June 13, 2011

Low Cost - Or Even Free Resources - for Your Campaign

Recently I was having lunch with some associates and clients and we got on the subject of MailChimp.

There are plenty of inexpensive and even free resources you can incorporate into your political campaign to make it look professional.

[amazon_enhanced asin="0813545048" container="div" container_class="right" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /]"MAIL CHIMP WILL SAVE US!!" My friend was repeating the common refrain from campaigns that believe they can employ an email service such as Constant Contact, iContact, MailChimp, or other services and they'll communicate, raise money, and win.

It rarely happens with small campaigns, but should be part of your strategy.

But underlying the comment was something that bears pointing out: there are plenty of inexpensive and even free resources you can incorporate into your political campaign.

Even if you don't know how to utilize these services you can retain someone to install and manage it for you as they frequently don't work or look the way you want out of the box. Or ZIP file.

Examples:

WordPress -an excellent content management system (CMS) that can be used to build a campaign website. Thousands of developers and users have created themes and plug-ins you can use to build a beautiful, functional and effective website.

Akins Creative uses WordPress. I've built two websites in the past week that have utilized WordPress, themes, and various plugins to make it do what I want.

Why pay thousands for a web developer when you can hire someone to utilize what's already available to meet your needs - and build on top if needed?

MailChimp - an easy to use e-mail service where you can create subscribe forms, import your existing e-mail list, and send customized e-mails for your campaign. It also easily integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics, and other services. This takes alot of the work out of posting information.

Best of all, you can sign up and use for free with a list limit of 2,000 emails and a maximum send rate of 12,000 per month. Perfect for a small campaign.

TweetDeck - nothing is more annoying that managing a Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (remember that?), FourSquare, and Google Buzz (which I think is disappearing - it hasn't caught on) all separately.

To solve this I've utilized TweetDeck, a free utility that allows you to add multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook, MySpace, Google Buzz, and FourSquare accounts.

I love being able to post to several, all, or just one Twitter account and Facebook pages that I manage.

TweetDeck comes as a stand-alone program or - my favorite -as an extension to your RockMelt browser, based on Google Chrome, that actually has more posting options.

I use all of these - plus a few more - to manage on-line communicates for several organizations.

If you notice, I didn't discuss Facebook and Twitter separately - I've just assumed you have them already. And if you don't you're already behind. Way behind.

You may ask, "if they're free, why would I hire someone to do it?" It can get complicated and you will need someone who has the experience necessary to make it do and look the way you want. It's a small price to pay to look professional.

While these will not win your campaign, they can help make your on-line strategy far easy. And remove the critique that it looks like Junior built your website.

 

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