When we design candidate websites, we never make the About the Candidate page the homepage. Obviously you will want to tell everyone about your educational and work background, how amazing your spouse is and about your wonderful children, but it shouldn't be the first thing people see. We believe it sends the message that the campaign is about the candidate. It's not. The campaign is about the visitor, the volunteer, and ultimately, the voter. Sure, you want to give visitors a sense of who the candidate is but you can and should do that visually with compelling images and good design. What you really want to do is engage and enlist visitors to become supporters and volunteers.
The image above is from the homepage from our new Insurgent Theme Template. On the left is a standard email signup (although we did add the increasingly popular social signup). Obviously, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to give you their contact information. The center panel is the Profile Checklist which will show visitors what actions they have taken on the site. All listed items are hyperlinked to the appropriate pages. On the right is a volunteer signup form, which also allows visitors to take actions without ever clicking away from the home page.
As space on a website is limited, we don't want to waste it by asking a visitor to take an action they’ve already taken. We use Liquid programming to change the content based on what actions a visitor takes.
Looking at the image to the left, you can see that the email signup form now changes to a personal greeting as well as social sharing buttons which allow supporters to promote the site in their social stream.
You can also see that the Profile Checklist has changed based on the actions taken. The checklist encourages supporters to complete the actions on the list.
Because the Thanks for Volunteering is highlighted indicating the user has signed up to volunteer, that form is replaced with Recruit Friends. You can set these buttons to promote whatever page you want. Also, the links are automatically appended with a user's recruiter ID number so your campaign can track your most active supporters.
You should also notice the Facebook and Twitter excerpts. These are automatically pulled from the social media prompts of the three latest blog posts with links to those posts. This enables supporters to share your latest content without even having to visit the blog page. Like the Recruit Friends section above it, the links are appended with the user's recruiter ID number.
The button we haven't mentioned yet is Your Campaign HQ. It only appears once visitors sign up for email updates or take any action that logs them into the site. This is a personalized campaign portal for your campaign supporters. This is a hack of NationBuilder's native Profile Page so much of the information, (such as the headline and why users are supporting your campaign), can be edited by the user.
The Take Action column includes editable text where you can update messages to your supporters. Below that are four recruiting options with social sharing buttons.
Supporters can see the impact they are having on the campaign in the center column. This will hopefully motivate them to get more active to increase their numbers. Below that they will see the activity of the people they have recruited.
The right column contains a user's profile. If they set a fundraising goal, it will display there with a progress bar.
For all but the smallest campaigns, a campaign is never going to have actual one-on-one contact with a majority of voters. Voters may get a voicemail, find a flier on their door or see a digital ad.
If a potential voter or volunteer gets to your campaign website, you have to take every possible opportunity to engage with them and encourage them to promote your candidacy and campaign.
Success in politics comes down to developing personal relationships with supporters, volunteers, donors, and voters. Your website should be part of the toolkit that helps you do that.