Politics is a daunting topic for many voters, especially those who are not affiliated with any party. The increasing level of non-party social engagement across Europe suggests that a growing number of people prefer organisationally unbound and issue-related political participation over membership-based participation.
Where to start
Political campaigns should have communication channels that cater to a broad range of people, including those unlikely to vote. This not only helps drive up turnout, but also introduces new opportunities for making propositions more relatable and comprehensible to the undecided and hesitant.
Digital content platforms have become indispensable for tapping new potential voters and addressing them directly. The most popular are email newsletters, as they facilitate an immediate, almost intimate communication with audiences. This format is ideal for providing information on upcoming elections, commentary on important issues or detailed explanations of complex policies, as well as for collecting feedback from relevant voter groups directly.
Fostering long-term engagement
However, simply having a newsletter is not enough. Our goal is to continuously attract new readers and keep them engaged long-term. Here are a few simple actions that might help you get there.
- Firstly, it’s important to have a strong online presence. Websites are fundamental for newsletter campaigns. Your calls to action (i.e., subscribe) should always be prominently displayed there.
- Integrating sticky widgets into sidebars can come in handy in making sure nobody leaves your websites without having stumbled across your calls to sign up.
- Conduct surveys on your websites, promote them on social media, and ask for email contacts to deliver the results. You may design them in such a way that participants can subscribe before, during, or after. You can advertise that the results will be published in your newsletter.
- Another popular incentive that often drives people to sign up is offering practical information in the form of factsheets or whitepapers in exchange for contact details and consent to the subscription.
- The more personalised newsletters come across the more likely they are to enthuse audiences with their content. Multimedia content (infotainment), relatable language and reader-sensitive topics will help you keep new readers engaged over a longer period of time.
Turning views into votes
So far, so good. But how to drive people to actually go vote for you? Here are some suggestions:
- Most people have a hazy understanding of what governments and politicians really do. But almost everyone cares about what happens in their own communities. A great deal of sympathy can be gained by focusing your content on local issues. Make the conversation about what matters for them and their environment; not about you, the party and opponents, nor the country.
- Your communication must be reciprocal to bear fruit in the longer term. The aim should be to gradually create a platform through which potential voters can get involved in shaping policies.
- The government touches everyone’s lives in more ways than one, and everyone has an opinion about how the government should handle various issues, even if they don’t realise it. Try to use this to your advantage when you encourage people to cast their ballots for you.
- A subtle but effective way of mobilising an irregular voter is by slightly altering your vocabulary when you ask questions or talk about issues that are relevant to them. People’s internal identity is in most cases only loosely connected to their actions. You may capitalise on this discrepancy by emphasising their identity of being a changemaker rather than the act of voting for you.
- Finally, circulating that many people will show up to vote (along with frequent explainers and reminders of process and date) helps stimulate turnout. No one wants to go to an uncrowded party, and no one wants to be on a losing team.
All this is easier to write (and read) than it is to do in practice. There is no universal recipe for successful voter canvassing, only tried and tested ingredients which have proven impactful in the past. Stay tuned for more PartyParty tips on political campaigning.