Saturday, November 12, 2005

Doing Robocalls the Right Way

Let's recap: Matt Stoller hates robocalls, those annoying, pre-recorded campaign phone calls. Matt's not alone: a lot of other people hate robocalls, too. But, in campaigns, robocalls can be a necessary evil. The trick is to use robocalls sparingly and well.

1. Use a reliable phone vendor.
2. Use a well-targetted list.
3. Time your calls strategically. Make sure you are not calling too early, too late, or during the big football game.
4. Make sure your staff and volunteers are not entering cell numbers into your voter file, so you don't accidentally send a robocall to a cell phone number.
5. Make the highest-quality call you can. Your own volunteers phone banks are more effective than paid calls (if they are run well, volunteers are well-trained and supervised, and you give them good scripts). Live calls are more effective than robocalls. Interactive calls are more effective than passive calls.
6. Celebrity endorsements are NOT effective in any other field of advertising (if you don't believe me ask David Ogilvie), yet the campaign world is obsessed with Big Name Robocalls. If you're going to get a Big Wheel to record a call for you, make dead certain that the association is going to help you more than hurt you. And make sure that the hassle of coordinating with the Big Wheel's schedule and staff is worthwhile to create a call that in most cases would be more effective coming from the candidate or a candidate's family member.
7. Coordinate with other campaigns in the area. If every race on the ticket is sending calls to the same voters, people will start tearing their phones out of the wall. (Yes, I have horror stories.)
8. Use GREAT call scripts. If you can't write them, get your phone firm to do it. If your phone people can't write them...get outside help and also reconsider your choice of phone firm.

For more on Robocalls, please see Why Robocalls Are Here To Stay.

Doing Robocalls The Right Way is also cross-posted at The Blogging of the President.


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