From increased scrutiny over who was influencing elections and buzzwords like “fake news” that refused to die to a new dawn of fast activism in which causes sprang up virtually overnight, 2018 was full of watershed moments when it came to how campaigns and advocacy organizations found and cultivated supporters.
But what does all of that mean this year for organizations looking to move the issues that matter most in the new Congress and throughout all fifty states?
We took a few minutes to reflect on some of the biggest lessons learned for campaign and advocacy pros last year to take forward into 2019:
1) Your audience isn’t weirded out by personalization—in fact, they expect it.
Just a few years ago, technology had outpaced both marketers’ and the general public’s comfort level when it came to personalization—marketers knew a lot more about their audience’s consumer behaviors and online habits than they might choose to expose in their ads and messaging. But spend a few minutes bouncing from website to website, and it’s obvious that’s all changed. Just like when their favorite brands follow them around the web to hawk their wares, your audience is used to you finding them throughout their online journey.
In fact, one survey found that 75% of the public expressed frustration when brands did not recognize them and adapt to their interests.
Because of this, you need to create experiences that acknowledge who your supporters are as individuals. Don’t mass-blast emails to your entire list that may only be of interest to supporters in a particular region or demographic. Regularly ask your audience to share more about themselves with your organization so that you can make your outreach even more specific. Segment your audience based on this newfound knowledge, so that you can tailor messages based on what you know about them. And make use of the interconnectivity made possible by Crowdskout integrations with tools like Facebook Lead Gen and Facebook Custom Audiences to engage your audience on a personal level even when they’re not on your website or reading your emails.
2) Communication on a grand scale doesn’t mean it can’t feel personal.
This year, we saw a boom in the use of technology like peer-to-peer texting by campaigns and advocacy groups to drive donations and volunteering, contacts into lawmakers’ offices, and, of course, to get out the vote.
Crowdskout’s tool Telegraph allows you to easily and efficiently send personalized text messages to your audience, facilitating one-on-one conversations between your team and respondents as you ask for their support for your cause.
While still a very new technology, unsurprisingly, this highly personalized outreach technique has through-the-roof response rates, and it’s definitely here to stay.
3) Content is king—but don’t try to fake it.
In the era of information overload, content has become an essential avenue by which to generate interest from new and existing audiences. Today’s advocacy organizations have the unprecedented ability to circumvent traditional information channels to speak directly to their supporters on their own terms, even if they’re brand new small nonprofits.
Engaging with you through your content needs to be a mutually beneficial experience for you and your audience. You want their ongoing support, and you can get it by not only distilling and sharing information that conveys why your issue impacts their families and communities, but also by giving them opportunities to act on that information.
Parlaying content into an opportunity to take action is one of the best ways to keep your supporters coming back to your organization. Crowdskout built our tool Advocate to empower you to easily spin up beautiful action-packed landing pages with just a few keyboard strokes to connect your supporters directly with lawmakers and decision-makers. This tactic not only builds goodwill and a sense of shared skin in the game on your issue, it’s a great way to learn even more about what makes your audience tick.
When it comes to building content for distinct segments of your audience, remember that while it’s appropriate–even essential–to tailor different messages to different slices, don’t try to take shortcuts when it comes to being upfront about what your agenda is. Your supporters are savvy to groups trying to hide their motivations, and ad networks are forcing increased transparency into their platforms to force accountability.
Citizens are looking to engage with causes whose issue agendas they feel are authentic—and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
4) Creating a seamless experience is essential to winning over your supporters.
With so many competing causes vying for your audience’s attention, you can’t start from scratch each time you talk to your supporters, and you can’t afford to have your various outreach efforts be siloed from each other.
It’s critical that you’re using tools that not only match your audiences’ devices together to tailor streamlined experiences to them on both desktop and mobile but also that you need to know who they are and where they live offline.
As we witnessed in many close races throughout the country this cycle, the digital era doesn’t mean tried and true tactics like field and mail don’t matter—it means you need an integrated approach to talk to your audience across channels. For instance, your direct mail strategy should be informed by actions your supporters took online last week, and your social and ad decisions should be informed by what you know about supporters’ voting habits and issue affinities.
Crowdskout continues to build a platform that brings together everything you could possibly know about your audience in a unified environment and gives you the tools to act on those integrated insights.
Want to get a jumpstart on your advocacy outreach efforts? Catch a two-minute tour of Crowdskout to learn how we can help.