As tech advances in politics come into the mainstream, there are more and more debates about what works and what doesn't. At GIA, we believe that despite what some campaigns see as 'push back' on robocalls, robocalls are a part of the campaign repertoire when used properly and in the context of a good overall campaign plan.
We have seen this work to devastating effects in terms of positive campaigning to boost a candidates name ID and/or promotion of an issue. We have also seen these used to devastating effect in a negative context going back to elections as early as 2009.
Therefore, here are our GIA top 10 tips for robocalls:
1. Verify legality. Check to make sure the area(s) you will be targeting allow automated calls. Find out about any rules and regulations you’ll need to follow. This means making sure that the calls are authorised.
2. Inspire and inform. Be inspiring and fact-based in your message.
3. Be concise. Keep messages relatively brief — between 30 and 45 seconds is ideal.
4. Thank your constituents. Be upbeat, positive and express gratitude for voter support in your message.
5. Call early in the cycle. Ideally, you should send your robo dialer message well in advance of the election instead of right before to maximize its impact. (The exception to this would be if you need to respond to recent direct attacks or must address an issue immediately.
6. Call selectively. Use focused, deliberate and selective calling — do not bombard constituents with multiple similar messages in a short period of time.
7. Call during weekdays. Send auto dialer messages during the day. Strive to leave the messages on voicemail; about 70% residents are not home during the day, and you’ll be able to deliver your complete message. You’ll avoid interrupting the voter and they can listen to your message at their convenience.
8. Real phone numbers. Use a real phone number associated with your campaign for your calls; caller ID numbers that look false will likely not be taken seriously.
9. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute; plan and strategize your call scripts carefully. The ideal planning cycle for a robo call is about a week to 10 days, so set aside at least that amount of time for each message.
10. Pace yourself. When you start your calls, use a pace that is steady and also compliant with the local capacity for the area.