Calling Voters Guide | Political Campaigning by Phone

Calling voters before an election should be an integral part of any political campaign to get out the vote, respond to last minute attacks, and promote your cause and issues as a candidate.

Welcome to Monarch Broadcast Messaging! We’ve been providing personal and customized voter communication services to candidates for decades — everyone from town hall to the nation’s capitol. We hope you can review our services and invite you to look at this guide that will provide a quick summary of the basic things you need to know to run an effective call campaign to voters.

Basically, there are five ways to call and contact voters:

1) Phone broadcasting, commonly known as robocalling, that allows you to send a pre-recorded message directly to voters.

2) Live agent call-outs. This is when real people call voters to promote your candidacy and remind people to vote. Some large campaigns will have a crew of volunteers call, but from a practical point of view, most campaigns hire out the process to trained professional operators who are instructed what to say regarding your particular campaign.

3) Phone surveying, which will ask the voter to select various options (press 1 if you plan to vote for Joe Smith.) This automated or live polling will provide you a real-time gauge on what voters are thinking at the moment.

4) Town hall teleconferencing is an interactive way to speak to thousands of voters at once (think of it as a live radio call-in show) on the phone. You control the content and the access.

5) Texting voters is also an option, but legally, you need an opt-in list of phone numbers. There is also a new technology called peer-to-peer texting (P2P) which enables you to use live agents to communicate directly with voters via text — similar to a real-time conversation.

We are happy to provide you relevant advice regarding the best practices and techniques that have proven to enhance your odds of winning, along with your particular message and timing. This thoughtful, planned and coordinated approach will increase your chances of victory.

Powerful tools that can propel your campaign, or drive it into the ground!

Calling Voters

The ability to call voters is a two edged sword — it can work very effectively, or it can be counter-productive and actually hurt you. That’s why it’s important to get professional advice and tailor your calling campaign to match your voters preferences.

Calling voters can either be intrusive or informative. How you manage your calling campaign can spell the difference between irritating potential supporters or gaining traction and garnering more votes.

The problems that most (80%+) campaigns encounter when it comes to calling voters is a lack of preparation and planning. In summary, these kinds of tasks should never be left to the last minute, especially when the pressure is on and there are other things on your to-do list. We suggest that the general theme or flavor of your message should be written well in advance, and then, depending on late breaking circumstances, you can modify your statement to respond to the latest news. And yes, you can expect attacks from your opponent late in the campaign in hopes you won’t be able to respond in time — that’s the beauty of political calling — you can respond quickly and in time.

“Who has the list of phone numbers?”

During the hustle and bustle of the last week of the campaign, candidates invariably ask, “Who has the list?” In other words, who has the list of voter phone numbers to call. That list can usually be obtained from the county or state board of elections. Voter lists are public information and can be had for a reasonable processing fee.

But the question shouldn’t be asked a week, or days, before the election — it should be asked months before. Scrambling for a list of phone numbers in the last days of a campaign is an unnecessary mistake and well run campaigns will have possession of a list

“What should I say?” Your Robocall Script is Important!

Writing the content of your message is critically important, and yet, when it comes to robocalling, more often than not, it ends up being a last minute hurried chore that is left to chance. It should be the opposite. Why? Because it will probably be the last time voters hear your voice and your message. Unless you are involved a major state or federal race where local or national media are covering your campaign, or you are using local television for advertising, your call to voters will be the last chance you have of leaving a good impression.

We’ve been helping successful candidates write their scripts for years, and here are some examples of the kinds of messages you can consider:

Here are some sample robocall scripts of what you can say:

Robocall Script #1 (Get out the vote message)

“Good afternoon. This is Michael Smith. I can’t thank you enough for all the support you have given me during the campaign for the State Senate. I have heard your concerns and promise you I will do my best to represent our district’s interests. I am particularly focused to on solving (issue)____________. Remember, polls open on Tuesday. I hope I can count on your support and I look forward to serving you. Again, this is Michael Smith candidate for State Senate, thanking you for your vote.”

Robocall Script #2 (Responding to last minute attack)

“Good afternoon. This is Michelle Jones, candidate for City Council. In the past two days my opponent has circulated false information which is not only untrue but ridiculous. Sure, I could ignore it and hope voters see it for what it is. But the attacks on my character were so egregious that I can’t let it slide. If you check the record and facts, you’ll find out for yourself that the truth is just the opposite of what my opponent would lead you to believe. There is an old saying in politics — believe half of what you read, and none of what you hear. When you go to the polls on Tuesday, I hope you reject these campaign tactic and stand up for the truth. Again, this is Michelle Jones. Thank you for your long time support and don’t forget to vote.

Robocall Script #3 (Introductory message, several weeks before election)

“Good afternoon. This is Tim Walker. I wanted to call and introduce myself as I begin my campaign for Mayor. As you know, our community faces many challenges — everything from taxes and education to sanitation. But my campaign will be focused on one important issue I believe we can address and solve — the responsibility of police in protecting lives and property. As your Mayor, I promise you that we will provide the proper training and guidelines so our police know exactly what is expected of them at all times. This is an important first step in assuring our local culture is inclusive, fair and safe. Again, this is Tim Walker, your candidate for Mayor, and I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail in the weeks ahead. I hope you share your thoughts with me.

Robocall Script #4 (Third Party endorsement)

Good afternoon. This is Coach Joe Hanks from the University. I wanted to let you know that I have known Brenda Brown since we taught at Central High School years ago. She always excelled at her job and I was always impressed with her enthusiasm as a volunteer for community causes. I admire her for her convictions and what she stands for, but I also respect her because she is fair, honest and most of all, listens. I’m calling you to say that I proudly support her in her candidacy for City Council and hope you do too. I encourage you to take a good look at all the candidates, and I’m confident, that you’ll agree that we need Brenda on the Council. Thank you for your time, and don’t forget to go to the polls on Tuesday. Every vote counts.”

“Should I say good afternoon or good evening?”

Timing your calls during the day is one of the most important aspects of creating an effective call. Since most voters get deluged with calls during the last 3 days of the campaign the impact is lost. Several things happen: Voters get irritated and frustrated and hang up on all the calls. All the calls sound the same. And confusion reigns as who is running for what office. You might think your campaign is the most important in the world, but from the voters’ point of view, they may not have any idea who the candidates are and the offices they are running for until they get into the voting booth.

But it’s not just what day a call is sent, but what time during the day the call is launched. In fact, the time of day is critical in having your call heard in the first place. Here is the key: Make sure your calls are delivered during the day in an effort to leave as many messages on answering machines as possible. This accomplishes two things. First, you don’t want to interrupt dinner or other family activities during the evening. And second, the voters can listen to your message at their convenience, when they have the time and interest to play their messages.

So, don’t send your calls on Sundays, and don’t send your calls at dinner time. The best time is a weekday, during the hours of Noon-2pm, when the chances of leaving a message on an answering machine are the greatest. To answer the question directly — saying “Good afternoon” is your best bet.

“How do I record my message?”

Recording your message is easy and can be done right over the phone. We can help you, or we can provide instructions on what to do to record yourself. Some suggestions: Use a landline phone, or a cell phone with a very good connection, to make sure your recording sounds professional. Make sure you are in a quiet place (no background noises!) and you’ve practiced reading it aloud several times. Sounds confident and relaxed.

Delivering different messages to different groups

Your local elections office probably has the capability of segmenting lists. You will get an electronic file — say an Excel spreadsheet — and you’ll be able to break down your list into demographics. Get some one tech savvy on your team, and you can segment the lists by political affiliation, geography, age, sex, and voting regularity. With that information, you can formulate a message to a particular group. For example, you can send a customized message to all of the senior citizens who live in a particular district who have voted in the past two elections. Or, to all the women in a certain area. While it is convenient to send the same message to everyone, remember, it’s not necessary. You can record different messages to different groups.

Having Live Agents Call can be an Attractive Option

Real people talking to other real people, in real-time. While it costs more, there are many times when live agents can provide a better representation of your candidacy. For example, sometimes it’s best to have a live agent take a survey, or explain where polling stations have changed. You can’t beat human-to-human interaction when it comes to understanding and relating to voters. We have professionally trained agents who can

You also have the option of using live agents to call voters in real-time to have actual conversations. While more costly, using these premium services can provide a closer and more personal connection with voters who are able to interact. We provide live agent services and can discuss with you the many options you have to include them as part of your campaign strategy and tactics.

While robocalls are the most popular way for candidates to directly connect with voters, retaining the services of live agents to call your voters should always be considered. Under the right circumstances it can be the ideal way to reach out and connect with voters who will be more engaged talking to a live person, than listening to a recording.

Have a town hall style event over the phone

Is there a way you can talk to thousands of target prime voters at the same time, and control the conversation and invite questions and input while screening your calls?

The answer is yes! It’s call town hall teleconferencing and thousands of elected officials and candidates use this amazing technology often to have direct contact with voters. It’s like having a closed circuit radio show on the phone — and you get to choose your audience! Town hall teleconferencing is an extremely effective way to explain your positions, listen to the voters, build your name recognition and elicit support.

You can learn more about town hall teleconferencing here.

Calling voters is actually more powerful than television and here’s why

In a nutshell, television can be effective, but there is one huge problem. You spend money on a television commercial that will be aired to people who live outside of your district or don’t, or can’t, vote for you in the first place. Calling voters on the phone changes your position dramatically because you can target your calls to “prime voters” that you already know will be voting. You can target demographics and geographic district lines. Not only are you getting in direct touch with people who will be making the decision on election day, but you also have the benefit of reaching them for pennies, compared to expensive television commercials.

Give us a call at 888-387-8636

As one of the leading political communication companies in the nation, we can help you call voters with the best technology, at the right time, with the right message. Monarch Broadcast Messaging is pledged to support you and your candidacy with our best advice and personal service. We look forward to partnering with you to see victory on Election night!