Facts Tell, but Stories Sell
“Facts are boring but stories bring life to your marketing and make you interesting,” writes Chuck Trautman of the Arizona Marketing Association. “You can also ‘hi-jack’ stories. By this, I mean tell interesting stories about other people.”
ESPECIALLY your volunteers, supporters and donors!
And don’t forget to include pictures and video for your website and/or campaign literature. Especially from campaign events. And send them out to everyone on your email list.
Make them Believe!
A recent Gallup poll listed the top 10 jobs/professions in which people considered the practitioners to be untrustworthy. State governors came in at #9. Senators came in at #6. And members of Congress came in at #2 – just barely beating out “car salesmen.”
And don’t even think that local politicians and state legislators fare any better than top-tier politicians. The public doesn’t trust or believe ANY of them. Which is why it’s so important for you to not just get endorsements, but actual testimonials singing your praises.
And why developing and promoting a serious “guarantee” for your campaign could be so powerful. But remember, any such guarantee has to be specific and have teeth. Guaranteeing that, if elected, you’ll simply “work hard” isn’t going to buy you much credibility or trust.
3 Ways to Add Specific Urgency to Your Copy
1– Establish a hard deadline. Specifics are always more convincing. Example: Midnight, Monday, November 25, 2013.
2– Put your deadline in the subject line or make it part of your outer envelope teaser; e.g., “3 days ’til Thanksgiving – SAVE 35% NOW!”
3– Don’t be shy about where you place the deadline or how many times you repeat it. You never know where a scanner’s eye will land first.
SOURCE: Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter
What “No” Means
Candidates hear “no” all the time, especially from donors.
Too many candidates take “no” personally, but as any sales professional will tell you, “no” isn’t necessarily a rejection of you as an individual, or even your campaign. As Seth Godin notes, “no” could mean…
- I’m too busy
- I don’t trust you
- This isn’t on my list
- My boss won’t let me
- I’m afraid of moving this forward
- I’m not the person you think I am
- I don’t have the resources you think I do
- I’m not the kind of person that does things like this
- I don’t want to open the door to a long-term engagement
- Thinking about this will cause me to think about other things I just don’t want to deal with
What “no” doesn’t mean, Godin goes on to explain, is “I’ve carefully considered every element of this proposal and understand it as well as you do and I hate it and I hate you.”
If you can find out what the prospective donor’s “no” really means, you have an opportunity to address the real concern and turn the “no” into a “yes.” Just like sales professionals do.
And if you’re not an experienced sales professional, I can’t recommend highly enough reading Zig Ziglar’s “Secrets of Closing the Sale.” Because like it or not, if you’re a candidate, you’re in sales. May as well accept that reality…and get good at it.
Making Calendar Connections
It’s one thing to send your supporters holiday-themed messages around the big holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. But don’t miss the opportunity to set yourself apart from everyone else by tying a campaign message in with otherwise obscure holidays that most people are completely unaware of.
And I’m not just talking about Constitution Day and Bill of Rights Day from a political perspective.
Did you know that November is Banana Pudding Lovers Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month and Spinach and Squash Month? Not to mention Military Family Appreciation Month and Parents As Teachers Month.
With just a little creative thought, I’m sure you could tie a campaign message to any and all of those that will stand out from everything everybody else is sending.
And by the way, today is “Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day.” Yow!
Have fun. Attract attention. Get people thinking about you.
Oh, where did I find all these obscure, fun, crazy, silly holidays? www.BrownieLocks.com
Getting Control of Your Meetings
Meetings can often be the biggest waste of valuable time in a campaign if they are not properly controlled. And by properly controlled, I mean they have a specific agenda with a specific starting time and specific ending time, all of which are rigidly enforced.
This assures that participants know there’s no time for small talk and helps keep participants from scurrying down rabbit holes. Get in, address specific agenda items, make decisions, get out.
Also, The CEO’s Edge recommends that you start your meetings at odd times to send a clear message that your time is valuable, as is their own time. So instead of, say, starting your meeting at 2:00 pm or 2:30 pm – on the hour or half-hour – set the start time for 2:05 pm or 2:40 pm.
Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane
Voters, especially non-ideological voters, vote for people they like and who leave them with the ol’ warm and fuzzies. You can help evoke such feelings by making generous use of nostalgia in your fundraising and campaign communications.
For a fantastic example of taking your prospects down memory lane, catch this Microsoft ad
So how can you use the power of nostalgia in your campaign, especially when it comes to fundraising? Kevin Gentry has some suggestions…
“If you’re trying to raise funds for a student training or internship (or campaign volunteer training) program, you might use the hook of, ‘Remember when you were in school…’ or ‘What fond memories do you have of a special teacher or classroom subject that really grabbed your attention and inspired you?’”
“When talking about effective communications programs, many conservatives love to reference President Ronald Reagan. That not only offers a useful example, it takes many people back to a time of clear-cut good versus bad, when everything seemed to go right and good would always prevail in the end.”
“And of course, there’s the seasonal connection. Referencing Thanksgiving and Christmas are naturals for this. Yes, summertime fun, Fourth of July celebrations, going back to school – these work, too. But how can you beat those references to Grandma’s tasty turkey and sweet-smelling, freshly-baked pies, colorful leaves swirling in the crisp autumn air, or fond memories of time together with family?”
Unless, of course, you belonged to the Manson family!
A Beautiful Flop
I see it every election cycle. B-e-a-utiful, four-color candidate brochures. B-e-a-utiful campaign signs. B-e-a-utiful campaign websites. B-e-a-utiful campaign television commercials. Many original; most cookie-cutter. But b-e-a-utiful.
But do they do the ONE THING they’re supposed to do…get you more votes? Probably not.
“The school of general advertisers who value creativity seem to deliberately strive to achieve it in their work, believing that being creative is the only way to make your ads stand out and get noticed,” writes direct response marketing expert Bob Bly.
“What these practitioners do not realize is that most advertisements do not work. Therefore, if your advertisement is a creative breakthrough, it may be a winner because of its originality. But that same originality could also result in a flop.”
It’s not how pretty the delivery vehicle is; it’s how strong the message being delivered is.
Campaign Conference Calling
A great way to keep your campaign staff/volunteers as well as donors involved in the campaign is to host regular conference calls to give updates, polling results, fundraising successes, news, etc. There are a number of services out there providing simple ways to conduct these calls, but I’ve had great success with one service that has a lot of valuable features and won’t cost you a dime.
Check out www.FreeConferencing.com
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Famous Last Words
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi