30 Under 30 Web Choice Winner Shares Strategy

What does it take to motivate your sphere for a prolonged get-out-the-vote campaign? Ray Lord reveals how he pulled off an impressive win.

When Ray Lord learned he was one of the 50 finalists for this year’s 30 Under 30 class, he went into problem-solving mode. Lord, a team leader with Douglas Elliman Real Estate in East Hampton, N.Y., knew that if he could win the Web Choice Award, he’d be guaranteed a spot in the coveted REALTOR® Magazine program that highlights rising stars in the industry. But how could he convince the people in his sphere of influence to come back and vote for him day after day for an entire week without sounding like a broken record?

Lord employed the strategic tactics that he uses in his real estate business every day. Because he and his team use videos in their efforts to promote the lifestyle associated with owning property in the luxury communities of the Hamptons, multimedia outreach was a natural choice. But Lord also knew differentiation and targeting would be an important part of the approach. So he created four versions of his get-out-the-vote video to speak directly to a variety of audiences online: one for his alma mater, one for his Douglas Elliman colleagues, one for his supporters in the LGBT community, and a general option for contacts that don’t fit into the first three categories. “We live in a very diverse world and you can’t be posting the same stuff every day,” Lord says.  He and his team composed an array of emails and social media posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share the video and remind audiences about the vote each day.

But repetition wasn’t Lord’s only potential pitfall in his effort to win the Web Choice Award. He had to make the most of his—and his supporters’—time. Because individuals are prohibited from voting more than once per IP address in a 24-hour period, Lord realized he “had to bother someone the next day at the same time or later,” so they wouldn’t get a message that they’d voted too many times in one day. He started making note of when he’d asked for votes the previous day, then making sure the subsequent ask took place an hour later the next day.

Another problem cropped up in terms of user experience. Lord realized he was asking supporters to click through too many pages to get to the voting button, so he figured out the URL to his particular vote button and created a custom shortened link he could send out instead. “If there’s anything I’ve learned in this business, you have to make the path of least resistance,” he says, noting that the custom link has the added benefit of being trackable, so he could analyze how much traffic his efforts were garnering. “My team is big into statistics, and I like numbers.”

The final element of Lord’s strategy was simply teamwork. As a real estate pro who didn’t grow up in the area where he now works and with zero family ties in the industry, Lord understands the power of a referral in a deep way. He knew his team had contacts that he didn’t have access to, so he asked everyone, from the interns on his team to his business partner, to ask their own contacts to vote. “If someone else is advocating for you, the other person is more likely to do it,” he says. “It was definitely a group effort.”

It all paid off in the end, with Lord walking away with the top spot and 3,144 votes.

Lord says the experience offered him insight into his outreach strategy and a to-do list for the spring. The process of sorting through his contacts helped him realize he has quite a few email addresses that aren’t in a formal communication management system, but that nonetheless belong to people he should be making an effort to reach out to. “It’s definitely one of those things we’re all guilty of,” he says. Lord plans to spend the next few weeks organizing his digital address book. “I need to pay more attention to past contacts and reach out to them.”