There’s no doubt that robo calls are very much maligned, don’t forget they are the most cost-effective way to get your message to voters. Based on our nearly 20 years of experience, here is what we have found are the most effective ways of using them to your advantage in your campaign.
- You Need a Plan. It’s often useful when getting ready to send robo calls to come up with a campaign plan/schedule for sending them out. Generally we find sending a wave of 5-7 calls is most effective. One robo call by itself won’t hurt, but we have found these work like the old 1 + 1 = 3 formula. They build on one another, making the overall message more effective.
As an example, here is a sketch of a 7-call robo call campaign:
- Call #1 (October 15) — Introduce yourself and explain why you are running.
- Call #2 (October 19) — Explain your plan for how to cut property taxes.
- Call #3 (October 23) — Call to ask for volunteers and supporters to join your campaign and spread the word about why you should be elected.
- Call #4 (October 27) — Call from a prominent endorser about why they support your campaign.
- Call #5 (October 31) — Explain your plan for improving access to college education.
- Call #6 (November 5) — Call from another prominent endorser about why they support your campaign.
- Call #7 (Election Day – November 7) — Reminder to vote today if you haven’t.
- Timing Matters. Your calls will be much more effective if you don’t interrupt prime-time TV or dinner time. We strongly suggest that you call during the day and leave your messages on voice mails and on answering machines. In fact, that’s when we ideally do our calling. That way voters can listen to your message when it’s convenient for them — and if this is the case, voters will be much more likely to listen to your full message.
- No Static in Your Recording. We can’t say this enough — record your message on your cell phone (click here for help). Don’t ever use a dial-in number as many other services offer. Your recording will pick up the static, and the call won’t sound great. Why does that matter? Unless voters think they are listening to a real person, they likely won’t listen to your whole message. Click here for help recording your message on your cell phone for crystal clear sound quality.
- Put Criticism into Context. Often a few people will be upset that they have received a robo call — and usually those are people who don’t vote! The vast majority of voters find these calls helpful to get more information about the candidates and their positions — especially for local and down-ballot races where there is very limited information about the candidates.
- Get a Head Start. Don’t wait until the last minute — most campaigns do and you can break through with your calls by sending them earlier in election season. You should ideally start 3-4 weeks before the election date. Remember, timing matters (see point #1).
For information about our DIY campaign tool for robo calls, click here.