Political campaigns tip: get the data from your political fan-base!

Let’s have a look at the political campaigns in the US:

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.

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