Does Phone Banking Still Work? The Answer Isn’t So Clear

In today’s digital-first society, political strategies often revolve around internet-based mediums like websites and social media platforms as integral parts of campaign success. Be that as it may, the rise of these digital channels has not made traditional techniques obsolete; in fact, many campaigning techniques, including phone banking, still have plenty of merit.

Therefore, before you retire your phone banking strategy or toss your old calling lists in the trash, we invite you to join us as we explore the good and bad of the decades-old technique. It might just be able to give your next campaign that extra boost you’ve been looking for. 

What is Phone Banking?

Phone banking is the act of reaching out to voters via phone as a way of getting out the vote or canvassing specific neighborhoods. Though you can conduct phone banking using a commercial service provider or call center software, you’ll typically have a group of volunteers reach out to voters over the phone, given the fact that a volunteer-driven approach is the most economical. 

In any case, phone banking checks all the boxes from a connection standpoint, enabling you to do the following:

  • Reach out to voters
  • Let them know who you are
  • Share your values and mission
  • Educate constituents on the importance of voting
  • Encourage people to support your candidate

As such, it has been a staple of municipal, state, and federal elections for decades. That being said, especially in 2024, the million-dollar question lies in knowing whether the labor-intensive strategy can still yield a viable return. 

The Benefits of Phone Banking

Though the answer to the previous question isn’t necessarily clear, there are still some undeniable benefits that you can glean from phone banking, including the following:

Personal Connections

One of the core strengths of phone banking lies in its personal touch. While social media and email campaigns allow you to reach wide audiences quickly, they lack the personal connection that a phone call can provide, which allows for two-way communication and the opportunity to address individual concerns and questions. 

Establishing that personal connection can prove particularly effective when reaching out to voters of older demographics who may be less active online and prefer more traditional forms of communication. 

Real-Time Feedback and Engagement

Another major perk that comes with phone banking is immediate feedback. Your volunteers can gauge voter sentiment, gather opinions, and understand community issues in real-time, and that immediate feedback loop will empower your decision-making processes, enabling you to adjust campaign strategies and refine messages. 

From a voter’s perspective, they will enjoy having the opportunity to ask questions and be heard, opportunities they almost never receive when engaging with campaigns over social media or email. 

Targeted Reach

Through phone banking, your campaign can target specific demographics with extreme precision. Before launching your phone banking initiative, segment voter lists based on factors like age, location, voting history, and other demographic variables. Then, work with your call team to tailor the message for each group. 

While segmenting your lists and then crafting separate messaging for each demographic takes time, it is an incredibly fruitful endeavor, as your team can maximize its impact with each voter segment and avoid relying on blanket messages. 

3 Challenges of Phone Banking in 2024 (and How to Solve Them)

Of course, as technology continues to evolve and people’s outlooks change, phone banking is not without its challenges, which include the following: 

Public Hesitancy

The biggest hurdle you’ll face through phone banking is getting voters to even take your call in the first place. According to a 2022 survey, 75% of Americans “will never” answer a call from an unknown number, with robocalls and endless streams of call-based spam being the likely reason behind that steadfast refusal. Regardless of the cause, convincing someone to pick up the phone these days can be an uphill battle.

Fortunately, investing in software that brands your calls is a great way of avoiding the robocall conundrum. When your campaign calls a constituent, your chosen brand or campaign name will be displayed on the caller ID. By allowing constituents to identify the source of the call, you can offset hesitancy and increase your odds of getting voters on the phone. 

A Lack of Integration With Digital Channels

Artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, and automation technologies have forever changed campaigning — AI chatbots, in particular, represent a great addition to your campaign strategy — but simply having these tools in your arsenal is not enough. You must ensure that your phone banking strategy is integrated with your chatbots and other digital channels. 

Once you’ve integrated your phone banking tools with your digital channels, you’ll create a two-way superhighway of voter information. You can use chatbots and social media platforms to gather contact information for phone banking; conversely, you’ll be able to use insights from phone calls to guide and optimize social campaigns. 

Unclear Success Markers

Knowing what counts as a win for phone banking is something that depends largely on the scope and goals of your campaign. While measuring the effectiveness of phone banking can be tough, it’s essential for understanding the impact and reach of your efforts.

Start with basic metrics like the number of calls made, the duration of those conversations, and the percentage of calls that were answered. From there, you can shift your focus to more granular metrics, like conversion rates of calls; for instance, if one out of 20 constituents makes a donation, then your conversion rate is 5%. 

Get More Out of Your Phone Banking Campaign With Aristotle 

The success of your phone banking campaign hinges on the quality of data you use and the sophistication of your management technologies, and Aristotle can help you ensure both are as high as can be. 

As a leader in political data, Aristotle provides you with access to millions of voter, consumer, and monthly mover files designed to inform your campaign targeting efforts. Schedule a demo today to learn more.

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