As the 2018 midterm elections draw closer, nonpartisan voter engagement groups are ramping up their efforts to get more voters on the rolls. And it appears to be working in Texas. Near the end of September 2018, Texas counted at least 15.6 million registered voters, a new record for the state.
Looking at voter campaigns, one can see some direct correlations between their goals and that of a business. While voter engagement campaigns are typically nonpartisan, the main goal is to generate action and enthusiasm from an otherwise apathetic group of people. And isn’t that the mission of a growing company? Help.com took a look at some of the most common ways campaigns mobilize citizens to register to vote. Here’s what your business can learn from their strategies.
Make It Personal
According to Nonprofit VOTE, research shows that the more personal an interaction is, the more likely someone is to register to vote. The group says “Voters respond best to other people, especially friends, neighbors, and community-based agencies that are familiar.” While it’s not always possible for companies to be best friends with their customers, it is important that businesses acknowledge the role that building relationships and familiarity plays in increasing customer engagement and sales. That being said, there are some things you can do to familiarize yourself with your customers and create longer lasting relationships:
- Learn as much about your customer as you can, and use their personal information to build a rapport. This is easily accomplished with a platform like Help.com‘s, which stores vital customer information, past purchases, and conversation history in the customer profile and next to each interaction.
- Using details and organically implementing them into conversations lets customers know that your business cares about them. It also ensures that conversations about issues have context, which improves the customer trust necessary for any successful relationship.
- Be personable. Nonprofit VOTE says mass emails, handouts, and other non-personalized messages are ineffective for engagement. Instead of just sending out newsletters or stale emails to all of your customers, customize your communication as much as possible. Use their names, add emojis in conversation (Help.com has an emoji feature!), employ thoughtful humor, and ask customers questions.
Make It Easy
Because most people don’t have a serious incentive to use your product explicitly and exclusively, it’s important to understand how any little thing can keep them from giving you business. For potential voters, Nonprofit VOTE says that minimizing the barriers to voting is essential to creating engagement. Here’s how you can apply that knowledge to your strategy:
- Provide multiple points of contact for your customer so that contacting your company isn’t work. Your customer isn’t getting paid to get in touch with you; in fact, it’s just the opposite. With that being said, you should be doing everything possible to ensure your customer has multiple channels through which to communicate with you, be it through email, live chat, or phone.
- Reach out to your customers first via tools such as proactive chat, where you can set rules to automate when to chat with a visitor on your website. Proactive chat eliminates the extra effort on the customers’ end to reach out to you, which can result in someone leaving your website instead of engaging contact.
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Timing Is Everything
When it comes to mobilizing voters, timing is everything. Most people don’t want to spend more time than necessary figuring out how to register to vote. They also may be turned off by the idea of having to wait in long lines at the voting booth if they’re in a rush. The same goes for your potential customers. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the time you spend with them is respectful of that. In general, that means cultivating an environment where being considerate of your customers’ time is a major priority for you and your team.
- Acknowledge your customers. You may not be able to answer all of your customers’ questions at any hour of the day, but that doesn’t mean their communication isn’t worthy of an immediate response. Whenever a customer sends your company an email or message, your business should have an automated response for them indicating that the message has been received and will be responded to shortly. This alleviates the stress of wondering if one’s message was sent into a void, never to be heard from again. It also eliminates repeat messages about the same topic or concern.
- Don’t waste time. As your team interacts with customers, it’s important to realize efficiency is key. Instead of asking customers questions they’ve already been asked, your team members should be able to gain context from your customer’s conversation history, private notes written by other agents, past purchases, and other important details. Having all of this data readily available means your agent won’t have to search through different windows and potentially lose their place, wasting precious time and possibly upsetting the customer. Cultivating interactions that are consistent and efficient are essential to maintaining relationships and establishing trust.
Nonprofit VOTE says that competition is a main driver of turnout and that mentioning highly contested candidate races is a great way to drive more people to cast their votes. A great takeaway from this is that your business shouldn’t shy away from mentioning competitors. In fact, acknowledging competition could be a great way to generate conversations and stand out from the crowd. Here’s why:
- Discussing your competition is a form of transparency. Being honest with your customers builds trust. There’s a reason why car insurance companies like Progressive quote other companies’ rates beside their own, even when theirs isn’t always the lowest. They understand that a solid relationship is built on openness rather than deception.
- Mentioning competition implies that you’re proud of your product. Having confidence in what you have to offer when you know there are similar products or services out there sets you apart from the rest. It also implies that you’re knowledgeable about the competition, which means customers can ask you questions and will take your perspective seriously.
Positivity is Powerful
Negative messaging can be “counterproductive” to increasing voter turnout, says Nonprofit VOTE. Instead, the organization suggests reframing communication to encourage people to take action. Similarly, when it comes to your business, keeping a positive tone throughout communications is not only professional, but it’s also appreciated.
- Positivity is empowering. Whether you’re speaking to customers about their day, explaining a product/service to them, or trying to resolve an issue, maintaining positivity can have a lot of pleasant effects on your business. Not only is positivity more effective than using scare tactics, showing a customer how your business can improve their lives is empowering for them, too.
- Positivity breeds more positivity. People like to repeat habits and actions that they feel good about. That’s why creating a positive interaction from the first “Hello” is so important for your business. If a customer feels good after talking to you, they’ll remember how they felt and will return to you in the future.
Are there any other similarities between voter and customer engagement strategies?
Let us know in the comments.
P.S. You can register to vote here.