Many voters do not follow local politics. Often, they don’t even know when local elections occur. They don’t look at campaign websites or social media. But many would support you as a candidate if they knew more about the issues you stand for.
Many local elections have a short election cycle. It is tough enough to get your own supporters out to the polls.
So how do you reach valuable but apathetic voters?
Local elections are all about getting out the vote. This is why incumbents tend to have an advantage. They often have an established base that turns out to vote. If you are a challenger or a new candidate on the scene, you have your work cut out for you.
Getting your own block of supporters to the voting booth can make all the difference in election victory.
For example, there was a housing development issue in a small local municipality. A political newcomer challenged an incumbent mayor who had been in office for over a decade. The newcomer ran a traditional campaign with some yard signs and newspaper ads. She was against a new housing project that had been recently proposed, but did not run heavily on that specific issue.
She lost the election. Decisively.
This was an off-year, local election with a low turnout. The incumbent was popular and had a solid, predictable base of voters. He didn’t even campaign that hard and still won with about two-thirds of the vote. On the surface, it was a pretty solid victory.
Yet, the margin of victory was only about 200 out of 600 votes cast. This is in a municipality with over 3200 eligible voters.
So, what could have provided another 200 votes? The answer is pretty simple – a higher voter turnout for the challenger.
Remember that housing development mentioned earlier?
It turns out that the new development was going to be built beside an existing subdivision. There were 150 households that would be directly affected by the construction. Most of those homeowners were not happy about the situation. Some had turned out at local board meetings to oppose the initial plan.
If a majority of voters in just that subdivision had turned out and voted, the challenger would have won the election.
Unfortunately, the candidate did not reach out specifically to that subdivision. She could have gone door to door and/or sent targeted mailings to those households. Addressing the construction issue and promising to do something for those specific households would have motivated a large number of otherwise apathetic voters to show up on Election Day.
Turnout is key for local elections. If you can identify potential supporters and focus on an issue important to them, they can be turned into a motivated voter block.
Even if you do not have the time or resources to reach out through traditional means, you can still find them online. You can even connect with voters who do not follow politics online. Most everyone has online access. You just need to get their attention.
That can be done with a variety of paid online advertising. This includes Pay-Per-Click for relevant issue keywords, targeted Facebook advertising based on location or demographics and even direct household IP targeting.
When targeted voters see your ads for online searches, when they read the news or visit social media sites, eventually you will get their attention.
Targeted advertising that addresses personal concerns can motivate people to action.
Rounding up supporters who might not otherwise vote can tip the outcome of an election. When local campaigns (and local primary elections) are decided by only a handful of votes, you need as many supporters as you can – and you need them to show up at the polls.
To create your own voting block, find people directly effected by an issue that your campaign addresses. Then convince them to become personally motivated to take action on Election Day.Online Advertising For Local Political Campaigns
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