to know how many people support you. Is it 10,000 or 1,000,000? It’s not 100% exact (not all the people are on the Internet), but it’s one of the best media to handle.
What to do with the data (email / phone / ZIP address)?
- Don’t abuse it. Use it with a bit of care.
- Do keep in touch, don’t let your fan-base forget about you.
- Ask for help (money, time, resources, spreading the word).
- Suggest local meetings.
- Spread your key messages in the key moments.
- Do phone. Get local volunteers to call people. Much more powerful than email / SMS.
You should ask for more data (full name, key areas in which a person can / is willing to help, address), but even the above (email, phone, ZIP code) should do for a good database.