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Topics: Social Media, Republican, Websites, Email, House File, Branding

DIY Digital Campaigns for Republicans

Your Digital Startup Guide for Political Campaigns and Advocacy

If you're thinking of running for office, you probably have one central question on your mind: How do I get started?

You already know you're motivated, or you wouldn't have Googled, "how do I run for office," "digital campaigning for republicans," or something similar to land on this page.

Digital Startup Guide for Political Campaigns and Advocacy

Whether it's your town council, the local school board, the state legislature, or even Congress, you noticed something that needs fixing. Instead of waiting around for it to magically happen on its own, you took the initiative to take the challenge head-on.

Congratulations on this fantastic decision! The world is continually improving because people like you work every day to make it a little bit better.

But now what?

You may be planning to start your campaign with a shoestring budget or looking for ways to get started at 2 AM. You have your reasons to do it yourself (DIY), and we aren't here to judge. Instead, we are here to help with DIY Digital Campaigns for Republicans.

In Your Digital Startup Guide for Political Campaigns and Advocacy, we'll cover everything you need to know to get started for your digital campaign. Including:

  1. Accepting Donations Online
  2. Selecting a Web Address
  3. Getting Started with Email Marketing
  4. Scrubbing Your Social Media
  5. Campaign Social Media
  6. Starting Your House File
  7. Logo and Branding
  8. Campaign Websites

 

Table of Contents

 

First Things First — Picking a Donation Platform

Every good campaign has great supporters. They will show their support in many ways, and one of the most beneficial ways to channel it is to ask for a donation. (Those yard signs aren't going to print themselves!) Lucky for you, there are several turnkey tools you can use to take donations online.

For Republican candidates, two of the primary donation solutions for online fundraising are WinRed and Anedot. We have worked extensively with both. These tools allow you to quickly set up forms to take secure credit card donations right on your newly created website (we'll get to that in a minute).

The online fundraising tools are very robust, with features allowing you to customize the look and feel of the forms, allowing people to sign up for recurring donations, running reports on donations, and even refunding a contribution if there was a mistake.

Second — Choosing a Website Domain

Picking an easy-to-remember domain should be a top priority in the beginning stage of your digital campaign. Keep it simple with names like CarolineForCongress.com or VoteHuber.com, so potential donors and voters can easily remember and access your website.

You can register your domain name through an Internet domain registrar like GoDaddy. Hosting services like this can even provide you ready-made templates and tools to get you started.

Domain Name Example VoteHuber.com

Third — Set Up an Email Service Provider (ESP)

ESP may be the sixth sense that tells your future chances of winning the election, but for now, we're going to switch that acronym out for its more practical counterpart — Email Service Provider.

We all communicate via email these days, and it's still one of the main channels through which candidates reach their supporters. Email can be highly effective at rallying troops to come to your events, highlight recent campaign-related items in the news, or ask for a donation.

It's a very cost-efficient way to reach a LOT of people if you take the time to build your list the right way. As in every aspect of your online campaign, there are widely available tools that can help. MailChimp and Constant Contact are two ESP companies often used by small businesses that work well with a DIY approach. They have quick wizards to set up your system, upload your contacts, and start sending emails within a few hours.

Email Sign Up Example

The Prosper Group and other top digital political agencies have their own preferred ESPs geared toward political campaign demands. The added value of agency preferred ESPs includes customer service and backend support tailored to political advocacy and increased attention to email deliverability required by campaigns. Deliverability ensures that your emails make it into your supporters' inboxes which can be challenging in politics.

The good news is if you want to start with a DIY approach using a free plan from MailChimp or a free trial from Constant Contact, migrating to a preferred ESP as your campaign grows is relatively painless.

Your ESP should come with pre-formatted templates with drag-and-drop images and WYSIWIG editors (WYSIWIG stands for What You See Is What You Get). These tools can also help you collect information and NEW email addresses from supporters. You can embed a quick email capture form right on your website within minutes. It all works together.

Fourth — Clean Up Your Personal Social Media Accounts

Please make sure that your personal social media accounts are updated and looking professional. Scour your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and any other account you own.

Review all your posts, going back to the beginning. Delete any posts that are questionable or haven't aged well. Make sure everything posted is something you'll be proud to stand by once people start Googling you.

And they will be Googling you.

Also, be sure to create a LinkedIn account if you don't have one already. Your LinkedIn profile will help with your all-important Google search results.

For local campaigns, an individual profile on Nextdoor can create opportunities to engage in conversations of local importance and identify community activists.

Delete Social Post Example

Fifth — Create Your Campaign Social Media Accounts

Ensure your campaign has a base social media presence, preferably on Facebook and Twitter, to keep your supporters updated on the latest campaign happenings. Another great option is YouTube, where you can share videos longer than a minute or two.

Additional platforms include Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or any other "trendy" social network at the moment. Ensure you're comfortable with the platform and have a plan for creating content before activating social profiles for your campaign. Get started with our Tips for Winning Social Media Marketing Campaigns.

No matter where your social media accounts live, the most important thing you can do is keep them as active as possible. Have your social content prepped and ready to go before your launch, and once that happens, commit to regularly posting updates.

Delete Social Post Example

Sixth — Gather Your First List of Supporters

As you think about running and then planning your campaign launch, you should already start building your list. Gather a list of family, friends, early donors, activists, delegates, or anyone else you can think of who supports or will potentially support your campaign, and get their email addresses. This list is the foundation of your house file.

Set up your house file in the campaign's ESP before announcing your campaign. On your announcement day, send a blast email to your closest supporters and keep them informed.

Seventh — Branding for Your Campaign

Your campaign's branding sets the stage for your campaign. Whatever you decide to use for a logo, campaign colors, etc., be sure to keep it consistent throughout your campaign.

You don't want to pay big bucks for a campaign logo. If you are running a DIY campaign, there are online services like Free Logo Design, Tailor Brands, and 99designs, where designers will produce logo concepts for a nominal price incorporating your desires and needs.

Most political agencies and consultants you work with can help you get a logo designed within a tight budget. Top digital firms, including The Prosper Group, have designers on staff and provide digital services scaled to your campaign's size from local leaders to national advocacy organizations. Part of the value of digital marketing is the ability to maximize budgets of all sizes.

Branding Example

Eighth — An Attractive, Easy-to-Navigate Website or Landing Page

Make sure that your branded landing page or website is up and running on your announcement day.

Key elements to include are donation capabilities, office sought, personal bio, and email sign-up capabilities. Your website should work seamlessly with your donation platform and your ESP to capture donations and email addresses from your donors and supporters.

Your campaign's outward look and feel should be cohesive across your website, donation platform, and social media presence.

People typically go to a candidate's website for two reasons: To learn more or donate. There is NO reason to over-complicate this process or your website.

Launching Your Republican Digital Campaign

Running for office is hard work, but setting up your digital campaign doesn't have to be. We walk candidates and advocacy organizations through these simple steps every day. If you complete the eight steps above, your digital campaign will be ready when your campaign launches.

At The Prosper Group, we help conservative candidates and organizations in achieving their goals. Our business is to help people like you, from local leaders to national organizations, make a difference. So, if this DIY Digital Campaigns for Republicans guide has helped you, please let us know.

For digital campaign questions, our experts at The Prosper Group are here to help.

Did you find this post useful?

If so, let us know what you think. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


The Prosper Group is an internationally-recognized, award-winning digital marketing agency headquartered in Indianapolis. The firm specializes in online media, strategy, and fundraising for Republican political candidates, advocacy organizations, associations, and non-profits. The Prosper Group's best-in-industry work has been recognized for awards dozens of times by prestigious organizations such as the American Association of Political Consultants and Campaigns & Elections.

The firm has worked in tandem with Trump for President 2016, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman John Katko, the National Association of Manufacturers, Fox News, and many other candidates and organizations.

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