So, you’ve chosen your ideal voting method, you’ve carefully set up your ballot, and now all you have to do is wait until your election starts, right?
Not so fast. A successful election relies on so much more than a perfectly assembled ballot – you still have to get people to show up and vote! And I don’t mean just a few.
How can you motivate voters to participate?
By providing them with timely, engaging content that is educational, informative, and convincing.
Just because this vote matters to the organization, doesn’t mean your constituents care.
As a matter of fact, two of the main reasons why voters don’t choose to participate in elections is because:
they don’t think their vote matters, or
they aren’t really clear about what they are voting for.
Our thoughts on email campaigns and voter turnout
If sending your voters a heads up before your election sounds like a no-brainer, then you’re right.
However, we’ve seen so many organizations take voter turnout for granted by thinking a simple notification will do the trick. We are constantly reminding our users not to underestimate the impact a well-planned email notification campaign has on increased voter participation.
The more people that vote in your ballot, the more meaningful and accurate your results will be.
Here are some ways to boost your voter turnout using thoughtful planning and action-oriented content:
How to plan a voter email notification campaign
Pay attention to the time and day
Emails often get missed if they are sent after lunch or on a Friday afternoon. You’ll want to come up with a scheduling strategy so that your emails get seen by more people.
There have been many studies conducted on the best time to send an important email, but from our experience, we’ve noticed that voters are most likely to open an email in the morning when they first get to the office.
Break up your email content
Have a lot of information you’d like to share?
Consider breaking up your content into multiple emails to make it easier to digest. Don’t send these emails all at once – stick to your scheduling strategy above.
If you have a dedicated Communications or Marketing department, see if they can use their skills to draft an email for you. They're the experts when it comes to conveying this sort of information and making people take action!
Just make sure you provide them with all the information you want to send to your voters.
If you don't have access to such a team, here are some tips.
How to write your voter email notification content
Structure your information well
The most important information in your campaign should be the details of the voting event such as time, date, and login details.
However, you should also provide some information about why you’re hosting an election and what impact the vote will have on your organization.
Provide clear instructions
Poorly written voting instructions have the tendency to get lost in an inbox.
In your campaign, you should have one email that’s clearly dedicated to voting instructions. Use a straightforward subject line such as “Voting Instructions for the Trustee Election”. Also, you’ll want to avoid adding any large image files or logos that will slow download speeds.
How to send your email notifications
Prep your servers
If you’re using an online voting system such as eBallot to send your email notifications, you should whitelist your voting system's IP address so your internal servers recognize the emails and don’t send them to the spam folder. This step is crucial to ensuring that voters get your vote.
Monitor open rates and optimize
Take a hint from the marketers: optimization is key to getting better results.
Whether you’re running multiple elections in a year or have an annual vote, you can take note of how many people opened your emails and how they responded to your content to improve in the future.
It may take some experimentation to get it right, but planning your content and scheduling your email campaigns thoughtfully will greatly improve turnout during your next election.