Another campaign year has come to a close, which means we are now in the coveted “off-season,” a moment for winning campaigns to look back on the past cycle and begin their preparations for the next.
During this time, a number of decisions are being made about a campaign’s operations moving forward, including an inevitable discussion about what to do on digital. Unfortunately, far too many campaigns decide to scale down their digital operations, and effectively abandon the audience they just spent an entire election cycle’s worth of time and money building.
Not only does this decision fail to capitalize on the post-win momentum, but it also sets the stage for a challenging (and costly) resumption when the next cycle begins.
If you’re in a position of deciding whether or not to scale down a campaign’s digital operations, consider the following:
You can’t count on an audience and their engagement to stick around. The idea that once a digital audience is acquired, they’re there to stay is an outdated one. Today’s reality is, campaigns have to remain active if they expect the same from their audiences. Organizations often resume their social media and email programs after a period of dormancy, only to find their audience’s size and willingness to take action has reduced significantly.
Digital investments matter now more than ever. During the heat of an election, advertising costs can skyrocket as competition for space in a voter’s feed increases. And while Facebook and Google are currently imposing political advertising restrictions until the election is completely certified, campaigns should be ready to resume spending as soon as the restriction ends. In an “off year,” competition is lower, which means acquiring new emails, followers, and engagement becomes extremely affordable. Delaying digital investments now only means fighting an uphill, expensive battle later, and as a result, a campaign could miss out on thousands of potential supporters in the long-run.
Valuable relationships aren’t created overnight. More important than the size of a digital audience is the quality. Are social media followers becoming donors? Are digital donors also acting as digital activists? Inspiring someone to take action requires a foundation of trust, which is challenging to establish in the condensed timeline of a campaign cycle. Digital leaders, however, have a long-term blueprint for both building a base of supporters, and activating them for action when the time comes.
The news cycle – and the campaign – never ends. There’s always going to be a story that requires the campaign’s response, or a trending issue that should be capitalized on. Reducing or even pausing digital entirely limits a campaign’s ability to quickly and effectively take advantage of the opportunities that emerge from week-to-week.
Of all post-election decisions, digital should remain a top priority to ensure the progress from the past cycle doesn’t deteriorate. Savvy campaigns understand the long-term value of a robust digital program and, as such, continue and even double down on their investments during off-peak periods.
Don’t risk your campaign getting left in the dust. Have a question, or want to learn how you can position your future campaign for digital success? Reach out to our team at [email protected]!