VoteRunLead is a New York City-based national organization dedicated to filling the political pipeline with diverse women through technology, training, and community that launched September 2014. Even though women are 51% of the population in the United States, women hold less than 20% of elected offices, with many states going in reverse. At the current rate of electing women, it will take approximately 105 years to reach gender parity. VoteRunLead seeks to hurry history and change this ratio.
The Project + The Challenge
I was hired as the Director of Digital and Marketing to bring the organization to launch in addition to tasked with overseeing the strategy and success of all marketing operations, the brand, community, automation, and service products. Although VoteRunLead had a team of expert trainers and political wonks who were uniquely invested in the success of the women they trained offline, there was no digital community or awareness of VoteRunLead as an entity online. After launch, VoteRunLead needed to be positioned as a major player not only in the women’s leadership space but also in the newly-emerging civic tech space. They needed to garner more traffic, convert site visitors to members, and have tools for precisely measuring Return on Investment (ROI).
- Develop accessible programs that meet the community where they are online, speaks to what they care about, and drives them to the funnel in a meaningful way.
- Create a community of sustainable brand ambassadors who derive real value from VoteRunlead with authentic voices and an eagerness to share their own story with others.
Projects & Tactics
As with any project, a thorough Discovery is the first step in developing a meaningful relationship with impact. Since VoteRunLead was a startup nonprofit without a year-over-year baseline, every single piece of the marketing discovery process had to be delivered for the very first time. The discovery was often revisited as new data became available and baselines were established.
- Deep competitor analysis to identify key players, their weaknesses, and strengths. This understanding led to VoteRunLead quickly rocketing to the top of the Women’s Political Leadership space within a one-year period with formerly “more established” organizations looking to VoteRunLead as the leader.
- “Buyer” personas and action plans to target and convert these specific user models to increase targeted site traffic and leads. These personas and crafting their accompanying campaign funnels was a key ingredient to social platform recommendations, creating content assets that resonated with the community and driving conversions.
- Marketing strategy roadmap was created that outlined company goals, values, marketing objectives, projects, tactics, and forecasting for 2015 and 2016.
- A content marketing strategy, calendar, and distribution plan were developed to boost organic search and establish VoteRunLead as an authority in the women’s political leadership space. In addition to building a new blog from the ground up, processes were put in place for content creation, distribution, and performance tracking. I worked side-by-side with experts and influencers to collaborate on relevant content topics to produce highly shareable and read-worthy posts. Keyword glossaries were created and SEO, SEM, and PPC plans were put in place.
- Marketing & IT Stack Analysis meant understanding the site visitor path, working with and overseeing the existing IT and PR partner, and conducting an internal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and action plan.
Results by the Numbers
- Established a strategic content plan that organically grew the email list from 0 to over 23,000 deeply-engaged subscribers
- VoteRunLead acquired 9,581 likes reaching 1,067,399 people with 33,597 who were talking about VoteRunLead through 1,947 shared pieces of content (pictures, posts, videos).
- Across all social networks, 49,8969 stories were created by 43,221 unique users.
- Traffic to the website was driven primarily by social media and email which drove 111,733 pageviews by 29,134 unique users.
- Launched, advertised, and facilitated 50 yearlong weekly webinar training series that served over 2,000 participants.
- Initiated lead generation and nurturing campaigns that attracted new members, corporate partnerships, and donors.
- Aggressive SEO + SEM initiatives resulting in over 1,200 daily visits to the site.
- Managed and nurtured the largest online database of politically viable women in the country.
- Created ebooks based on existing content to act as lead magnets to entice those who had considered joining the VoteRunLead community into full-fledged members who participate in community and advocacy.
- The Campaign Plan Overview: A 3-Part Campaign Plan Workbook [asset remains, magnet retired]
- What Do Local Elected Offices Do? The Big 4 Offices of Local Government [asset remains, magnet retired]
- Oversaw and collaborated with technical consult team, PR firm, and other offsite consultants.
- Recruited and hired team members and volunteers.
- Trained over 200 attendees at national in-person conferences on how to use digital media professionally.
- Directed and implemented long-term digital strategies across email, website, and social networks.
- Developed pitch decks in collaboration with Founder resulting in $1M in corporate investors and sponsorships.
- Secured $120,000 from Google to fund $10,000 monthly PPC spend with Google AdWords.
Lead Magnet Ebook
The above 59-page ebook rounds up four of the most popular web clinics from 2015. After fundraising, the most frequent question asked at VoteRunLead is about the elected office(s) itself. “The Big 4: The Ins and Outs of Local Government,” breaks down the roles and responsibilities of City Councils, County Offices, State Legislatures, and School Boards with a dynamic and diverse group of women holding these positions right now.
Weekly Web Series
VRL Live! is a virtual coaching series for women served up as free as web clinics. Launched in September 2014 with a strategic launch in 2015, the VRL Live! curriculum is meant to extend the proven in-person training programs to rapidly reach impact at scale. In addition to offering skills training and campaigning education, it also includes candid conversations with women who are currently political and civic leaders and allows participants to work with VoteRunLead alumni. After launching this flagship product, I facilitated over 50 web clinics that served over 2,000 participants.
National Women's Leadership Conference
National Go Run 2015 was VoteRunLead's world-class women's civic leadership conference for women who want to make a difference in the world by speaking truth to power, acting on their leadership, getting inspired, and gearing up to run for political office. A combination of overseeing the PR team and directing the advertising strategy, over 200 women participated in over a dozen workshops and presentations about fundraising, voter registration, how to run for office, building power, fundraising, local leadership opportunities, networking, communications, and civic technology.
Lead Magnet Micro Campaign (Turned Continuing Product)
VoteRunLead's Invitation Nation tool motivated over 1,300 people to ask a woman they know to run for political office. That's okay, but not great. We knew we could do better. Invitation Nation was relaunched at the end of 2015 through the campaign #FillTheRoom. My strategic design, positioning, and distribution plans resulted in over 1,000 accepted "nominations" which blew the original goal out of the water by 200%. These were women who were invited by someone in their lives to learn how to level up her leadership using VRL tools.