By Winning Campaigns Staff Writer
Trying to reach your voters at the end of the campaign, hours before the polls close? Let me count the ways:
· Knock on all the doors in your district Election Day? During the campaign, always. The voters turn out, unlikely and not practical.
· Direct Mail – only if the printer prints on the spot, the mailhouse drops the piece and the postman becomes a whirling dervish to deliver same day.. Mail's a vital part of the campaign, but last minute to get the voter out of the house and into the booth?
· Television, radio and newspapers –for that last minute trip to the voting booth? Again, vital methods of getting your message to the voter, but last minute to get the voter out of the house and into the booth?
· Telephone – hmmm. Instant direct contact! Quick and immediate access to the voter you want. The opportunity to speak directly to the voter.
Direct contact, as most professionals acknowledge, is the key to winning elections. Personal contact, mail, electronic media, e-mail, blogging and other such elements reach the voter, but using the telephone spurs them to the polls.
A professional phone bank is probably the most efficient way to get to the voters as they prepare to vote or avoid the vote. Campaigns change on the spot and what could be easier to adapt quickly to the situation at hand and tailor a new message than the telephone.
The technique is very simple. First, identify those voters who are “for,” “against,” or “undecided” about your candidate.
Tailor your message in a simple, easy to understand and honest script.
Your “fors” should receive a get-out-the-vote call just before voting day. Being “for” you doesn't necessarily mean they'll be at the polls for you. You should ask if they need rides to the poll and ask them to remind their friends and family to vote. Usually family and friends tend to vote alike.
The reminder calls on Election Day are vital to generate enthusiasm to get the voter to the polls and is also the method to counter negative claims against your candidate.
Phone banks work and most campaigns now use them. They can target voters with differing ethnic and language backgrounds, use celebrities and neighbors as speakers and generally deliver any last minute message you want.
Many campaigns have the candidate personally making the call. Usually all you need to do is call the automated phone number provided by your phone bank, have the candidate follow the script and the message goes out.
When choosing your phone service, ask in simple terms how the system works. Ask about staff, language differences, long-distance carriers, the capacity, the monitoring of calls, costs, hidden charges and payment methods. You should book your telephone time in advance whenever possible. The period before the election tends to overflow with calls and you want to be certain you can get your calls through.
Costs count but even more important is the fact that the calls have to be made as scheduled. You should receive a full record of what calls were made, which ones went through and which didn't. There are unscrupulous companies that charge for calls not delivered or made. Get references.
Remember the telephone company adage: “let your fingers do the walking”. Phone calls get the voter walking (or driving) to support your candidate.
Winning Campaigns Staff Writer
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