BallotReady's Best Practices for Promoting Your CivicEngine Site

Promoting Your Site

We’ve paid attention to what works best and compiled here our tips for successfully driving traffic to your CivicEngine site. 

  • Multimedia Content
    Videos outsmart the algorithm on every social media platform, meaning they’re pushed to the top of users’ feeds. 

  • Pinned Content
    These live at the top of your profile, without the help of algorithms. You can use Instagram highlights or pinned posts on Twitter and LinkedIn to draw attention to your BallotReady tool.

  • Link in Bio
    Add the landing page where your CivicEngine widget is embedded to your bio on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn - you could use a linktree to feature your CivicEngine tool alongside other links on your site.

  • Landing Pages 
    Creative, inspiring and accessible landing pages that prompt users to enter their address in the widget.

  • Specific Call to Action
    Make sure that all communications about your CivicEngine site instruct users to enter their address in the widget. For example, instead of saying, "Go to the link in our bio to find out how to vote" try, "Click the link in our bio and enter your address to make a plan to vote."

  • Search Engine Optimization
    You can use keywords to help your site appear prominently in search engine results, like Google. Many platforms like Squarespace, Wix, Wordpress, etc. have back-end settings to optimize your SEO.

    Adding UTM codes correctly to ad campaigns, emails, or links will help you analyze your distribution strategies and track your efforts. 

  • Relational Organizing
    Utilize your CivicEngine tool in your phone-banking & text-banking scripts to help voters find their polling places and make plans to vote! Or, add a CivicEngine QR code on your postcards to voters.

    Texting campaigns have been the most effective way to engage voters, with a relatively low bounce rate.

  • Related Content
    Link to your CivicEngine landing page across your site, on blog posts or articles about the Election to attract interested viewers to take action. 

  • Comment Pods
    Comments that are greater than 5 words also outsmart the algorithm and help to push your content higher on users’ feeds

Growing Your Audience

In order to find the best path for your organization, we recommend asking yourself these questions:

  • What are my goals? 
    Do you want to engage with your list? Recruit new members to your list? Take advantage of rapid response? Encourage existing members to share your tool?

  • Who is my audience?
    Do you have a different audience on mobile vs. email? How about desktop? How can I most effectively reach my target audience?

  • What resources do I have?
    Do you have a digital team? Consultants Volunteers? How can we promote this tool within our organization?


Best practices for growing your audience:

Email

  • First is better than best. 
    Let's say a state legislature passes a restrictive voting law. Would you rather be the first organization to send an email to your list - with a pledge to vote and a link to the Make a Plan tool - or the fifth? The sooner you reach out, the more likely you are to pique their interest.

  • Test, personalize, and segment
    Test multiple kinds of emails that link to your tool to find what your list responds to most. Getting demographic information is typically prohibitively expensive, so work with what you've got. Try segmenting by in-state vs. out-of-state, donors vs. non-donors, donation history, (1x vs repeat, recent vs lapsed), or past actions (type and topic).

Digital Ads

  • Invest in Digital
    The impact mail has on voters declines precipitously after the first few pieces. TV ads are expensive. Digital ads will give you more bang for your buck than TV or mail.

  • Invest early, if you can
    Don't wait for late money to invest in digital. Try to make smaller buys further in advance, so you can test and iterate.

  • Start with Facebook
    According to TFC, Facebook has a "one-stop shop for voter list matching, demographic analytics, and reach."

  • Authentic is Best
    The more authentic you can be - whether it's sharing a selfie-style video, a local news story, or something else - the more likely you are to find users engaging with your information. This has the added benefit of being cost-effective.

Texting

  • Have a mobile opt-in box on ALL of your forms
    Including a mobile opt-in isn't a barrier to option -  you should test, though, if requiring it is.

  • Add a short link to your tool
    This gives you a concrete ask and a reason to follow up in a few months. Texts with links get 4x as many clicks as emails with links.

  • Keep your texts varied
    We recommend the 1/4 approach: 1/4 advocacy, 1/4 fundraising, 1/4 education, 1/4 announcements, or whatever categories you're focused on.

  • Note: Texting is a great way to reach rural communities with limited access to broadband and communities of color.

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