Whether you are you preparing to run for election in a trade association, a union, or a social club, it’s always about politics. It’s about convincing your members, or colleagues, to trust you with their votes. Competition is always intense, so how do you convince people that you are their best option in a pool of highly-qualified candidates?
Here are five proven ways to improve your chances of winning the election.
1. Flatter voters with a “cool” façade and jaw-dropping promises
Primarily, your goal is to make voters feel valued and important. To achieve this, you will need to interact with them often. And don’t shy away from answering difficult and contentious questions. Take the limelight, show your leadership skills, shake their hands, and laugh at their jokes. Be there for them whenever they need you.
When interacting with voters and listening to their problems, back that up by telling them what they desperately need to hear. Speak their language and show empathy.
This is Politics 101: If you can’t promise something that you can deliver, then promise something that you definitely won’t deliver – it’s better than not promising anything at all!
2. Leverage the power of 1:1 voter engagement
Although personalized voter engagements are hard and time-consuming, no amount of advertising will get you as many votes as this strategy will.
For a start, open social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and other relevant social media platforms and use them to reach out to your prospective voters. If your budget allows, hire a good social media management team and task them with the responsibility of keeping your voters happy and informed. Sending direct messages to individual voters, posting campaign messages on Facebook, and replying to questions from voters has proved fruitful for many candidates.
After creating a good impression online, start meeting people in their comfort zones. Knock on their doors, meet them in church, and attend their book clubs. Bottom line: Be in any social event that gets you a 1:1 interaction with your voters.
3. Don’t underestimate the importance of traditional campaign tactics
If you are running for a local office, for example, you can easily win the undecided votes by employing traditional tactics such as the Yard Sign tactic. To pull this off, you will need to convince a few respected people to endorse your candidacy within their neighbourhoods by simply putting up your campaign signs in their yards. Undecided voters will most likely vote for you out of the respect they have for such neighbours.
Voting apparel is another traditional technique that you can invest in. All you need to do is to partner with a clothing company to create custom t-shirts and other apparel and then sell them (or give them away free of charge if you can afford to) during your campaign rallies. People who wear branded t-shirts or caps with your campaign message will be your agents back in their homes and neighbourhoods.
These marketing ideas have worked for many candidates before and as much as technology is threatening to edge them out, they aren’t entirely ineffective today. However, unlike in the past, modern voters aren’t motivated by lazily-crafted and plain campaign messages. You will need to get extremely creative if these old school tactics are to work today.
4. Wealthy or not, ask for campaign donations, but don’t entirely count on them
If you are wealthy, you might be tempted to fund your campaign from your own pocket instead of fundraising. Nothing is wrong with that, but you should understand that campaign fundraising isn’t always about the money. It is more about loyalty; a chance for people to show their desire to invest their money and emotions in your candidacy. Someone who donates money to your campaign will surely campaign for you without pay.
But note that not all campaign fundraising is successful. You understand that even your closest friends can let you down sometimes, right? The best thing to do, therefore, is to have your own money in case you find yourself needing it, but still go ahead and ask for donations.
5. Don’t overlook grassroots and local party politics
Local politicians – elected or otherwise – have tons of reliable information that you can use to your advantage. Liaise with them to get your message to grassroots voters. Always remember that even the most sophisticated campaign teams need eyes and ears on the ground.
In today’s complicated electioneering stage, getting your policies across can be daunting. It requires wits, clarity of vision, and a well-coordinated campaign team to capture your preferred office. And remember, there isn’t an office too big for grassroots electioneering, or too small for top-notch strategizing.