Engage people with Campaign IT Strategy

Last month, while trying to answer the questions “What is a Campaign?” and “How do I get people to join?” I teased you with only 1 of the Five I’s of campaign strategy. I promised that I would deliver the rest this month.

I’m going to do one better. Well, two better actually.

The first 5 I’s listed here are the classic steps to move people through a campaign. The final I and the T I’ve added. I think they are critical for any type of campaign (marketing, election, outreach, fund raising, etc) but I would argue that they are especially critical if you are mounting an online campaign.

Every campaign starts with people and grows with people. Here’s how.

1. Identify: Research is the cornerstone of a campaign. Who wants what you want? Look around and see who’s really around you. How close are they? Where are pockets of new people who have demonstrated an interest in what you do? Be specific. The more specifically you identify people, and targeted groups of people, the more power you have to reach them.

2. Interest: Think about what it will take to attain and maintain the interest of the people you have identified. And think about how you will know if you have captured their interest. Some identifiers are: people don’t hang up on you, people sign up for your e-newsletters, someone asks you to repeat yourself, online search and activity data.

3. Inform: Get people the information that they need to support you, and connect it to the interest they have demonstrated. Use websites, social networking updates, newsletters, meetings, proposals, fliers, events, ads – once someone has demonstrated an interest it is just polite to keep them well-informed, and it keeps them engaged.

I’m a big fan of e-newsletters because you can continuously feed interested people valuable information that keeps them engaged AND you can track their interest with online stats.

For example, we will be keeping NDP supporters in Oak Bay-Gordon Head informed about the issues and events that they responded to during the election. We will also use the e-newsletters to identify people who can be moved to get involved.

4. Involve: This is where things shift. This is where people start doing something for you. A person can demonstrate their involvement in your campaign by inviting you to speak at an event, by making the effort to come to your office to meet, by volunteering, introducing you to people,  using your service, forwarding an email, opening up a discussion by posting a comment on a blog or retweeting an update on twitter. When people get involved, they are active in your community. Some people will inform themselves with information available and  contact you to ask you how they can get involved, but some people need to be asked.

Once you have identified, interested and informed people, it should be quite natural for you to offer to build that relationship by asking them to get involved.

5.    Invest: When you know someone is ready to buy in, make your ask. Ask for their vote, their donation, their purchase, whatever the ultimate goal is – ask. But make sure you’ve done everything you could to ensure that the only natural response will be “yes”, in other words make sure you have successfully moved them through the previous 4 steps.

Bonus Steps

6.    Inspire: Once people know you, and they have invested in you, encourage them to inspire others to move through the cycle. Donors  become canvassers. Voters drive other voters to the polls. And happy customers sell their friends on your product or service. And so the movement grows. But inspiring people to grow a movement takes really deep engagement,  so don’t skip steps.

Ask them explicitly to inspire others. Teach them how to effectively inspire others. Set up systems that make it easy for them to inspire others.  And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that things just “become” viral these days.

7.    Thank: Always say thank you. Don’t ever stop. If someone gives you the gift of breathing life into your organization, or your cause by sharing a little bit of their life with you, they deserve your appreciation. This is totally non-negotiable. Say thank you. A lot.

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