22-Step Blueprint to Winning a Local Election (or Marketing Campaign)

The health of our communities depends on the leadership of politicians and business owners. The more voices that participate, the better our communities are. This blueprint shows how to run a successful campaign to help you move your ideas into action.

IMG_2842

Development of the Blueprint

It’s election season.

While presidential candidates are filling the airwaves, the elections that have the greatest day-to-day impact on our lives are the local elections happening throughout the country.

These candidates are often self-funded or backed by a handful of supporters. Their ideas and policies build communities and create the quality of life in the cities, towns, and counties in which we all live.

Despite the importance of these roles, it’s not easy for someone to run. There is no playbook on how to run a shoestring campaign, and the idea of a campaign feels daunting — scary enough to frighten away the potential leaders that our communities need.

My Election Experience

One year ago, I took the leap and ran for city council in my hometown of Brookings, South Dakota. I learned through trial and error what worked and what didn’t.

In the end, I ran a $2,000 campaign in a city of 23,000 people, and I won the election — while increasing voter turnout from an average of 20% to 26%. Not bad for a local election with no national or state issues on the ballot.

Through the process of the campaign, I also realized that the techniques that were at the heart of a successful political campaign are the exact same tactics that also drive a successful marketing campaign.

Convincing someone to vote (and vote for you) is not much different from persuading them to pay attention to you and then purchase or sign up for your product or service. Plus, starting and marketing your business often feel as daunting as running a political campaign.

Thus, this blueprint. If you know what to focus on, where to spend your money, and what to measure, you can win your next campaign, be it political or business.

This blueprint will walk through 22 strategies and then share the cost of each strategy in terms of money and time. Since this blueprint is best used as a reference piece, you can download it for free as a PDF at the bottom of this page or as a Kindle book.

Please share it. Because at 9 Clouds, we believe everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard.

Digital tools allow anyone, regardless of budget, to create and share their message. This equal playing field democratizes leadership in our communities and empowers local businesses to compete with big-box retailers.

These changes will be realized only if we have the knowledge and courage to take action.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.43.23 PM


Before the Campaign

Create a foundation for your campaign before the spotlight is shining on you.

1. Create Your Core Content

These are the ideas that you will stand for, the goals you have for your campaign. Your core content is the text you will use to create ads and emails, the text you will speak from at debates, and the talking points that will be shared in the media.

I was caught off guard when I first submitted my signatures to run for city council. I immediately received a phone call from the newspaper asking why I was running and what I wanted to accomplish. This is your first (free) chance to get in front of a large number of voters, so be ready.

The same is true with start-up businesses. Before you publicly launch, you have the benefit of working in anonymity. The minute you launch, people will ask you what you are building and selling. Be ready to answer them by creating your core content first.

Don’t get into the weeds with your core content. Keep it high level. If people seem interested in a specific topic or ask you about it, show your knowledge in that area by sharing details.

In my campaign, I narrowed my ideas to three areas of focus: talent, openness, and place. I then had specific policy goals within each area. When I was asked a question or was trying to come up with a topic for an ad or speech, I could easy think through my three high-level focus areas.

Cost: Either free on Medium or the price of hosting your own site. We recommend using Flywheel to launch your own site (especially if you will use the site before, during, and after the campaign).

Time: At least five hours to really think through this piece

2-4. Choose Your Conversions

2. Choose Your Key Conversion Point

Where do supporters or customers convert? Facebook ads, signs, and the like are all great, but you need to establish one key location that guarantees the best chance of converting people into a voter or buyer.

For me, that key conversion point was my email list. Email is almost always the key conversion point for campaigns. The reason is that email provides maximum contact with an individual. With their email, you are able to ask for donations, votes, and social shares; invite them to events; target online ads to them; ask them to purchase, and more.

To start, I created a MailChimp list for free. Then I created a simple form. I made sure to personalize the form with a photo and add links after they signed up to take action.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 10.13.57 PM

If I started over, I would make sure to have a few checkboxes on the form so that people could tell me what they were interested in doing. For example, I would enable them to check “I want to donate,” “I want to get friends to vote,” and/or “I want to share the campaign online.” I eventually did this on the sidebar of my site, but I lost some money and volunteers by not adding it before the campaign launched.

Cost: Free for up to 2,000 subscribers on MailChimp. A paid account enables automation (highly recommended) and starts at $10 a month.

Time: Two hours of setup

3. Identify Secondary Conversion Points

Imagine the “path of purchase,” as it is sometimes called. How does someone go from signing up for your email list to doing whatever it is you want them to do (donate, campaign, vote, buy, share, etc.)? And what, ultimately, do you want them to do?

Most likely, there are multiple ways that someone can help you. Someone who lives in another town or state may want to help your political campaign with a donation and a social media share. Someone who is not the target market for your product or service may want to resell it as an affiliate or review it in a blog post.

Identify the actions a person ultimately takes. In my campaign, I focused on four (from least to most important):

  1. Share my campaign via social media and email
  2. Personally invite 10 people to vote for me
  3. Donate to the campaign
  4. Register and vote for me

The order of these actions is based, again, on return. I found that social media shares and emails helped increase awareness of my campaign, but most of the time it was with friends and family who weren’t voters, so it wasn’t as useful as it seemed.

The personal invites were a powerful way to grow my email list (see step 1). I invited supporters to type in the names and emails of other voters who they thought should vote for me. I then emailed those people and said, “Sam thought you should vote for me; here a link to my big ideas and a personal introduction.”

The donations were helpful, not just for the money, but also for the commitment. As we have written about on the 9 Clouds blog, asking someone if they would take an action and asking them to pay for something are two completely different things. If you ask someone to donate or buy, you know how they truly feel. Plus, a donation is essentially a guarantee that they will actually get out and vote for you. They have made a financial commitment (or a social bond, as Mauss would call it), and they will follow through with a vote. Thus, whether it is $1 or $100, ask for a donation. It will lead to votes.

Registration and votes (or purchases, on the business side) are the ultimate goal. Make it easy for someone to register and vote (or buy). That means you need to host registration parties, take people’s forms to the courthouse for them, and explain how people can vote early (along with instructions on how to vote). Increase turnout by attracting new voters and voters who have recently moved to town. Make sure that these people get re-registered in your community and that they know how to best help you with a vote.

I set a quantifiable goal of increasing turnout 5% with 100 new voters. This goal gave the tactic a name and set the North Star for my campaign.

Cost: Free

Time: One hour of strategy

4. Create Secondary Conversion Pages Online

Once you know your secondary conversion points, it’s time to set them up.

Before you launch your campaign, you want to be able to accept donations online. I used Gumroad as an easy way to accept online donations. Here’s my page:

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 10.21.05 PM

 

It takes a few minutes to set up, and Gumroad keeps 5% of your payments, plus $0.25 per transaction. Importantly, it allows you to ask for the email address and street address of each donor. If they donate over $100, you will need to report their name (in South Dakota, at least).

To gather names of other voters, use a MailChimp form again. WuFoo is another way to easily create an online form.

Cost: 5% of donations, plus $0.25 per transaction

Time: 30 minutes of set-up

5. Set Your Budget (Time + Money)

Time and money are inversely related.

If you want to spend less time on a campaign, you can do so only if you are willing to spend more money. If you are looking to save money, you will probably have to invest more time. The same philosophy proved true in my city council campaign (and in almost every marketing campaign 9 Clouds runs for our clients).

Before you start any campaign, set a goal of what you want to spend in time and money. Without a goal, spending in both can quickly spiral out of control.

In most campaigns, there is always more you can do and more you can spend money on. At some point, however, you have to draw the line and say “no more.” If you start with a goal, you can stop when you reach the goal. I would also recommend searching for the point of diminishing return and consider stopping there. If you have found the 20% of activity that will deliver 80% of the value, pause and see if more time or money is actually needed.

Cost: Free

Time: 30 minutes of planning

My Budget (Time + Money)

Before the election, I was told that a basic campaign in my hometown of Brookings would require about $1,500. I ended up raising just over $2,000 and had enough money on the last day to order pizza for supporters who came to the election return party.

In terms of my donations, I spent about:

  • 33% on print material (signs and targeted mailers)
  • 33% on newspaper ads (just one ad the weekend before the election and one right after the campaign to say thank you)
  • 17% on digital ads (almost all Facebook ads — see step 10) and digital tools (voter roles, website, etc.)
  • 17% on live events (pizza, beer, etc. at voter registration parties; meet-and-greets; vote return party)

In terms of my time, I spent about:

  • 33% meeting with people, often one-on-one (focusing first on influencers in the community and then on small groups and events that were ideally hosted by other people — more on that below)
  • 33% working online (creating videos, social media messages, blog posts, ads, emails, etc.)
  • 17% going door to door the weekend before the election
  • 17% putting up and taking down signs

If I were to rate the ROI of these efforts in rough percentages of success, I would say:

  • One-on-one meetings and live events (50%)
  • Digital content (20%)
  • Digital ads (10%)
  • Signs (5%)
  • Mailers and newspaper ads (5%)

As you can see, the efforts that took the most time also had the greatest return. They were also the cheapest activities. Using the 80/20 rule, I think I could have gotten the majority of success just by doing in-person events and online content and ads. This would have cut my budget by about $1,400.

Thus, if I wanted to run with as tight a budget as possible, I would have set a goal of spending $700. I think that would be enough to win in a town of 23,000 people.

If I could add one item to that budget, it would be signs, because I found that people want to vote for people who are actively campaigning (sounds logical, but some people who run don’t actually do much legwork). Putting up signs has a low return, especially for the cost, but it does show you are trying to people who are just driving around town.

A large number of signs is not needed. Instead, put them in strategic locations. In Brookings, there are essentially six major entrance points to town, which were perfect for large signs. Small yard signs are great at key intersections and in the lawns of influencers. If someone knows who lives in a house and trusts their judgment, they may vote for whichever sign is in their yard.

6. Visualize Past Voter Rolls

Lists of past voters can be obtained from the city government. I had no idea about these lists until late in the campaign. They are incredibly helpful because they tell you who votes, what party they are affiliated with, and where they live.

As you think about promoting your campaign (see step 7), knowing exactly who to talk to will help you focus your efforts on the people who matter most.

In my hometown, it cost $50 to purchase a past voter roll. I purchased the previous three years of city-only voters. I figured these people would be the most likely to vote again.

I then took a second (important) step to make this information actionable. Sure, a spreadsheet of names and addresses can be used for a lot of fun campaigns (like Facebook ads, mailers, and door-knocking), but if you can see which house to visit, you can more easily get other supporters to help you get the vote out.

To do this, I used BatchGeo and created this beautiful map of Brookings voters (feel free to steal and use!):

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.40.49 AM

Cost: $50 per voter roll (in my community)

Time: One hour of visualization


During the Campaign

Once your core content, conversion points, and budget are clarified, you are ready to launch your political or marketing campaign.

7. Introduce Yourself

Launch your campaign with a clear introduction of who you are, what your business is, and what your goals are. Your core content will be used here, but I would recommend an additional personal recommendation (here’s mine).

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.43.07 AM

I believe everyone has the right to be heard. The one advantage outsiders have over big businesses or campaigns is their personal touch. Don’t be a logo — be a face.

Cost: Free

Time: 30 minutes

8-9. Make the First Asks

8. Make the First Friends and Family Organic Ask

Your strongest source of support will always be your friends and family.

Kick off your campaign by creating a blog post with links to your primary conversion channel and any secondary conversions that are relevant at this early stage. You can also link to your core ideas and introduction so that people can learn more about you.

Then, email a link to this blog post to as many people in your address book as you can. If you can do personal emails, those will work best. If you can group people into categories (like friends in a certain city, colleagues, etc.), that will help speed up the process.

Next, publish a Facebook post (ideally with a video like this) that links to your blog post (along with any other social networks you will be using). Your goal is to drive everyone to one place where they can choose how they can best help you.

election-video

This simple launch strategy garnered $700 in online donations for my campaign, mostly from friends who lived out of town. That could be enough to run an entire campaign!

In my experience, locals tended to give at live events, while remote friends and family gave online. I was shocked by how many people felt obligated to give if they attended a live event, so that’s a good cash source (and again, if they give money, they will definitely vote).

Also, be mindful of your reporting level. In South Dakota, if you get more than $100, you have to report who gave it to you. Since most people didn’t want their name reported, they usually gave $100 or less. This is just good to know so that you can decide what to ask for ahead of time.

Cost: Free

Time: 10 hours of extensive outreach

9. Make the First Public Organic Ask

Personal outreach has the biggest return; still, you should make your big public launch simultaneously.

As we discuss in Navigating Social Media: A Field Guide, there is a hierarchy of content online. Anyone can add text online, but fewer add photos, and fewer still add videos. If you want to stand out the most, create a video announcing your launch and making your first ask. As you progress in your campaign, if you can’t keep posting videos, make sure to at least post photos to have greater reach.

Instagram is your friend here. You can take a photo and post it to Facebook and Instagram at the same time. Photos like this simple one of me putting up a sign garnered huge reach — all for free. I also put potential logos online for people to vote on with likes and comments. This strategy achieved an insane result. On Instagram, 21 people liked it, and 21 people commented on it. On Facebook, 53 people liked it, and 158 people commented on it — some quite passionately!

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 12.02.05 PM

I had huge success with this personal launch video that was created on my iPhone. Over 5,500 people viewed it, 270 people liked it, 19 people commented on it, and (most importantly) 42 people shared it.

Make sure to provide a clear call to action with your public launch so that people know how to help. Keep it short, focused, and personal.

Facebook Page or Personal Profile?

I created a Facebook page for my campaign, but the dirty secret of Facebook is that business pages have almost zero organic reach. If you want people to see your post in their news feed, you have to share it personally.

Create a business page for your campaign to keep it separate from your personal life (if you want to) and to create ads (which I recommend). For me, the campaign blended with my personal life. Anything I posted on the business page I also shared personally, and visa versa. I found more success through my personal account.

Cost: Free

Time: One hour

10. Start Online Ads (Especially on Facebook)

Paid Facebook ads are insane. They’re cheap, they’re effective, and I’m guessing you’ll have little competition because most candidates in local elections don’t know how to use them (so don’t share this post with them!). In my case, Facebook ads ranged from $0.60 to $1 per click (you only pay when people take action, so the branding is free).

9 Clouds offers a great Facebook Ads course for beginners and a more advanced Guide to Leveraging Facebook Ads for intermediates. The guide was made for automotive dealers, but you can get value from it no matter what your industry is.

In addition to these resources, these are the types of ads I would consider:

  • Video ads. These are great for promoting your intro video or organic content after its initial success has died down. Around two or three days after you post it, put some money into it. Never do “boost post.” Simply boosting a post means it will show to anyone on Facebook who is not receiving other targeted ads. You want the right people, so make sure to choose your audience. You could segment by age, demographics, education, high school, and much more. I targeted my video ad to younger voters as well as people who liked some of the ideas I was promoting (such as the arts, local foods movement, etc.).
  • Lead ads. These are mobile-only ads created in Facebook Power Editor that enable Facebook users to simply click one button within Facebook to subscribe to your email list. That means they don’t have to leave Facebook or fill out any forms. In other words, these ads provide massive conversion. They are a great way to build your email list (your primary conversion point, remember!).
  • Ads by address. You can upload mailing addresses to Facebook and show ads only to those people. Wow, isn’t the Internet creepy? If you purchase a voter roll, (see step 6), you can target these ads only to Democrats who voted in the last election, for example, and talk about the issues you are proposing that Democrats are more interested in. Change the message of your ad based on the audience. This will help the right voters or customers to see what will be most likely to convert them to voters or customers.
  • Ads to fans. It’s always good to run ads to people who have subscribed to your email list. This would be the place to ask for money or promote an event. They already like you, so you just need to tell them how to help you. Create a Custom Audience (using Power Editor) and run ads to that list. It will be a small number, so it won’t cost much.
  • Ads to Lookalike Audiences. You can upload to Facebook an email list of your fans and then tell Power Editor to find people like them in your city. This is incredibly powerful because Facebook looks at your subscribers’ interests, education, demographics, and more, and it finds people who are most like them in your geographic area. This strategy will work best after you have built your Custom Audience list (which must be at least 100 people), but I would focus most of your efforts here as you near election day. You can run a typical ad in your city (see next bullet point), but a Lookalike Audience is an even better way to attract different voters who don’t yet know you.
  • Targeted ads. This is your classic Facebook ad. Just create an ad (or series of ads) that match your target demographic. Young people see your ad about alcohol licenses. Parents see your post about raising money for parks. Old people see your ad that says, “I’m a young, but I’m not going to raise your taxes.” Think about which piece of core content is right for which demographic, and build ads around them.

Cost: $1 per click (I would spend roughly 50% of my budget here)

Time: Two hours of set-up

11-12. Coffee and Events

11. Have Coffee

Talking one-on-one is the best way to gain voters and customers. The chance to listen to their interests and have a conversation is the best way to convert.

Think about influencers in your community or market. Invite them to have a cup of coffee or a beer. You will learn the topics you should be talking about in your campaign, you can explain your core content in detail and you will most likely convert them into an evangelist who will garner other voters for you.

I had coffee with key leaders in the community. I received an unsolicited donation from almost everyone I took time to meet with. I would recommend starting this strategy immediately and continuing it as often as possible. When meeting with people in person, also ask them if you can add them to your mailing list. That will help you reach them (and their friends) with future communications.

I also did random drop-in visits to the key coffee groups in town. If your community is like mine, there are specific times and places in which certain groups gather to solve the world’s problems: Hy-Vee at 6am, Harms Oil at 10am, McDonald’s at 3pm. This was the “scariest” step for me because I felt like the stereotypical politician, interrupting people’s conversations and telling them about my campaign.

I did find it useful, however. I learned from people who were not my target market — a great lesson for any political or business campaign. The act of showing effort, again, is important in garnering votes, and this is one way to do it.

Cost: $50 (for about 10 coffee dates)

Time: Five hours

12. Host Events (and Ask Others to Host Events)

One of the best ways your supporters can help is by hosting an event for you. They invite their friends, and you enjoy the legitimacy that comes with having a trusted friend say, “You should vote for this person.”

Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and other multilevel marketing models are examples of why this works. If you go to someone’s house, eat free food, and enjoy free drinks, you will be more likely to feel like you should buy something.

For a campaign, a party is a great way to talk to a group of people all at once. It also helps generate donations, which was a surprise for me.

I didn’t want to clean my home or ask anyone else to clean their homes, so I did everything at local bars and restaurants. This also made the campaign feel bigger than it was to the random eaters and drinkers who happened to be at the public house.

I hosted a voter registration party (where we registered 25 people who I am sure voted for me), a launch party, and an election night party. I also asked friends to host a party for me and did maybe five of those.

The hosted parties were the most successful because the attenders were totally new people, and many of them donated money. I bought appetizers, and attendees got their own beers.

I received help from two sitting councilors, who hosted parties for me. I think those helped greatly because people who supported them then believed they should support me. Previous candidates have to report donations over $100 (in my state, at least), so you can look up who donated to them in the past and then approach those individuals. If you have a good relationship with past or present politicians, you can also ask who donated to them for another list of people to invite to an event.

Cost: $100 per event

Time: Two hours per event

13. Order and Post Signs

As mentioned in my budget recommendations in step 5, I would purchase enough signs to cover major entrances to town, important intersections in town, and the yards of influencers and leaders in your community. They are a pain to put up, and more of a pain to take down, but I would still do them. Pro tip here: keep a digital list of where you put your signs (and maybe visualize them on BatchGeo, like in step 6) so that it’s easy to pick them up and add signs where you have empty spots.

I bought 150 signs. I then asked supporters to put them up around town and asked key influencers to put them in their lawns. I bought six big signs, which I put at the key entrances to the city. I would still do this again if I ran because a lot of people took pictures and posted them online. The photos of me putting the signs up received a ton of views (see step 9). The signs also show that you are actively campaigning.

IMG_2831

Cost: $700

Time: Eight hours of set-up and take-down

14-15. Purchase Traditional Ads (Or Don't)

14. Purchase Radio Ads (Or Don’t, and Newsjack Instead)

Creating content on your site in addition to your core content provides news for your campaign. This is a great way to “newsjack,” or get on the news for free.

Almost every campaign will get one free story as the media announces your launch. But after that, how can you make the news? Post information a little bit at a time, and you might get on the radio without paying.

For my campaign, I didn’t purchase any radio ads, and I am still okay with that decision.

Cost: Unknown (estimated in the $200-400 range)

Time: One to two hours

15. Purchase Newspaper Ads (or Don’t)

The theory behind newspaper and radio ads is sound: reach people who aren’t active online. It’s hard, however, to measure the success of these ads. Plus, I’m a bit skeptical that people would choose to vote for someone based on a tagline. Online, you can drive them to a webpage to learn more. If you do run a newspaper ad, make sure to leave a trail to where they can learn more (like posting your URL on the ad).

One aspect to remember with traditional media is the goodwill it engenders. In a small town like Brookings, you want to support everyone, including the newspaper and radio station. I doubt that purchasing an ad means you will have more positive coverage in the media, but my guess is that it won’t cause negative coverage either.

I ran one quarter-page newspaper ad the weekend before the election. For the cost, I could have gotten more reach and success on Facebook. I would only do the ad again if I had budget left as I approached the end of the campaign.

If you buy print ads, do something simple but different. I created white space above my picture sohat t it looked like my head was sticking out of the ad. A simple tilt or change helps it jump off the page.

Cost: Around $200

Time: Two to three hours of design time

16. Create a Postcard, and Consider Mailing Some

It’s great to ask supporters for names of other people you should contact. An even more powerful strategy is to create a postcard and ask supporters to mail them for you.

Pre-stamp the postcards, and then hand them out at live events as well as any time you have coffee with individuals or groups. This tactic provides a nice spread of campaign material to people who will actually vote (because their friends told them to!).

After you have your postcards made, consider mailing them to voters you don’t know. Since you have purchased the voter roll (see step 6), you can send targeted mailers. Don’t send a postcard to everyone, as that would be incredibly expensive. Instead, focus on people who have previously voted in the party or parties that would be most sympathetic to your candidacy.

I focused on independent voters. This helped me to target voters who I thought were less likely to already have chosen a candidate. It also cut my mailing list dramatically. I printed a color postcard with my photo on the front, plus a few bullets from my core content. I shared the mailing list with the local print shop, and they sent everything for me.

Cost: $300-ish for printing (cost of mailing dependent on number of recipients)

Time: Two to three hours of design time

17. Knock on (the Right) Doors

If you are willing to invest the time, you can go door to door and meet potential voters. You will want to have a “leave-behind” (which could be your postcard).

Again, use the map that you created from voter rolls, and choose the houses of past voters (potentially those of a certain party).

I did one weekend of door-knocking. I’m not sure it did much to help, but again, it made me feel like I was trying. I also asked supporters to knock on doors in their neighborhoods. I sent a screenshot of the map around their residence so they could simply walk around a few blocks and knock on the high-value homes.

Cost: Free

Time: Four to five hours


On Election Day

Work to translate all of your preparation into a successful result. The best part is: you don’t have to do it all the actual election day. Schedule ahead and ask others to help.

18. Activate Your List

On the big day — be it election day or a product launch day — activate your list.

Contact all the emails you have been working to gather, and remind them both to vote and to ask their friends to do the same. Also ask them to share it on social media to get wider reach.

I had emails scheduled on MailChimp to go out the night before, the morning of, and the mid-afternoon of the election to all subscribers. I also sent them the names of the people they offered to contact.

You can schedule all of this ahead of time so that you don’t forget, but this is your moment of glory — so get out there and promote!

IMG_2716

Cost: Free

Time: One to two hours

19. Have a Party!

Whether you win or lose, celebrate. You have worked to build a coalition around your ideas. Celebrating this accomplishment is important for building strong connections that you can use in the future for other projects. Plus, it’s fun!

It was such a blast to go to the local brewery in Brookings with friends and supporters. We had a live Twitter stream showing, and I bought pizza for everybody. As results came in, people would cheer and discuss. The radio station also called for an interview when I was announced the winner. Since I was with a big group, it sounded like I was hugely popular!

Cost: $300

Time: Two hours


After the Campaign

After the big day, your work is not over. You want to think of this time as the building of a foundation. You are not building a list of voters for this one day. You are building a list of supporters and likeminded people. You can work with them to launch projects, products, policies, and more, so treat them like they will be lifelong contacts.

20-21. Say Thank You

20. Write Thank-You Notes

A simple handwritten note goes a long way. Thank donors, supporters, and all those who offered help. You can use leftover postcards to do it. Many of your supporters are people who shared your message online, so post a photo on social media thanking people for their support.

Cost: $300

Time: Four to five hours

21. Run a Thank-You Ad

Just as you thank people publicly on social media, consider doing the same in the newspaper.

I took a photo during one of our debates of the four candidates. I then used this photo to thank everyone for running and voting. In this way, the thank-you is not about you, but about everyone in the community. After all, if you win, these are now the people who will help you get your ideas enacted. Thank them.

Cost: $200

Time: One to two hours of design

22. Update Voters and Grow your List

If you win, use your new platform to keep people updated and to share your ideas.

It is often difficult to know what is going on in local government (or behind the scenes of a company). Use your blog and Facebook page as places to pose questions, share the policy ideas you are working on, and connect with new supporters.

Enable people to subscribe to your blog for updates. In this way, you become a platform for news. When you have another campaign, everyone who has been following you thinks of you as qualified and connected. Plus, you will have a bigger list of potential supporters, donors, and voters.

Don’t connect with people only when you need something. Connect when you also have something to give.

Cost: Free

Time: One to two hours a week

Start Your Campaign Now

The health of our communities depends on the leadership of our politicians and business owners. The more voices that participate, the better our communities are.

Everyone has the ability and access to run a successful campaign. There is one trick, however, that we have yet to mention: start building your network now.

Your network is your net worth, as some say. The main reason I won the election was not because of my campaign. It was because of the work I did before the election. I helped host events like TEDxBrookings, started 1 Million Cups in my area, and was active in my community.

You don’t need to run for office or launch a product to start a blog, create an email list, or start sharing your ideas. Everyone has this power. The earlier you begin writing and discussing your ideas and the type of community you want to live in, the more clear you core content will be when it is time to launch (and the larger your list will be, and the more successful you will be in your campaign).

You have the opportunity to be heard. Take the opportunity. The world needs your ideas. Your voice matters.

Download This eBook

Enter your name and email to download this eBook as a PDF.

Alternatively, click here to head over to Amazon and download this eBook to your Kindle.