If you want to stay in office, then you are going to need to get some names.

So what’s in a name? It turns out that there is a lot in a name if it is the name of a potential voter who just might be willing to vote to keep you in office. However, all too often elected officials don’t take the time to remember the name of a person that they are talking with. What this means is that it’s going to be very hard to follow-up with them. There has got to be a better way…

Why Names Are So Very Important

What a lot of people, including elected officials, don’t always understand is that in any language the sweetest sound that any of us can hear is our own name. What this means is that as an elected official, you need to always be collecting names and email addresses. The bigger your mailing list, the better you’ll be able to stay in touch with the voters who put you in office.

One of the biggest challenges that an elected official faces comes from the simple fact that he or she won’t be there every time one of their voters shows up. A great example of this is the official website that the elected official’s staff maintains for him or her. If someone cares enough to seek out the elected official’s website to find out more about the official or about a particular issue, then this is clearly a person who cares about a given topic.

With most websites today, it can be enough of a challenge to create the content that is going to attract visitors in the first place. Creating the content, putting the content on the website, and then updating the website’s navigation tools so that the new content can be found are all very important and time consuming tasks. This is the point in time that most official websites drop the ball. They think that just getting the information into the hands of the voters is enough.

It turns out that this is really only part of the solution. The reason that you go to all of the effort to create all of that great content is so that you can attract visitors to your website. You want to find out who these visitors are. Clearly they care enough to be doing some research and so you want to make sure that their questions are being answered. The only way that you are going to be able to make sure that this happens is if you can take the time to collect the information that you are going to need in order to get in touch with them.

How Your Website Can Help You To Remember Names

If we can all agree that names (and email addresses) are what are really important, then it would certainly behoove us to find ways to collect as many of these as is possible. I’m pretty sure that elected officials do a pretty good job of this when they are meeting people in person; however, where they probably need some help is in getting their official websites to lend them a helping hand.

The first thing that every elected official needs to realize is that when someone visits their website, they are going to have to be convinced to provide their name and email address. You really can’t force them to do this. Some websites try to splash a big signup banner on the screen when a visitor first arrives. This rarely works -- you have not provided them with any valuable information as of yet. The one thing that you don’t want to have happen is to ask a visitor for their contact information and then have them turn you down.

If your official website has been created using GSL Solution’s HillTop service, collecting contact information from visitors can be very easy to do. HillTop supports a “form” feature that you can use to create a customized form that will allow visitors to your website to enter their name and email contact information. You have the ability to control where and when the form is displayed. Once you create the form, it can then easily be used in multiple places on your website.

What All Of This Means For You

Elected officials need to understand that the people that they interact with always want to be addressed using their names. In order to be able to do this, elected officials and their staff have to be diligent in collecting names. This can be fairly straightforward to do when meeting people face to face; however, when they visit your official website it might be a bit harder to do.

Many website designs make it difficult to collect user information from visitors. They try to put up splash screens when users first arrive at a site, but often these are ignored and not filled out because the site has yet to provide the user with any valuable information. Websites that have been created using GSL Solutions HillTop service provide the ability to create forms that can be used to collect user information. Once a form has been created, the same form can be used in multiple places on the website.

Once a good communication channel has been established between an elected official and the voters, their wants and needs can be easily communicated. This is critical information. The better an elected official understands what his constituents want him or her to do, the more successful they will be.

- Dr. Jim Anderson HillTop – Political Web Sites That Get The Vote!™

Question For You: Do you think that it would be possible to use too many forms on a website?

GSL Solutions' HillTop service provides politicians with a way to get voters more involved with the political process. HillTop has been designed by politicians, for politicians in order to provide easy-to-use tools that make updating a political website with current and topical information easy to do. The website becomes a powerful communication tool between the politician and the voters. More information can be found at: www.HillTopCMS.com.

Tags: name, email address, form, collect, track, contact, follow-up, political web site, campaign, voters, reelected, issues