How to support your clients in the off-season

Originally Published on Campaigns and Elections

The election is over. The final campaign reports have been sent. Now what?

For digital strategists and staff working with incumbent candidates, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations, here’s how to add value during the off-season when there’s not an election around the corner: Update or upgrade things that have been on their (read: your) to-do list.

If you’ve been putting off refreshing your website or email assets, there’s no time like the present. Whether you’ve inherited a website or email program from another agency or in-house operation, or you didn’t have the time to redesign wrappers and templates or update content while you were sending 30-plus emails a month, below are some places to start:

Update websites for responsiveness

At this stage, designing responsiveness for screen sizes is the norm, but it’s not enough. Check details like how your content looks in dark mode (if you have a dark logo, you might consider a lighter option for dark mode viewers

Clean your email list

A clean list will help with deliverability rates, open rates, and unsubscribes. If list hygiene hasn’t been the standard practice, know that starting with a clean list and an eye on how many active subscribers you currently have will give you a better understanding of the true potential of your file.

Refresh branding or copy

There’s nothing that screams “we haven’t touched our website since 2020” like copy that reads: “Don’t forget to vote November 3rd!” And if your client hasn’t refreshed their brand in over five years, it might be time to suggest some subtle changes to bring it up to date.

There’s nothing that screams “we haven’t touched our website since 2020” like copy that reads: “Don’t forget to vote November 3rd!”

After you’ve brought your digital assets up to speed, use this time to set yourself up for success for the coming cycle. Take a moment to analyze which strategies were effective and which fell short: When moving from email to email or ad blitz to ad blitz, sometimes it’s easy to miss the bigger trends through the rapid-fire metrics.

Moreover, plan ahead for additional ad blackout periods. If last cycle taught us anything, it’s that the closer we get to E-Day, the less predictable our go-to ad platforms might be — and this time around, there’s no excuse to be caught off guard. Beyond Facebook and Google, P2P SMS regulations are about to shake up mobile outreach for those who don’t have an owned list. Consider investing in a backup plan or additional means of outreach like opening that merch store or holding a contest as a means to collect additional opt-in phone numbers.

And while it’s still too early to tell what will be feasible or safe in the next year, plan for how promoting an in-person event might look different than a Zoom event.

Last year was unprecedented. If you’re like me, you’re beyond ready to bring back those “precedented” times — and while we don’t know what the rest of 2021 has in store for us, we can make sure our clients’ digital brands are flexible and strong enough to weather anything.