Promoting Positive Change with Digital Advocacy

By Sami Ghani, Hatcher Digital Director

Most organizations and political candidates realize that effective communication is critical to achieving their goals, whether it’s a perfectly crafted press release, television advertising, or holding a highly attended press conference. But while traditional communications advocacy has a long and established history, digital advocacy communications is still a new idea for many of us pushing to make the world a better place, and has revolutionized the advocacy landscape.

In the United States, digital advocacy surged in popularity with Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign by shifting millions of dollars in traditional outreach to a combined web-based, community-building, email marketing, and social media strategy. This shift helped balloon the grassroots campaign to a top contender and eventual winner.

Over the last 13 years, digital advocacy has expanded, with nearly every politician, candidate, and advocacy organization having an online presence. But having that presence isn’t enough. It takes a winning strategy to fight through the noise of billions of other digital content offerings to reach key audiences and drive action.

An effective digital advocacy campaign involves empowering and encouraging people to move up the ladder of engagement by informing them of an action, making them passionate about it, and inspiring them to act, whether that’s volunteering, contacting their legislator, and/or donating.

Digital advocacy is proving to be more cost-effective, better responsive than traditional outreach, and essential for communicating to audiences in 2021 and beyond. We spend our lives online like never before, which is why we’ve made reaching people digitally a priority at The Hatcher Group.

Hatcher’s Expertise

Hatcher uses organic social media content production, email marketing, and advertising to drive engagement and connect organizations with their audiences — meeting people where they are with messages that matter.

We’re experts in helping our clients succeed using various ad tactics, such as:

  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  • Programmatic Display and Video
  • Google Search
  • Dynamic video, OTT, CTV
  • Streaming Audio

We also help clients across their email marketing with:

  • List growth.
  • Small-dollar fundraising.
  • Subscriber engagement/petitions.

With the 2022 election on the horizon, more organizations will look to digital strategies to help them communicate effectively and efficiently within a crowded field. The Hatcher digital team has experience helping candidates succeed on a variety of platforms, including the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, 1199SEIU Maryland/DC, and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, to name a few.

Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

We’ve supported the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative across several digital campaigns, thanking legislators for supporting key bills, sharing stories of health care issues, and pressuring hesitant lawmakers to change their stance.

Our work included Facebook traffic and lead generation ads, as well as programmatic display awareness ads, targeted statewide and within specific legislative districts. Our approach involved hyperlocal audience targeting and A/B image and message testing. The campaigns were incredibly successful, outpacing industry benchmarks:

  • Average cost-per-lead of $2.88.
  • Average cost-per-click of $0.42.

1199SEIU Maryland/DC

We’ve proudly worked with the 1199SEIU Maryland/DC division on a variety of digital advocacy campaigns, including pushing against legislation to increase the D.C. and Maryland minimum wages to $15/hour.

Our team created content and digital graphics to use on Facebook and Instagram, targeting key communities across D.C. and Maryland and achieving the following metrics:

  • Ads viewed more than 260,000 times.
  • Average low cost-per-click of $0.19.

We’re honored to have contributed to the community organizing, audience awareness, and digital advocacy 1199SEIU sought, and we’re proud of the legislative victories it achieved, such as a $15/hour minimum wage in Washington, D.C.

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

In 2019, Hatcher assisted the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) with its digital communications plan for the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). We created new imagery for sponsored and organic social media to drive traffic to LCV’s website, encouraged users to sign up for emails, and increased awareness about the key legislation.

The legislation was successfully passed in April 2019, helping to move Maryland toward a 100% renewable energy future. The five campaigns:

  • Reached more than 122,000 people.
  • Earned an average low cost-per-click of $0.33.

The Future

When the 2008 Obama campaign invested in digital infrastructure 13 years ago, many vocalized that they thought it was a bad idea, wasting money on a trend that would die out. Today, that campaign’s vision has paved the way for digital advocacy across the country.

We’re proud to partner with people who share our passion for making the world a better place. Helping communicate that message through our digital work is a key takeaway for Hatcher. We’ve recently added robust digital fundraising capabilities to our digital advocacy toolkit, forming a fully in-house solution. As organizations realize they need to allocate more resources to digital advocacy, we’re here to help them achieve their goals and spread their messages of progress.