How a NationBuilder Website Powered a Movement in Canada
With a dynamic, social media-friendly candidate and a nation ready for change, Pierre Poilievre’s campaign team knew that his bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada would be more of a movement than a campaign.
That’s why they decided at the campaign’s outset that they were going to anchor its digital infrastructure with NationBuilder.
Shortly after that, I was contacted by Pierre’s partners at Mash Strategy about helping with the design, development, and launch of a NationBuilder custom theme that had the power and flexibility to support a national movement. The site officially went live in late March.
Just over two months later, Pierre’s team announced record-breaking Conservative memberships sales in his bid for party leadership, and in September 2022 he officially became Leader of the Conservative Party with the support of 68.15% of voters.
This is the story of how his NationBuilder custom theme helped him outperform everyone in Canadian history.
Fully Bilingual Website Design
With both English and French-speaking populations, Canada is a fully bilingual nation. Any political candidate who hopes to lead a national campaign in Canada must give both languages the respect they are due.
So when we designed Pierre’s NationBuilder custom theme, I ensured equal treatment for both English and French throughout the website.
Fully translating the templates was made more accessible by basing the design on NationBuilder’s Momentum theme framework, which is fully internationalized. And where it was necessary to add additional text that would be hard-coded into the theme, I also made sure to internationalize those new bits.
When the campaign officially published the site, it launched as twin web pages — one in English and another in French. Both were fully featured and complete websites running on a single codebase, making ongoing maintenance and support simpler.
A Well-Defined Engagement Ladder
Pierre’s campaign was understandably hyper-focused on its core success metric: the number of party memberships sold. That’s why every action page on the site was designed to funnel new supporters toward purchasing a paid membership from Day One.
By chaining NationBuilder pages together, Pierre’s team could create a seamless flow up the ladder of engagement from interest to action to membership.
- The Splash Page appeared as a modal or popover window to first-time visitors to the site, immediately urging them to sign up as paid party members so that they could vote for Pierre in the leadership race.
- The Signup Form automatically redirected new supporters to the membership page to urge them to verify their membership so they could vote for Pierre.
- A Direct Link to Memberships was featured prominently on the top of every page for the duration of the membership sign-up phase.
These relevant, respectful “asks” were well-timed to motivate supporters to become members — and Pierre’s record-setting performance speaks for itself.
Multi-Modal Supporter Acquisition
Pierre’s campaign fully leveraged NationBuilder’s array of action pages to give supporters various ways to join the movement.
This multi-modal supporter acquisition strategy helped Pierre engage a record number of supporters.
The Homepage Signup Form
For most website visitors, the first opportunity to sign up for the campaign was on the homepage’s signup form.
For this form, I intentionally limited the number of fields just to email and postal code to maximize conversion rates. The goal here is to encourage as many sign-ups as possible.
NationBuilder petition pages allow supporters to add their names to support a specific campaign, cause, or action.
When Pierre’s websites launched, their homepages included four featured petitions like the one pictured below.
These petition pages allowed prospective voters to register their support for a part of Pierre’s platform rather than for Pierre himself — the first step into the more significant movement.
Event RSVP Pages
NationBuilder event pages allow supporters to RSVP for a specific virtual or offline event.
Pierre made excellent use of event pages as he crisscrossed the nation and held offline campaign events and rallies with his supporters.
Event pages are an excellent way to collect contact information from supporters who may not otherwise have engaged with the campaign online.
Converting Supporters to Members Via Email
Once supporters signed up through Pierre’s websites, their information was instantly and automatically added to his NationBuilder database.
From there, Pierre’s team was empowered to craft an email marketing strategy to move those supporters further up the ladder of engagement towards the ultimate goal of purchasing a paid membership.
This 1:1 integration between the campaign’s website and email program reduced the time and friction involved in organizing and mobilizing supporters, making it possible for Pierre’s team to move faster and with greater precision than others with less powerful tools.
By leveraging NationBuilder’s software platform, Pierre’s team could maximize opportunities for their dynamic, social media-friendly candidate to connect with a nation ready for change.
Pierre’s campaign team knew that his bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada would be more of a movement than a campaign, and they built a digital strategy to support that reality.
I’m happy to have had the opportunity to help support his team by designing & developing his NationBuilder custom theme. I am proud that his leadership campaign successfully secured a first-ballot victory in his campaign for leader of the Conservative Party with 68.15% of the vote.