On January 1, 2014, Tom Basile took office as Councilman for the Town of Stony Point, New York. As a result of a hard-fought campaign, Republicans took back control of the Town Board and now hold a 4-1 majority. Basile states, “One of the highlights was also one of the most difficult parts. I made a commitment to go door-to-door personally, to as many households as I possibly could and take my message directly to the voters. I started in July, walked after work, on weekends, and whenever I could going door-to-door to targeted homes in the district. I probably hit about 75% of the town over the course of the campaign.”
We’ve stressed the importance of face-to-face interaction, door-to-door canvassing, and boots-on-the-ground. Sometimes, however, it can all seem overwhelming. If you introduce yourself to people from nearly every demographic (especially if you live in an urban city), you want to make sure that you avoid presenting the same message to each demographic. You might know which door you’ll be knocking on, but make sure you’ve done some groundwork as to who will be opening it.
Voter Gravity has integrated Esri Tapestry Segmentation into our Esri base maps. Esri Tapestry Segmentation combines of all the possible demographics you may encounter — whether you live in an Urban city or a rural area. They break six main categories into 65 different Lifestyles. Today, we’ve broken down the large tapestry into sections that correspond to your possible campaign area and picked just a few lifestyles to share. Hopefully this can be a starting point as you tailor your face-to-face talking points and introductions in a way that will be meaningful and powerful.
A. Principal Urban Centers:
1. Laptops and Lattes: Singles/shared apartments – These solo acts own a Blackberry, bank online, shop at Banana Republic, listen to public radio, and rent cars from Budget.
2. Social Security Set: Elderly Singles – This demographic reads books, paints, and draws, consults a financial planner, attends auto-racing events, owns/leasees domestic vehicle.
3. Urban Villages: Family mix w/strong family life – These families visit sea world, have mortgage insurance, play soccer/watch soccer on TV, listen to hispanic radio, and own/lease a Toyota.
4. High Rise Renters: Families/Singles – This demographic shops at BJ’s Wholesale club, has renter’s insurance, attends ball games, listens to Urban radio, and uses public transport.
5. Metro Renters: Singles/shared – These citizens travel by plane frequently, have renter’s insurance, play tennis, listen to alternative radio, and rent cars from Hertz.
B. Metro Cities:
1. Top Rung: Families in High Society – These high floaters participate in public/civic activities, own stock worth $75,000+, vacation overseas, listen to all-news radio, and own/lease a luxury car.
2. Urban Chic: Mix households living in upscale avenues – They order from Amazon.com, trade/track investments online, buy natural organic foods, listen to classical music on radio, and spent 30,000+ on last vehicle.
3. Milk and Cookies: Middle class families living in a metropolis – These families frequent fast-food/drive-in restaurants, watch the education channels and Cartoon Network, and own/lease a Nisson.
4. Inner City Tenants: Mixed company with global roots – They play football or basketball, have a personal education loan, go dancing, read music or fashion magazines, and own/lease a Honda.
5. Dorms to Diplomas: College students, singles and shared – These youngsters participate in a variety of sports, have personal education loans, own an iPod, watch MTV, and have an auto insurance with State Farm Mutual.
C. Urban Outskirts:
1. Boomburbs: High Society Couples w/Kids in suburbs – These families shop and bank online, visit disney world (Fl), listen to sports on radio, and own/lease an SUV.
2. Main Street U.S.A.: Mixed belonging to what Esri terms “traditional living” – Buy children’s toys, games, and clothes, consult financial planner, rent movies on DVD, and watch court shows in TV.
3. College Towns: Singles/Shared multiunit rentals – Work for a political party/candidate, bank online, attend college sports events, go to bars, listen to public, alternative radio, and own/lease a toyota.
4. Southwestern Families: Family Mix – These white, Amer. Indian, and Hispanic families – have a new car loan, play soccer, football, or softball, listen to Hispanic Radio, own/lease a Nixon.
5. Metro City Edge: Families in a metropolis – These just-off-the-city-limit-
D. Suburban Periphery:
1. Suburban Splendor: Married-Couple Families in High Society – They enjoy gardening, hold a large life insurance policy, stay at Hilton hotels, listen to all-news radio, and read travel, sports and magazines.
2. Silver and Gold: Married couples w/ no kids – these upper class seniors go boating and fishing, own shares in bonds, attend classical music shows/operas, and watch the golf channel.
3. Midlife Junction: Mixed combination of middle-aged, middle-class americans – these people go fishing, own U.S. Savings bonds, attend tennis matches, read 2+ daily, sunday newspapers.
4. Military Proximity: Married Couples w/Kids in a college or military environment – they play basketball, go bowling, trade stocks/bonds/funds online, watch news and sci-fi shows in TV.
5. Home Town: Mixed group living in small communities – these small town/steady job types play football, go fishing, have a personal education loan, attend country music performance, watch syndicated TV, and own/lease domestic vehicle.
E. Small Towns
*Esri only has three lifestyles for this category.
1. Cross Roads: Lower/Middle income family mix – these families watch movies on DVD, bak in person, play volleyball and softball, read fishing and hunting magazines, and own/lease a Ford.
2. Senior Sun Seekers: Married Couples w/no kids and singles – these relatively independent senior individuals are members of a fraternal order or veterans’ club, own annuities, go fishing, read, or play bingo, watch game and news shows on TV, and own/lease a station wagon.
3. Heartland Communities: Mixed group of lower/middle class individuals – they work on their lawn, garden. DIY projects, own shares in mutual funds, order products from Amazon, watch cable TV, and own.lease a domestic vehicle.
F. Rural Areas
1. Green Acres: Prosperous, married couple homeowners – they do gardening/woodworking, have home equity credit line, attend country music shows, watch auto-racing on TV, and drive 20,000+ mi/yr.
2. Salt of the Earth: Married-Couple families in small communities with settled jobs – they enjoy gardening and outdoor projects, own CD 6+ months, watch CMT, own a motorcycle.
3. Rural Resort Dwellers: Married/Couples w/no kids living in a small town – they do woodworking and furniture refinishing, have overdraft protection, do target shooting, watch rodeo/bull riding on TV, and own an ATB/UTV.
4. Rooted Rural: Married Couple Families with lower/middle income – they own dogs, use full-service bank, go hunting, fishing horseback riding, watch rodeos, tractor pulls on TV, Own and ATV/UTV.
5. Rural Bypass: Family mix of lower/middle income – they attend auto racing events, own CDs for 6+ months, go hunting, read fishing/hunting magazines, and own/lease a compact pickup.
If you have any questions about how Esri Tapestry Segmentation fits in with Voter Gravity data, contact us today!
Maybe your political campaign is keeping you so busy you’re struggling to find time to keep up with your role in social media. You’ve just hit a wall and are having a difficult time generating content. Chances are, you may be over-thinking it.
The great (and maybe not so great) thing about Twitter is that pretty much anything goes. Not every single tweet needs to push your campaign forward in an obvious way. The whole point of Twitter for the political candidate is to enable you to connect with more people. But unless you’re personal, it will be just as hard to connect online as it is in person. So unless your post is wildly offensive or inappropriate, it’s fine to post. That being said, there are ways to fail at Twitter, so make sure that your tweets aren’t hurting your cause.
If you’re still struggling to generate content, here is a list of what to tweet:
- Inspirational Quotes
- “Today in History” facts
- Radio and TV interviews
- Occasional links to your donate page
- Opportunities to volunteer for your campaign
- Commentary on national and local news
- Shout-outs to friends, volunteers, and colleagues
- Links to your blog
- Links to your website
- Replies to people who mention you
- Political events you’re hosting
- Pictures of your family
- Comment on current events
- Questions to followers
- Platform points
- Pictures of your volunteers
- Local events that you’ll be attending
- Relevant articles
- Pictures of you
- Fun/interesting statistics
- Political events occurring in the area
- Pictures of your hometown
- Local business highlights
- The benefits of living in your town
- What you’d change to make “home” a better place to live
- Shout out to campaign volunteers
- Thank local businesses for their support
- Breaking news
- Press releases
- YouTube clips
- Trending topics, if relevant (complete with hashtags)
- Vine videos
- Links to pictures on your Instagram
- Fun facts about your town/state
In my last post, I gave you 14 suggestions for where to find volunteers. The volunteer process, however, is not only about who you can get, but also how you can successfully engage, manage, and propel dozens of volunteers at a time. Once you accumulate a team of enthusiastic volunteers, here are a few pointers on how to keep them enthusiastic and committed:
1) Make your issues clear so that your volunteers know what they’re supporting and can accurately pass along your main ideas to others. Just because people have volunteered for your campaign does not necessarily mean that they know the ins and outs of why you’re running and what you stand for. They could be there for any number of reasons – anything from a recommendation by a friend, to simply a supporter of the party ticket you’re running on. It’s your job to make sure that your volunteers are informed and their questions answered.
2) Be kind. Most of these people will be working for little to no pay. They are (often) excited to actively support something they believe in, and will be driven by that excitement. Don’t ruin this by being rude. A little gratitude, a little show of friendliness despite your busy agenda will go a long way with volunteers. Take time to learn their names and recognize the work they accomplish. Note: how you treat your volunteers will inevitably get out into the community. The way in which you establish relationships now will reflect how you will govern once in office.
3) Show leadership. When I say be kind I do not mean be a pushover. People are following you and looking to you for direction so make sure you give them something to look up to. Your strength, conviction and character will stand out to your volunteers.
4) Give the volunteers a safe, clean, calm environment in which to work. Chances are campaign volunteers will be fielding calls, going door-to-door, calling people who may or may not be welcoming. It is your job to provide a place where your volunteers can come for answers to give to others, touch base, and relax after a long day of campaigning on your behalf. It’s a small way of showing gratitude to those who are working so hard to make you successful in your campaign.
5) Make it fun. Just because there’s a deadline and an end-goal does not mean that you’re volunteers should be treated as soldiers or as robots. Use gamification techniques: turn tasks into friendly competitions. It’s often not as much about what you do as it is about what you don’t do. If you’re not prepared, if the volunteers feel like their tasks are of no added value, if you waste your volunteers’ time, then you will guarantee that the experience will fall flat. And don’t forget the pizza parties to keep up moral! A well fed volunteer is a happy volunteer.
Asking people to volunteer on your campaign can be as difficult as asking for money. Many people need an extra push in order to spend their extra time helping you. The key is to actively recruit volunteers from a variety of places in your community. Reach out and and let them know that their time is valued and needed. I’ve listed 14 places to start looking for campaign volunteers, ranging from the basic to the more creative. Good luck!
- Begin with family. Parents, spouses, and your kids can be excellent sources of encouragement and help. Don’t hesitate to look to them – not just for advice and encouragement, but also for time. 2) Friends. Just like anything, it is best to start with what (or in this case who) you know. Chances are you already have their support and encouragement. Friends are often motivated to help campaign simply because they like you. They’ll volunteer time and energy to help you make your campaign dreams come true if they know that you’ll find value in their support.
- Previous Volunteers. As with friends and family, this may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many things fall through the cracks if you don’t keep track of everything and everyone. People who have helped either your or your political party before are great resources since they will already know what they’re doing.
- College Students are another great pool of prospects to pull from. This is your chance to offer college students a chance to improve their resume and be involved with your campaign in a capacity that fits their specific needs. Find the presidents of the college party chapters, speak at their meetings, give internship credit and offer lots of free pizza. Boom.
- Volunteer Networks are always an option. People who are familiar with volunteering and campaigns will know what they’re doing and will probably need less training.
- High School Students often need to fulfill a certain amount of community service hours for their school or college applications. Working on your campaign will give them the time or credit they need, and will add more energy to your campaign.
- Homeschooled Students may not have the community hour requirements but there’s a good chance they’ll have more time on their hands. Or, if they spend as much time in school as public and privately schooled students, homeschooled students will have much more flexible hours. And they may bring along a sibling or two. Announce your need through local homeschool leaders, newsletters, co-ops, events, etc.
- Senior Citizens. Like homeschoolers, senior citizens have a lot of time on their hands, and chances are they want to feel useful and help out. Putting up flyers in senior citizen centers and making personal visits to recruit volunteers might be well worth your time. Think creatively about the jobs that they can best help you with and let them know that their time is valued and needed.
- Churches may also be a good place to look for volunteers since they are hubs of socializing and community. Ask pastors, youth pastors, or small group leaders how you can best get in touch with their congregations.
- Campaign Events. People who come to these events are already supporters or want to find out more about your platform. This is a great opportunity to gain supporters and volunteers who will donate their time to helping you win.
- Your Donor Database. Depending on the size of your campaign, the size of this resource may vary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to them for time. If they’ve already agreed to donate money to your cause, they may just be willing to donate time as well.
- Facebook. Hopefully you’ve already set up a page and are using it to get your name out there and create conversation. There are ways to create open events on your page and discover new supporters. Post pictures of your current volunteers as they work on your campaign and include a link to a form for new campaign volunteers.
- Local Businesses. Local coffee shops and restaurants are great places to advertise, not just for your campaign but also for volunteers. By placing notices in often-frequented places, you up your chances of reaching out to more people.
- Classified Ads. This last one may seem like a no-brainer, but it really shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a simple way to get out the word and provide your information to people who may want to get involved.
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ve noticed our strong emphasis on the importance of being where your voters are – whether at their front door or on their favorite social networking sites. We think it’s important to combine a solid offline campaign with a complementary online, or digital, campaign. Here are our top three reasons why:
1) The numbers speak for themselves.
- Total number of month active Facebook users: 1,110,000,000
- Total number of mobile Facebook users: 680,000,000
- Total number of minutes spent on Facebook each month: 700 billion
- Average time spent on Facebook per visit: 20 minutes
By now, you’ve realized that if you don’t have an online presence your campaign is in serious trouble. This year, smartphone users have expanded to include 67% of the U.S. population. An incomprehensible amount of information is at the fingertips of the three out of four Americans who own a computer.
The stats say it all: the Internet has become the biggest forum for discussion available. With an online presence you could be a powerful part of that discussion. Without a strong presence you’re going to be left behind. Here are three social media tips that you, as a candidate, can apply to lay the foundation for a killer online digital campaign:
Publish often. And enjoy it.
This can be the time to really enjoy getting involved in the discussion. Almost everyone with a strong opinion will want to express it. If you let your accounts lag behind, you’re sending out an image that you can’t keep up. If, however, you step up to the plate, you’ll prove that you can keep up with the trends while pushing your ideas forward. People will want to follow someone who can keep up. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Here’s the key: select at least one person to drive your social media campaign. The intern who publishes whatever you shoot to him or her isn’t going to cut it. While you should produce original content as much as you can, appoint a digital specialist early on in the campaign.
Post with purpose.
In order to become a powerful part of the conversation (and truly augment your offline campaign), make sure you’re touching on the issues people care about – and are already talking about – instead of a copy/paste from your to-do list. Yes, tweet links to press releases and endorsements, as well as updates on your campaign website and blogs, but don’t stop there. Comment on national and local news, and include pictures of your events, yourself, and your supporters.
Get ideas from other candidates who are doing a good job online. On many popular accounts, you’ll see replies, retweets, mentions, hashtags, and shout-outs. Remember that being relevant always means involving your audience. On Twitter, follow other accounts. Don’t even be “that guy” who prides himself in Twitter account with 10,000 followers while he follows none. He’s missed the point of social media. Pursue engagement and invite feedback.
Check your work.
There is no magic formula to a successful social media campaign. But there are formulas that you’ll discover work for you. Know your data and make sure that you’re doing the right work. For instance, posts tend to be shared and liked more on weekends than throughout the week. Blogs, on the other hand, often have the most viewers early in the morning. Always know what’s working and what’s not working. Use a program that tracks your reach (such as BufferApp.com or ManageFlitter.com).
Staying on top of analytics will help you know who’s following what, the posts that people are actually reading, pages that your audience clicks through on your site, keywords that they respond to, etc. With this information you will be able to tailor the words that you use and the information that you put out in order to reach as many people as possible, resulting in new supporters.
Ten years ago you had 12 minute attention spans to work with in attracting voters online. Today, you have 8 seconds. Whether we like it or not, social media is the new currency, and unless we adjust accordingly, we’ll be broke.
If you’ve already made adjustments and have an online presence, then you’re doing much better than many of your colleagues. But having a web presence alone was cutting edge in the ’90s. Welcome to 2013.
With the competition from the Left and the advancements in digital campaigning and political technology, including data-driven analytics, testing, and optimization, it’s not enough to simply exist online.
Gain an edge by utilizing the latest technology – offline by turning data into votes on the ground – and online using tools and digital strategies to capture the attention of your voters and empower your offline campaign.
Here are five practical guidelines to grabbing attention and keeping it:
1. Position your important information strategically
The average page visit lasts a little less than a minute, so make sure that your viewer’s eye is drawn to the most crucial part of your campaign from the moment he or she access the site. For example, if your mission statement is what you think will empower supporters, place it in large text at the top. And as always, test it out. Is your important information placed strategically? Use online tools such as Usability Hub’s Five Second Test, which gives users the ability to test sections of their site against a random audience.
2. Avoid clutter
Everyone is tempted to put all their information on that first page, but don’t do it. Rather than overwhelm your audience with cluttered content, simplify your home page and make it interesting enough so that people will want to click through to your more meaty platform. Today, with the dominance of technology and social media in every sphere, including politics, it is well worth the time and funds to hire a professional web designer. This will ensure that your layout highlights the important information without losing anything crucial and keeps the reader on your website.
3. Ensure that your website is running properly
This may seem simple, studies show that if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 40% of users will abandon the page. The faster your site loads the better your chances that people will actually read your website, let alone click through it. There are online tools that you can download to ensure your website reaches its maximum viewing potential.
4. Connect to your other social media networks
Online campaigning doesn’t stop with the website. Facebook is a must for the modern campaign. We think Twitter is too. Think of social networks as different social functions. The more events you go to, the more people you meet, and the more you get the word out, the more reach you will have for your ideas. A website is the perfect place to advertise your presence on other social networks. Use it to interact with your audience and broadened your reach.
5. Analyze and improve
Here at Voter Gravity we live and breath data and analytics. Never implement a suggestion without testing and analyzing if it actually works for you. Only by looking back and determining who has visited your site, clicked through links, commented on posts, used certain search terms, etc. can you craft your digital strategy into something truly successful. If the numbers don’t add up, then make improvements. Google Analytics recently released a report about how the Obama 2012 campaign took advantage of Google Analytic tools to gain an upper edge: “Having quick and easy access to actionable data was essential for President Obama’s data-driven re-election campaign in 2012…. Early on, they turned to Google Analytics to help the web, email, and ads teams understand what motivated new supporters to become more vocal advocates and regular donors over time. The team tested various secondary calls-to-action after a visitor’s initial signup or donation to encourage further involvement with the campaign.” Check out the full case study here.