Maria Elvira Salazar is a mother of two, a Harvard graduate, an award-winning journalist, and now the Congresswoman of Florida’s 27th’s district. Maria is a first generation American, daughter to Cuban parents who fled Castro’s Cuba. Their stories taught her the importance of freedom and the American Dream, and how destructive socialism had been for those in her community. This message was the cornerstone of her campaign.
Maria began her political career as a candidate for Florida’s 27th district during the 2018 Midterms after Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen vacated the seat. She narrowly lost her race, but Maria returned in 2020 as the Republican challenger in a rematch against Donna Shalala. Her campaign partnered with IMGE to create an omni-channel program that included email marketing, digital advertising, and online fundraising.
How we did it
The secret to our acquisition program? Maria’s unique voice.
Rather than parroting typical talking points, we focused on her personal story of living out the American Dream and her experiences with the dangers of socialism. Her message deeply resonated with conservative and Republican audiences; our goal was to ensure that message was the focal point when reaching out to new audiences.
One of the key ways we told her story was also one of our most successful email campaigns: a long-form biographical email. The in-depth narrative helped introduce Maria to new subscribers and images kept the audience engaged as they read the content. The mounting sense of urgency we wove through the copy helped us convert those readers into donors.
Face-to-camera videos were one of the central elements of our content strategy. Drawing on her background as a journalist, we played to the candidate’s strengths by writing multiple scripts for her to film. These videos were used in direct donate ads, email acquisition, and email fundraising. Face-to-camera videos proved to be some of the most successful campaigns over the cycle because they allowed Maria to speak directly to her audience.
Our team executed a sophisticated bilingual digital advertising strategy that kept her key message front and center. She ran persuasion ads hammering her opponent for supporting socialist policies and failing to condemn far-left Democrats in Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the ‘Squad.’
We also invested heavily in digital advertising for Maria’s GOTV effort. We ran a series of ads to Miami audiences that encouraged voters to register to vote, request their ballots, and find their election day and early voting polling locations. We ran English and Spanish versions of each ad to make sure we reached voters in every language in Maria's district in South Florida.
As a result of these strategies, we grew her original house file of 8,800 subscribers into a list of 50,000 highly engaged donors and subscribers in less than a year.
WE GOT RESULTS
In less than a year, Maria grew her subscribers by 381%. That growth helped her raise over $1.7 million in online donations this cycle, which proved crucial to defeating her well-financed Democrat opponent.
What we learned
You need authentic and passionate narratives to resonate with your audience. Then you need to strategically share that narrative across multiple digital channels to grow that audience. And if you really want to connect with a new audience - be sure you’re speaking their language.