Generally, there are two types of election campaigns, the primary and the general election campaign. The primary ballot lists all the candidates who are looking to run for that office. Whoever wins the primary election goes on to be on the ballot as the party’s candidate for the general election. The general election then decides the final winner to hold office.
Some candidates work hard to secure a primary victory, and then begin the campaigning process all over again for the general election. A lot of candidates don’t want to put in the effort of starting a campaign website until after they’ve secured a primary. That can be a mistake.
Here are five reasons why a candidates should consider starting early:
1) A website can make it easier to win the primary. For the same reasons a campaign website will help a candidate win a general election, it will also help in a primary. The focus of the site will, of course, be somewhat different between the two campaigns. During the primary, the focus will be on members of the same party. Afterward, the focus can be more on the general electorate.
2) Starting early helps build momentum. If you plan on doing social networking, such as Facebook or Twitter, get your supporters on board as early as possible. By the time the general election season rolls around, the campaign will have a critical mass of supporters to help build momentum.
3) Websites are great fundraising tools. Obviously, the earlier a candidate starts raising money, the better.
4) The voters are online. Voters are increasingly turning to the web for news, candidate, and issue information.
5) Everyone else is doing it. Well, not everyone – yet. After the 2008 presidential election, interest in online campaigning exploded. Today, the political candidate who does NOT have a website presence is in the minority.
The web allows candidates to communicate with their voter base and build both online and offline support. Starting early is critical to building the support that leads to success on Election Day!
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