Campaign Launch Digital Checklist
When preparing to launch your campaign digitally, there’s a few things you’ll need to consider to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Members of the press, donors, and voters will all be researching you online, so you need to make sure your campaign is ready to go from Day 1. We’ve collected a few pointers for you to consider when preparing to launch your campaign online. Good luck!
Photography: You’ll need some updated headshots and candids for your eventual campaign website, as well as any online ads you intend to run to potential voters. Think about the office you’re running for and the feelings you want to convey through your photos. Work with your photographer to brainstorm locations that feel right — coffee shops, parks, and the town square are always a great start. You should also plan to have a group of friendly faces (extras) on hand to interact with you and capture on camera.
Website: Your campaign website is one of the first stops someone will make when trying to find more information about you online. A campaign website doesn’t have to be super fancy or complicated. Instead, your website should provide some basic information, such as your personal biography, your platform of key issues, and the story of why you’re running for office. It’s important to have a high quality, professional headshot on site to put your best foot forward and avoid unflattering pixelation. Lastly, your website is an important vehicle to collect online donations and the email addresses of your supporters — so make sure those collection accounts are created and linked on your site before it goes live!
Email Platform: Known in the business as ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM) software, an email platform will allow you to send campaign emails to your supporters. This not only allows you to keep your supporters up-to-date with what’s happening on the campaign, it also allows you to solicit donations online — a great way to supplement your fundraising efforts. There are plenty of CRM vendors to choose from, but our favorites are Action Network, Blue State Digital, or NGP.
Donation Platform: When raising money online, you’ll also need separate software that will allow you to accept online donations. We recommend ActBlue. ActBlue can (and should!) be integrated into your website and used in conjunction with your online ads. This platform easily allows supporters to make a campaign contribution quickly, especially if they’ve donated in the past. Although ActBlue does charge credit card processing fees, it will save you the hassle of chasing down paper checks. If used correctly, it can also widen your donor base way beyond traditional fundraising. If ActBlue isn’t available in your area, we’d recommend you use NGP for fundraising (yep, the same NGP we mentioned above).
Social Media Accounts: You’ll want to set up separate social media pages and accounts for your campaign — rather than using your existing personal accounts to campaign. Common platforms we recommend are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Facebook and Instagram are co-owned, making the use of both and crossposting convenient. Think critically about where you want to campaign online. It’s not necessary to have a presence on every social media platform unless you plan to actively use them all — because as we’ve said before and will say again, don’t be a digital dinosaur! Be aware, though, that you will at least need a Facebook page for your campaign if you intend to run targeted ads to potential voters. You cannot run ads from a personal profile or group on Facebook. Your social media accounts should also be linked to your website for added traffic.
Political Disclaimer: A political disclaimer (“Paid for by ___”) alerts viewers as to who has paid for that campaign material. Please note: disclaimer laws vary depending on what level of office you’re running for, so you’ll need to research when and where you’ll need to display a disclaimer (including, but not limited to, your website, mail pieces, and digital ads). If you’re running ads on Facebook or Google, there will be additional steps you’ll need to take to verify your identity. Not to worry, each platform makes it easy to complete the process step-by-step and we’re always here to help as your trusted digital partner!