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Tips for a successful online political campaign

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A political campaign in the 21st century needs a lot more than just patriotic pins and bunting. A campaign needs an online strategy, and that strategy starts with the right domain, and the right website.

It’s essential to clearly define your platform before others do it for you! Social media will inevitably form part of your online strategy, but you’re limited on follow up and fundraising with social followers. To really establish a political campaign, you’re going to need a memorable location where your supporters – and those who you want to become your supporters – will be able to find your message, your mission, and your voice.

That location should be your own website, hosted on your own domain. The domain you choose is up to you, but the new .VOTE domain extension, which we wrote about recently, could be the ideal choice – it’s the only domain extension that’s fully dedicated to the political space, and it comes with a fairly strict registration policy that will help voters to know any site with that extension is a real political site, and not a fraud or a joke.

Whatever domain extension you go for, there are a couple of things it’s important to remember before you go launching your political campaign online.

If your site is to be competitive coming into this election cycle, it must be informational, but easy to find via search. Below, we’ve gathered some tips to help political campaigns become successful online political campaigns.

Get an easy-to-remember web address

The longer the domain name, the more room for misspellings and errors. You want the shortest address available. JohnSmith.VOTE is much easier to remember than JohnSmithforHillCountySheriff.com. Shorter domain names will also take up less space on campaign materials, and will work better on things like bumper stickers and other promotional items.

Campaign Butler makes it easy to own your space

You’ll want to avoid getting a ‘free’ address – you want to own your own space. This means you want JohnSmith.VOTE and not JohnSmith.FreeWebAddress.com. Self-hosted sites are more trusted by voters, and will give you SEO benefits you won’t get using someone else’s host. With a self-hosted site, you can control every aspect of design and deployment – that won’t be possible on a free package. The cost is usually nominal and definitely worth the investment.

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If you’re new to the world of building and hosting websites, there are tools out there that will make everything easier. A website-builder service like Campaign Butler will provide you with your own .VOTE domain and email address, along with a choice of campaign-themed templates for your website that include donations pages, an event registration page and calendar, and a signup page and database. Setting up and getting the website online is easy, and doesn’t require any technical know-how, but there is also an option for a custom web design and concierge set-up service if you’re really unsure where to start.

Campaign Butler also offers campaign marketing infrastructure, enabling you to setup telephone Town Hall meetings with up to 10,000 participants, robocalls, and robocall surveys, and even live operator calls and call surveys.

Offer a newsletter sign-up

Developing a rapport with potential voters is the best way to ensure they vote for you. A newsletter can provide campaign updates, invitations to events and also personalized communications. As with your site, having an email address like John@JohnSmith.VOTE will assure voters that the emails they receive really came from you or your team. Keep potential voters engaged with editorial pieces sent to their inbox about issues as they happen from you (not the media). The Campaign Butler web-builder above will give you your own .VOTE email address, and the signup page and database will help with any newsletter campaigns.

Explain your platform

Voters come to your site to learn where you stand on the issues. If they do a search on local issues that matter to them, they are  more likely to find you if you have those elements on your site.  Additionally, adding some platform-specific domain names that point to pages on your site will help with SEO, which will help voters find you. For example, you could register LenoirCountyEducation.VOTE and point it to JohnSmith.VOTE/Education (your page about Lenoir County educational reform).

Now that you have all the tips you need to get you started, it’s time to register your domain and get your show on the road!

Main image: Vox Efx