Friday, July 2, 2010

Could you use Foursquare for get-out-the-vote activities?

Location based marketing tools/games like Foursquare are continuing to make inroads in consumer's minds. Will they be part of the next Presidential campaign's "get-out-the-vote" strategy too?

Jordan Raynor has a great post on TechRepublican on how his firm is helping one of Florida county's Board of Elections turn every polling site into a Foursquare location. That got me thinking about how a campaign or advocacy organization could use this technology to proactively turn out more voters. How could you integrate this with early and absentee voting?

First of all everyone should go here and sign the petition to get Foursquare to create a "I Voted" badge. Now hopefully they will embrace this effort to open their service to a whole new market of political application.

Next we should accept that some sort of Foursquare badge is not going to replace your whole voter turnout strategy. It should be looked at as a add-on to get targeted younger (25-35), tech savvy professionals who are probably some of the very same people who have horrible records of voter turnout.

  • What if a campaign was able to use fb and Twitter to identify all their supporters who used Foursquare? Then encourage them to cross-post their Foursquare checkin to all their social media platforms with a message like "I just voted early for Marco Rubio. How? Go here ...." the here might be a link to a campaign site that explains state and local law on how and when a voter can vote early or thru the mail.
  • What if the Walorski for Congress campaign had a Foursquare location for a early vote rally outside a courthouse or city office where supporters could checkin and let all their friends know they are voting early and how to do it?
  • What if a Congressman Aaron Schock skipped the photo op of voting on election day and voted early so his fans could say they voted on the same day as him and maybe post photos of them with him outside the polling site?
  • What if Organizing for America offered a free carton of cigarettes to the Mayor of each precinct to reward people for voting as many times as possible? Ok, maybe that one is not a good idea.
  • What if the Heck for Congress campaign offered  free VIP tickets to the next fund raiser to whoever was Mayor of their GOTV phone bank?
  • What if Gov. Mitch Daniel's campaign for President used Foursquare checkins to monitor who has already turned out and voted for him at Iowa Caucus locations?
I think the possibilities are incredible once creative, tech minded campaign folks start thinking about how this technology can make their job easier.

How would you use it?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

5 things you are too chicken to do with your campaign mail Part 2 White Space

The dictionary describes white space as "the unprinted area of a piece of printing, as of a poster or newspaper page, or of a portion of a piece of printing, as of an advertisement; blank space."

Commercial ads get this and use it effectively quite often.

Political ads and mail on the other hand seem to think that if there is more space you should just add more policy and issue bullet points. Because everyone is interested in your 27 point plan to reshape local government right? Not so much...

My point is instead of trying to make your next piece a "issue summary" why not pick one issue and use high impact visuals and compelling, but concise, copy to deliver a message that leaves an impression on a voter.

Do not believe that continuing to decrease your font size is the best way to squeeze in more text. Resist the urge to turn your mailing into a white paper on policy. Use your mail to push an interested reader to you web site. Your campaign site is that place where you can have the 27 point plan with 15 part appendix.

Last but not least please please please skip the stars, elephants and eagles that so many political candidates seem to think are mandatory. If your mailing says "Smith for Senate" then voters don't need a gratuitously huge flag and a elephant shooting stars from it's trunk...they get it, you are running for office.

Good luck and feel free to post your examples of really bad/good mail pieces to our facebook page for Fans of Political Mail .

Thursday, June 17, 2010

5 things you are too chicken to do with your political voter contact mail Part 1

To clarify here I mean “voter contact mail” NOT fund raising mail. The kind that says your opponent has horns and kicks puppies or says that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

1. UNSUBSCRIBE – We put it on almost all of our electronic communications so why not put an email address or SMS code on your mail offering voters the option to “not receive any additional mail from the campaign”? Why do it? A hypothesis of mine is that - any and all efforts to engage voters and encourage feedback is a good thing - so why not try it in your mail. Let’s say that 5% of a mailing universe of 50,000 households responds (wildly high number that I doubt would happen) then you would have to remove 2,500 households from your voter contact universe and save, ball park $1,000 in your next mailing. Over the course of five more mailings you could save $5k…or more.

So are you losing the ability to talk to 2,500 households? Realistically, if they are willing to go thru the effort to do that they are either hard core supporters or hard core haters. Either of which probably don’t need any more mail from you. I am sure there will be a few in there who are just angry independents and may be undecided but, again, if they are willing to go thru the trouble of emailing or texting you then they really don’t want to get any more mail from you.

Let’s take a closer look at the hard core supporters who respond (say 1,000 households of the original 2,500) why not offer them the additional choice of unsubscribe AND get a yard sign or unsubscribe and volunteer. Maybe you could take them off the voter contact universe and add them to a fund raising list. See Malcolm Gladwell’s notes on Mavens.

As with anything else the devil is always in the details. If you wanted to try this you would need to make sure you had some sort of follow up mechanism in place (insert intern joke here) to clean your list and respond to those interested in getting more involved in the campaign. This, of course, is where most campaigns will suffer an epic fail and not do the follow up.

Naturally, most of my clients are not chickens so when we have data on this I will share it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Faulkner Strategies is Hiring

Faulkner Strategies is looking for a Graphic Designer/Web Coder to work out of our Granger Indiana office. Must be able to create all graphic elements plus code the websites. Come and join our fun and creative team of professionals. Email if interested for more details.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Faulkner Strategies Congratulates Winning Clients From the Indiana Primary

Faulkner Strategies would like to congratulate our clients on a successful primary campaign:

Congressman Mark Souder, IN 3
Jackie Walorski for Congress, IN 2
Todd Rokita for Congress, IN 4
Larry Bucshon for Congress, IN 8
Todd Young for Congress, IN 9
Indiana Chamber of Commerce
State Representative Tom Dermody
State Representative Dan Leonard
Dick Pfeil for State Representative
Jim Banks for State Senate
Rebecca Kubacki for State Representative
Heath VanNatter for State Representative
Francis Ellert for State Representative
Rhonda Rhoads for State Representative
Cindy Kirchoffer for State Representative

“All of our clients worked really hard and I am extremely proud of their success. I want to thank all of them for choosing Faulkner Strategies to be a part of their winning team,” stated Angela Faulkner, President of Faulkner Strategies.

Faulkner Strategies is a Republican mail firm that specializes in delivering targeted and personalized communications for campaigns throughout the country. They work one-on-one with each candidate to develop a strategic plan that fits the individual candidate’s needs and positions them for victory.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three Reasons to Use Location Based Services

No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.

In the past couple years one of the biggest new trends in technology and social media is the integration of Geo-Social Networking and Location-based applications. Even though location-based technology has been around for a long time, it seems like every week a new player is joining into the game of location-based applications.

Some of the first sites to use this type of technology were simple geo-tagging applications like Google Maps, YouTube, and photo sharing sites like Flickr. These sites allowed people to group together things based on a shared location or community. Sites such as these paved the way for location based social networking communities such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, and numerous others.

With more and more websites, networks, and applications using these location based services. As a consumer you may be wondering, why should I be using these services?

Here are three reasons why you need to be using these services:

1. Network and relationship building

Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp all allow people to “check in” to locations and businesses. If a business or location is not there already, users are able to create a profile for one. By using this feature it lets other people see what you are doing and where you are located. This “check in” process creates a stream of content that contains all of your daily travels. Other people can then follow this stream and engage with you on items that relate to them. The more information you know about someone the more you get to know them. You can also follow other people’s travels to see where they are going and where they have been. If your friends are using this service as well, you can know where all of them are located in a city without ever making a single phone call.

As a business owner you can learn a lot of valuable insights about your customers by monitoring your brand presence across these mediums. You can identify your biggest supporters and people who are upset with your company. You can then engage with these people and make sure they continue to be supporters of your brand, or do all you can to correct the situation. As the old saying goes if you give somebody great service they will tell one person, but if you give somebody bad service they will tell ten people.

2. Learn more about a location

Now that you have met some people in the area and know of a few local businesses, you can rely on the community to get some information on them. These sites allow you to create reviews, tips, advice, recommendations, comparisons, and even “To Do Lists” within a location. If you visit a restaurant and it has the best chicken dish in the world, instead of keeping it to yourself, now you can share it with the world by posting it on one of these sites. The more you learn about a location or business the smarter you become as a consumer.

Reviews always mean more when you have a relationship with the person they are coming from. User generated content is the best source of this as it is more often than not unbiased and from real customers. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t come from the business. If you work to develop strong relationships with your customers they will trust you when you market them with information that is worthwhile and relative to them.

Even the History Channel is getting involved with location based services. They are launching a campaign with Foursquare that gives users a historic bit of information when they check in to certain locations. It is a good example of how these types of services can enrich a person’s overall experience within a location.

3. Promote your business by engaging with your customers

As a business owner you should look for incentives to bring people to your location. Gowalla and Foursquare both have competitive elements to them that track and reward users for visiting local businesses. You should take advantage of this marketing medium that is already developed for you and use it to motivate people to come to your business.

Whoever has the most “check ins” to a certain location becomes the Mayor of that location on Foursquare. You can offer a reward program to whoever is the current mayor of your location or whoever “checks in” over a certain threshold as a loyalty program.

When you notice people are checking into your location via Facebook and Twitter this gives you another chance to engage with the customer. You can offer these customers tips, advice, specials, information or promotions. This gives you an additional way to interact with them and ensure they had excellent experience at your location.

The more “check ins”, reviews, shouts, and mentions you have throughout your social networks the better it is for your search engine optimization. Google Maps and Bing Maps use Foursquare venues when people use the local search option. All of the tips, shouts, and reviews you gather are used as citations which search engines use in their rank algorithm which work to help increase your rank. This makes your business easier to find on search engines, which brings more customers to your door. So take advantage of these sites and use them to promote the activities of your business. Show the world how your location is different from all of the others.

For more information on ways to promote your business on Foursquare read the post “5 Ways to Use Foursquare for Business” by Kyle Lacy.

And remember, if you never go out, then you can’t go home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dyngus Day at Faulkner Strategies

Even though it has officially been spring for eleven days, these are the first few days in Northern Indiana that it truly feels like spring time. Days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter, temperatures are finally getting up into the 70’s and most importantly, election season is right on the other side of a long weekend.

Monday, April 5th brings to us Dyngus Day, which is a holiday heavily celebrated in South Bend, Indiana that kicks off the coming political season. Dyngus Day occurs the Monday following Easter Sunday and is celebrated in largely Polish and Christian based cultures.

Here at Faulkner Strategies we are going to be holding our own celebration by hosting our 2nd Annual Dyngus Day Breakfast complete with all you can eat pancakes, delicious toppings, and traditional Polish sausage. We will also be having a special guest in attendance, Congressional Candidate Jackie Walorski, will be joining us for breakfast. Plates will only be $20 a person and all proceeds will benefit Mrs. Walorski’s campaign. Follow us throughout the day using the #Dyngus hashtag. Feel free to bring any friends and family to the event. We would love to see you here!

Monday is a very big day around the area as it also marks the first day of early voting in Indiana, and the deadline to register or update your voter registration for the upcoming May 4th, primary election.

Indiana residents are eligible to vote in the primary if they

· Will be at least 18 years of age at the next General Election on November 2, 2010,

· Are a citizen of the United States and a resident of Indiana,

· Are not currently in prison after being convicted of a crime, and

· Will have lived in the precinct where they plan to vote for at least 30 days prior to the election.

Take the time to make sure you are updated and registered for the upcoming election season.