OrangePoint (http://www.orangepoint.net), a service bureau that caters to candidates, schools and non-profit organizations, has prepared a list of robo calling best practices that is aimed at improving the performance and results of the technology. One of the reasons robo calling has become a staple in political campaigning is because it is the least expensive way to reach a list of targeted voters, much less costly than postage or media advertising. Candidates can tailor their voice messages and target them to specific groups. For example, one message can be sent to senior citizens in the district and another message can be sent directly to Generation Y (people born between 1970 and 2000.)
While there is a patchwork of individual state laws, political robo calls are generally considered legal as long as the candidate identifies him/herself and that contact information is provided. In places like California, a live person must ask a voter's permission to play a recording, and technology is available to do that.
"We've invested a lot of time and energy into developing a list of best practices that can help candidates and their calls to voters," said Patterson. "If candidates are looking to better their chances to use this technology effectively, they need to follow some rules." Detailed information can be found at OrangePoint's website and blogs here: http://www.orangepoint.net/
OrangePoint's list of robo calling best practices includes:
1) Time calls to reach voters in the middle of they day to increase your chances of leaving messages on answering machines or voicemail. The object is to leave as many calls as possible on voicemail so voters can listen to the message at their convenience, rather than having calls interrupt their dinner or personal evening time. Robo call should not be used indiscriminately as an "in your face" tactic, but should be used as a more subtle means to deliver messages.
2) Use it sparingly. Robo calls are a very powerful tool and if used too often can actually overkill your intentions and cause you to lose votes. Remember, other candidates may be using the technology as well and voters can be flooded and "turned off" to all the candidates if they are viewed as being intrusive or bothersome.
3) Keep your messages brief (less than 30 seconds) and focused. Your message should sound positive and not angry. However, in combating a last minute attack, candidates can firmly set the record straight.
4) Messages should come from a written script that should be practiced several times before recording. Be sure to introduce yourself and speak clearly and slowly, and naturally.
5) The use of testimonials and having someone else calling on behalf of the candidate can be very effective and sounds less self-serving.
6) Candidates want to thank voters and ask for support. For example, here is a sample script to be used the day before the election. "Hello, this is Jack Smith and I wanted to call and offer you my sincerest thanks for the support you've given me during the campaign. I ask for your vote tomorrow for state senate and look forward to working with you to lower taxes and improve services. Again, this is Jack Smith, extending to you my deepest appreciation."
7) Plan ahead. Most robo call projects are put off to the last minute and candidates and staffers end up scrambling to compile phone lists and message scripts. Rather than get caught up in hectic last minute confusion, it is much better to prepare lists and messages several days out.
"With a well planned and properly executed campaign, robo calls can be a valuable tool. But like anything else, it can also be overdone and counterproductive. With an experienced and reliable robo call service provider, candidates can give themselves every opportunity to help themselves to victory on election night," said Patterson. "That's our goal here at OrangePoint."
# # #
OrangePoint Communications provides enhanced business communications services, including phone broadcasting, online phone dialing, town hall teleconferencing, and computer faxing.