August 14, 2017

The Ten Commandments of Digital Marketing in Political Campaigns

Most of us already know a thing or two about online advertising. We have witnessed one of the best online advertising campaigns from international brands and we’ve been following smaller companies doing their thing and coming up with bright ideas when it comes to communicating with their audiences. And in the past two or three years, we have also seen digital marketing slowly, but surely making its way into the world of political campaigns.

The rise of the Internet turned politics into an almost whole new area of activity, one where classical advertising concepts such as “B2C” (Business to Customers) or “B2B” (Business to Business) communication were transformed into what many may call today “H2H”. Human to human communication. Because voters have a lot to learn from their politicians and it is time politicians understand that they, too, have even more to learn from their voters. Likewise, digital marketers have a lot to learn from political campaigners and vice versa.

Unlike many other industries, politics are more competitive than most domains out there. Having 30% market share sounds amazing for a company. In politics, 30% of the votes won’t make you a winner. So in order to obtain political victory, one needs to keep some things in mind before jumping into a campaign.

First of all, we need to understand that digital marketing and politics both want the same thing: convince people to do something. Convince them to buy a product. Convince them to vote for you. And convincing them takes effort and time, of course. So before political campaigners, digital marketers and even political candidates start creating their strategies, here are The Ten Commandments of Digital Marketing and Politics from our Online Marketing Department at Majoritas!

1. Create a community of people around the candidate!
Listen to those people (your potential voters, that is) and include their needs and wants into your strategy.

2. Always integrate online marketing campaigns in the political strategy of your campaign!
And vice versa, never start campaigning on the Internet if there is no strategy, both digital and political.

3. Be consistent when it comes to the messages that you are sending!
And consistency goes hand in hand with a well-built strategy that is not only goal-oriented, but also viable and flexible enough to be constantly optimized.

4. Be visual and be bold! 
You don’t need to be an expert to know that visual communication is the most appealing for Internet users. And it goes the same for voters and political campaigns, too. Digital marketers know what works and what doesn’t work in the online environment, whereas political campaigners know what types of emotions spark voters’ reactions. A short and powerful text will do wonders. Pair it with the right picture or the right banner and you will go beyond “a thousand words”.

5. Set clear objectives for your online campaigns, as well as relevant KPIs!
Key Performance Indicators, baby! Use them all the time. Generate weekly campaign reports and constantly analyze them in order to optimize your campaigns and overall strategy. Constant analysis is a must in political campaigns which are usually much more volatile than commercial ones.

6. Thou shalt always perform A/B testing!
Thou shalt really do, seriously. Test everything: different types of targets, messages, visual content, budgets, everything. You will not regret it.

7. Do not ghost your voters!
By now, we are all probably familiar with the term “ghosting”. When you engage in any kind of conversation or relationship with someone and then you simply disappear without a word or notice. Don’t do that to your voters. Don’t just target and engage them with an ad or a certain topic and ignore them afterwards. Building a digital relationship is what helps you convert people into voters.

8. Redefine the term “conversion”!
If digital marketers usually use a “funnel” type of concept to describe the total conversion of a mere user into a loyal customer, well “funnels” do not really work like that in politics. Converting a simple supporter or Internet user into a sure voter can sometimes be a roller coaster, but with a connected campaign team and the right strategy, sky is the limit!

9. Keep your political allies close and your opponents closer! 
Yes, that’s right. The well-known proverb “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is available in political campaigns, too. In other words, keep an eye on your opponents. Monitor their steps and see what they are doing on social media, on their platforms and try to always be one step ahead of the game. There are plenty of online monitoring tools that digital marketers use these days. Our online marketing team, for example, uses one of our platforms – Majoritas Social Room – especially designed for campaigners to monitor opponents and their overall social media performance.

10. Never stop learning!
Yes, you might be a guru of digital marketing. And your political campaign manager might also be one. The entire team of a political candidate might be digital-savvy. It does not matter, you should never stop learning. The intersection between digital marketing and politics gives us an immense space for experimenting and evolution, when it comes to political communication, so stay ready to learn new things and be on the lookout for new solutions in the World Wide Web.