When the "silly season" is in full swing and voters are deluged with political messages from all sides, the outcry is totally predictable. Voters hate the negative TV ads, they hate the onslaught of robocalls, and they hate all the politicians in general. There's a time -- usually the day before the election -- where everyone reaches a saturation point. They just can't take anymore.
The reaction is understandable. Elections go on for way too long. What people would like to see concluded in weeks, take months, and in the case of presidential elections, even years.
If you are a candidate, or work for a candidate, there are few things you need to consider.
1) Be respectful of the voters and the law. There are several states where political robocalls have been banned outright -- California being the largest. Make sure that you are familiar with your state laws and comply with them. If you want to be a lawmaker, the last thing you want to do is start off by breaking the law. Moreover, you don't want to be intrusive.
2) Despite the backlash, someone will win the election and it might as well be you. So understand that while your messages may not be well received, your opponent is in the same boat. It's a question of WHAT your message is, and HOW you deliver your message.
3) 80% of the money you will spend on mass media, such as television and radio, will be wasted because most of the people who will listen to your message won't vote anyway, or can't vote for you because they don't live in your district.
4) There are really only two forms of political communications that can target people who will vote (prime voters.) First is snail-mail, which can be very effective, but also very expensive. Most candidates send out large postcards. And second, political robocalls, which are very inexpensive and can be effective if used the right way.
5) Political robocalls can backfire because they can be very intrusive. However, if you carefully time your calls to maximize the number of your messages that will be left on voicemail or answering machines, you can create and manage a very successful robocall campaign that does not interrupt or upset your voters' routine, and at the same time, will deliver a message that can strike a chord.
Whether you have to answer a last minute attack, or just want to thank the voters for their support and remind them about heading to the polls, political robocalls can be one of your most powerful and cost effective campaign tools that can turn the tide in your favor. Just think -- if political robocalls are so bad, why do the vast majority of winning candidates continue to use them? It's about knowing how to use the technology to your advantage and constructing a message that will be welcomed.
As an example, if you wanted to thank the voters and remind them to vote, this could be your script: "Hi, this Mike Brown and I wanted to extend you my sincere gratitude and appreciation for all the support you've shown me during these past weeks. With your continued support and vote, we can win tomorrow and forge a brand new partnership between the people of the district and our state. Again, this is Mike Brown, thanking you, and reminding you, to exercise your right to vote tomorrow. Together, we can see new day for our community."
We've worked directly for hundreds of victorious candidates who have used robocalls very effectively because they have taken then time to plan, prepare and execute their campaigns with precision and forethought. We'd be happy to discuss with you the key elements in launching a robocall campaign.