Picture this: Mid-July. Sunny skies. Soaring temperatures. A gorgeous pool calling to you through the heat.
But before you jump in, you need to test the water with a few toes. The cool refreshment is enough to convince you. It’s time to commit and dive in the deep end.
What if your campaign’s welcome strategy had the same effect on your supporters?
What if you gave them a taste of what your campaign offers and convinced them to go all-in with their support?
A strong welcome game is essential for growing and maintaining a healthy base of committed supporters. However, some campaigns become so focused on other aspects of winning an election — such as fundraising or canvassing – that they overlook the value of those initial interactions with new supporters. Keep reading to learn what can happen without a welcome process, potential challenges you can anticipate, and strategies you can implement when creating your welcome messaging.
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The Impact of a Missing Welcome Strategy
A voter engaging with your campaign is just the beginning of your relationship with them. Where that relationship leads has much to do with what you do after that initial interaction, whether they’ve joined your email list or donated to the campaign. Without a well-structured welcome strategy, you’re risking:
- Loss of engagement: Many supporters may be interested in volunteering with your campaign but don’t know where to start. They may not have the time or motivation to dig around for information about how to get involved, or they could be so busy they need an extra nudge to remind them.
- Reduced retention: They say you have 7 seconds to make a first impression when you meet someone. If you don’t show supporters that you value them from the beginning, they’re less likely to remain active throughout your campaign.
- Ineffective data collection: Data helps you tailor your messaging more effectively. Don’t miss this chance to gather information about your supporters.
- Missed fundraising opportunities: A welcome message provides an opportunity to request campaign contributions. How many thousands of dollars is your campaign losing by not sending a well-written welcome?
- A hit to your campaign’s image: In today’s tech-driven world, people expect virtual confirmation. Place an order, and an online store will email you confirmation. Join an email list, and a thank you email will land in your inbox. If supporters don’t receive a message confirming they’ve connected with you, they may begin to doubt your campaign’s trustworthiness and credibility.
Challenges of Developing a Welcome Strategy
Creating a welcome strategy can be a complex task. Here are a few challenges you may encounter and solutions to help overcome them.
Time and money are finite resources, never more so than during a political campaign. Finding and training enough staff to handle welcome processes can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with an already small number of staff and volunteers. Campaigns typically have limited budgets, making allocating resources for welcome strategies such as personalized messages or extensive outreach efforts difficult.
Automating your welcome strategy with technology is one of the most effective ways to mitigate resource constraints. Choose a software that helps you send targeted, personalized emails and texts to supporters. Many tools have flexible pricing based on what tier of support you opt for.
Personalized messages typically succeed most, but gathering enough supporter information to send customized messages can take time and effort. It’s vital that your campaign complies with privacy regulations and obtains consent for data usage. Establish and follow data collection protocols that comply with data privacy regulations. In addition, be sure that data is securely stored and protected from unauthorized access.
Timing and consistency
Sending welcome messages promptly after a supporter’s initial engagement is essential. Still, it can be a struggle to maintain consistent engagement and communication with supporters throughout the campaign, especially when campaign dynamics change or resources fluctuate.
Designate a staff member, such as a field or digital organizer or even a digital firm, to oversee your welcome messaging and ongoing communication with supporters. After your initial welcome, consider sending a series of welcome messages scheduled at specific intervals. Most– if not all– email providers allow you to create email sequences that do just that. Create the sequence once and then use it thousands of times.
7 Tips for a Stronger Welcome Game
Creating a strong welcome strategy requires you to be intentional about every aspect of your communication.
- Who exactly are you speaking to?
- How are you trying to move them up the ladder of engagement?
- How are you making them feel like they’re a valued part of your campaign?
- How often are you communicating?
- What communication methods will you use?
These are all questions to consider as you design your welcome processes.
- Tailor your messaging
Personalization makes your supporters feel appreciated and connected to the campaign. You can personalize your communication by:
- using the supporter’s name.
- referencing specific ways they have interacted with your campaign.
- segmenting your audience based on demographics, location, or previous interactions.
- sharing content that’s most relevant to your supporters’ interests or values.
- asking for feedback.
Different demographics typically prefer to be welcomed in different ways. For example, younger supporters such as Millenials and Gen Z often choose digital communication over physical. Older supporters– Baby Boomers and Gen X– may appreciate printed materials, phone calls, and traditional media channels such as TV and newspapers.
- Consistently stagger your communication
It’s the age-old Goldilocks problem— you need to find just the right timing for your communication. Send messages regularly to keep your campaign at the front of people’s minds, but don’t overwhelm them with an over-the-top barrage of messages that burns them out. To calibrate your cadences, you can track engagement (i.e., opens and clicks) in most communication CRMs.
- Be inclusive
Your supporters come from diverse backgrounds, so your welcome messaging– and all campaign communication– should keep that in mind. Use inclusive language that avoids assumptions about race, gender, religion, and other characteristics. Include images and content that is representative of all walks of life. Ensure accessibility for supporters who may have vision challenges, be hard of hearing, or not have access to standard communication channels.
- Use clear calls to action
Provide specific calls to action about ways your supporters can immediately get involved, such as volunteering, donating, or amplifying the campaign on social media. Make it easy to engage by including relevant links for each action. Someone may not be willing to copy and paste a link to Twitter, but will take a few seconds to click a share button you include in an email.
- Adapt to changing circumstances
Your voters support you based on your stance on certain issues and topics. When something relevant to those issues comes up– such as pending legislation or current events– make the most of it by addressing it in your welcome messaging.
- Use multiple communication methods
Reach out to supporters through different communication channels such as email, social media, and text. You can also use mediums like video messages, handwritten notes, or personalized gifts (e.g., bumper stickers, buttons, or a yard sign). An individual’s demographics and level of involvement can help you decide the best method of communication.
- Analyze metrics to assess your effectiveness
Metrics that you examine depend on the platform you’re using. For email, you can track open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Social media metrics include likes, shares, comments, and follower growth.
Save Time by Automating Your Welcome Strategy
Technology has made it easier than ever to automate various processes of your campaign— including your welcome strategy. Choose from dozens of tools and platforms to streamline your engagement efforts and save your sanity.
Email marketing software
Automate email welcome sequences, segment your audience, and analyze engagement metrics to adapt your efforts throughout your campaign.
Text messaging software
Create automated welcome SMS messages and engage with supporters through text.
Social media management tools
Schedule and automate welcome messages and posts across multiple social media platforms.
Numero has a communications CRM (customer relationship management) that can send broadcast emails to select audiences to move them up the ladder of engagement. For more personal touches, we also offer one-click personal follow-up messages for text and email – not to mention voicemail drops. All of these scale your campaign’s ability to be authentic and build relationships with your supporters.
Fine Tune Your Welcome Game
If your welcome strategy could use a boost, consider ways you can automate the process. You may spend a little extra time setting it up initially, but in the long run, the payoff will more than make up that initial investment. Any platforms and tools listed above are a great place to get started.