Online Lead Generation Ideas for Political Candidates and Causes

Learn how online marketing campaigns can help you drum up support for your candidate or cause during election season.

By Jane Vance ・4 min read
Best Practices
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Are you looking to drum up support for your candidate or ballot measure during this election cycle? Or are you playing the long game and looking for ways to reach out to supporters once election season is over? Whatever your goals, online marketing campaigns can help you meet them!As I’m sure you know, online marketing campaigns are becoming more and more important with each election. With online campaigns, marketers can collect leads and reach out to followers on a more personal level, increasing their ability to mobilize supporters when it counts. However, many campaign strategists aren’t sure how to collect these increasingly important leads, or they don’t know what to do with the leads after they have a list going. We created a list of lead-generation ideas and email marketing strategies for political candidates and causes that will help you execute a successful online marketing campaign.

Generate Leads: Refer a friend for free swag!

From yard signs to buttons, bumper stickers to t-shirts, everywhere you turn, folks are showing their support for their candidates and causes. Give your supporters the opportunity to earn some free swag with a refer-a-friend campaign. With a refer-a-friend campaign, you can offer everyone who signs up a specific item, like a t-shirt, yard sign or a bumper sticker.How it works: After folks submit their information, they receive a referral URL to share. The more people who click the referral URL to submit their own information, the more referral points the person who shared the URL receives. A refer-a-friend campaign will not only help you collect leads, but it will also increase awareness of your candidate or cause through sharing.

IDEA: Create tiers, such as: one referral point = a pin, five referral points = a t-shirt, and 10 referral points = a tote bag. This incentivizes more sharing to collect more gear!

Email Marketing Strategy: After form submission, send the folks who entered their referral URL via email and encourage them to share. In the email, include some talking points about your candidate or cause, and a link to where folks can go to learn more.

ShortStack's Refer-a-Friend Contest

Refer-a-friend template View and Create Your Own (Available on the Business Plan and higher plans)

Increase Engagement and Generate Leads: #VoteCANDIDATE Photo Contest

In today’s social-media-driven world, “if it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen.” Encourage rally attendees, volunteers, and supporters to post campaign-related selfies to show their love for your candidate or cause. For example, selfies could be taken with your candidate, while out volunteering for your candidate, or while wearing swag in support of your candidate. Folks would then post photos to Instagram with the hashtag you indicate. For example, #Vote[CANDIDATE’S_NAME][YEAR] or #SelfieFor[CANDIDATE’S_NAME]. If you want to collect leads for email marketing, ask folks to submit their photo via a form on your website in exchange for a chance to win campaign gear autographed by your candidate, or another prize your supporters will love.Email Marketing Strategy: If you’re collecting entries via a form, then you have the chance to collect email addresses. Create emails that will rally your supporters. Encourage subscribers to get out to volunteer, and remind them to vote for your candidate on Election Day.Photo Upload Giveaway template View and Create Your Own

Generate Leads: "Get the Facts on Key Issues" Quiz

Use a quiz to show undecided voters why they should vote for your candidate or support your cause. For a candidate, you could ask individuals what they think about various issues or connect issues to their everyday life. For example, one question could be, “What do you do in your free time?” and include the answers:

  1. Go outdoors
  2. Travel
  3. Spend time with my family and friends
  4. Read

The answers would be connected to different outcomes. For example, if you had the outcomes climate policy, economic policy, family-leave policy, and education policy, then the answers might connect to the outcomes like this:

  1. Go outdoors = climate policy
  2. Travel = economic policy
  3. Spend time with my family and friends = family-leave policy
  4. Read = education policy.

The goal of this campaign is to show folks quiz outcomes that will explain the stances of the candidate on issues that are important to the quiz taker.How it works: The quiz is essentially a personality quiz. For each answer an individual chooses, a point is assigned to the corresponding outcome. After quiz takers answer all of the questions, you can require them to submit their name and email address to see their result. After form submission, the outcome with the most points is displayed.Email Marketing Strategy: Did you require people to submit their name and email address in order to see their quiz result? Great! You have collected some valuable leads. Send follow-up emails to these folks with information on why they should support your candidate.

Personality Quiz Template

Personality Quiz template View and Create Your Own

Increase Awareness and Generate Leads: Pledge Your Support

This campaign is pretty simple, all you need to do is create a form for folks to “pledge” their support for your cause or candidate. Folks will simply fill out a form to submit their pledge. You could display all of the pledges on your campaign, or simply keep this information in your own list.To increase awareness of your cause, give folks the chance to share their pledge. After submitting the pledge, use a share popup to encourage folks to share their support for your cause.Another ideas is to include several causes and candidates on your campaign for folks to share. For each cause, you could make an image that includes a message about your cause, then display a Share button below it. When someone clicks the Share button, then they can share this message and image across various social media platforms.Email Marketing Strategy: Create emails to count down the days left until the election. Remind folks about your cause or candidate. If you are promoting a cause, you could also include information about candidates on the ballot who also support your cause.

TIP: It might sound weird, but our Product Gallery template would work well for a Pledge Your Support campaign. It allows you to use images and text to convey your message, and it gives folks a way to share this information.
Product Gallery Template

Product Gallery templateLooking for more online marketing ideas and tips to help you garner support for your candidate or cause? Just check out our blog!

Try a ShortStack template to create your first contest fast and easily.

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About the author

By Jane Vance ・4 min read

Jane has over a decade of martech experience, with an emphasis in content marketing, UX, and customer success. Her combined skillset and years of hands-on experience make her a valuable player in the industry. In her free time, Jane loves quiet family dinners at home and a good book.

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