Election season is upon us and the political ads are pouring in. According to the Wesleyan Media Project, advertising volume for the 2016 elections has increased by 122% since 2012. Traditionally, candidates have utilized television advertising almost exclusively, but that is changing. National campaigns can no longer ignore shifting technological trends in the United States. Wired Magazine states that the 2016 presidential election season is seeing a digital advertising spend of $1 billion by candidates. That’s a 5,000% increase in presidential digital advertising since 2008.

But local election candidates do not have billions to spend on marketing, and more importantly do not need to reach an entire country. Local candidates need to think more, well, local. A great way to execute a more concentrated marketing campaign on a budget is with the help of a local digital marketing firm. Knowledge of a county, city, or state is crucial, and when combined with the digital marketing expertise a local firm offers it could provide the extra boost needed to win an election.

Tips from Your Friendly Neighborhood Digital Marketing Firm

  1. Elections: Target Voters, Smarter

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Targeting your ads to voters seems obvious, but it can be tricky. If a target is too broad, your ads end up in front of any set of eyes in a given radius and before you know it, your budget is spent. Too narrow of a target means there is no guarantee your ad will show up enough or be as widely circulated.

One solution would be to create ads aimed at specific people. Say a candidate supports more funding for veterans’ groups, a local digital marketing firm could create ads showcasing this stance and target these ads to veterans and households with veterans, and those in the military or with intent to join the military. Targeting the voting area—whether it be zip code, radius, county, city, or state—is a given. But did you know local veterans’ homes, VA hospitals, and veteran social clubs can also be geo-fenced? This means ads would show up on mobile devices once a person steps inside the “fence” set up around these targeted locations.

These are all simple solutions that can be tweaked and optimized by a local firm to ensure your ad gets in front of the right people, at the right time.

  1. Prove You’re Not Just a Politician 

The impersonal nature of the internet can cause problems for candidates in local elections. Voters want to like a candidate and feel a connection to who they are as a person. This is particularly true in small elections where local pride and community improvement is at the forefront of voter’s minds. It is important to let voters know your connection to a community in an original and readable manner.

One way to do that is through sponsored content on a popular local news site. Sponsored content is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant, valuable content to your selected audience. Articles sponsored by an advertiser or candidate are shown to an audience much like a non-sponsored article—in the center column along with other articles. They can be targeted similarly to traditional display ads, ensuring voters see the sponsored article.

The point of these articles is not to advertise for a candidate’s run, but to be informational articles focused on causes a candidate supports. These sponsored articles creatively show community pride on the candidate’s part while displaying their knowledge of a local matter.

  1. Give Them Some Friendly Reminders

Now that you have your name and platform out to the people for elections, remind the voters to vote! In the days approaching the election, serve ads in fixed positions on a local news site. This means the ad lives on the homepage or news page, or other topic pages, in a specific spot. It is the exclusive ad in that position on the page. Everyone who visits the page will see it.

This will ensure voters know the date of the upcoming election. It also stirs up a little extra name recognition in the final days before the vote. This could be the extra push some voters need to get out and cast a ballot on election day.

Need Help During Elections?

These digital solutions are just some of the options available to local politicians. Alterations are key to match the needs of every candidate. Have questions, or want to get your campaign advertising up and running? Get in touch with the MassLive Media experts.