The potential for a snap general election will always get any campaigner’s heart beating just that bit faster. For all of us, one of the key decisions we take will be about the type and volume of literature that we produce. I can guarantee that templates and half designed flying start leaflets are being dusted off around the country.
That said, panic is the last thing that the early days of a campaign needs. As always, we advocate sitting down and taking a logical approach to campaigning and one of the key aspects is targeting. The right message, delivered to the right people at the right time – this is the bedrock of winning campaigns.
Targeting your messages
It is very important to target your message to different groups, emphasising different actions or achievements depending on their relevance to the audience but you must not make them contradictory.
There are many different ways we can use targeting to help us win. Here are some of the most common groups you may want to target for different messages
Residents in a geographical area (issue) – You have fixed a pothole that was bugging six neighbours on a cul-de-sac… This is great news, but it’s most relevant to the people on the cul-de-sac. Why not target a letter to the cul-de-sac telling them about your achievement and thanking them for getting in touch.
Residents in a geographical area (voting intention) – It may be that your team knows that all of the third party votes come from a particular area in your ward/division. Why not do a leaflet highlighting that the third party can’t win and so their voters are backing you this time.
Petition Signatures – If 1,000 people have signed your petition to save the swimming pool they should be one of the first groups you tell about new news on the campaign.
Postal Voters – People with postal votes need to get the campaign earlier than those without because they’ll vote earlier. They’re also more likely to vote so you make sure they get plenty of literature.
The ‘S’ Groups
In Connect you can find groups of voters automatically segmented into targets for you. They include:
Support – These are voters who have only ever said they’ll vote for us. We really want them to vote so we need to target them regularly, focusing on the great stuff we’re doing to push them out to vote.
Switch – These are voters who we think are going to choose between us and the main opposition. We may need to subtly change the message to work better for these people.
Squeeze – These are voters we think would like to vote for the third or fourth parties but could be tempted to vote for us. We need to convince them that only we can beat the main opposition, so they need to back us because their favoured party can’t win.
We now also have an additional target pool called ‘leans remain’. As the title suggests, this is a group that is likely to support out Stop Brexit stance. This group has proved immensely useful in elections since its introduction. In fact, it’s a superb place to look for potential volunteers. Make sure that you use such a valuable resource.
We understand that in an election, the temptation is to push out as much paper to as many people as possible. However, this is not good campaigning and is neither effective nor efficient. By using these targeting techniques, we can get the right message to the right people – a much better recipe for success.