It’s your favorite Mad Scientist back with another guest post that totally isn’t a newsjack 😉
Before we get into the political marketing lessons, let me assure you this is not a “political post” per se, but rather the same kind of high quality marketing education you’d normally expect from this blog.
You ready? Let’s go!
The conversation around who America’s next president will be fully dominates mainstream US media these days, and is garnering plenty of attention worldwide as well.
Even small local news stations are bound to mention it in some form or fashion. While the choice hasn’t been made by the people yet, there are some political marketing lessons emerging from which we can extract very important insghts.
Especially since we’re all probably gearing up for some holiday campaigns, right?
#1 It’s the offer, voter!
At the end of the day, Americans are going to make individual choices of who they think can lead the country best. As far as what a candidate offers, the person voting for them resonates with their message the most out of the available choices. In other words, when we step into the head of a voter, if the problem is “I need a leader for America” then the solution is candidate X because they offer Y. And that sounds the best to me personally as the voter.
Chances are the problem you help solve for people has competition. Other businesses are out there solving the same problem. Sometimes better than you, sometimes worse. What causes people to “vote” for you (you’ll see more about this later in #3) is what you are offering, and how you are offering it. Specifically, it’s the positioning of what you are offering to the audience you are targeting. McDonalds sells hamburgers to both children and adults.
Do you think they would talk to those two audiences about the same offer in the exact same way?
(Pssst, the answer is ‘No’)
If you haven’t lately, there may be some benefit to sitting down and getting really clear on the 1 or 2 ideal customers you have (you can define your avatar here). Then, look at what you offer and how you can talk about it to those customers in a manner that positions it in the most appealing way.
You may notice that political candidates often emphasize different aspects of their plans and policies depending on the audience they’re addressing, the current issues having around the world, and even the specific geographical region they’re speaking to.
Re-doing your offer’s positioning and using what you discover in your marketing can often help get better results from your efforts; unless the offer itself is truly bad.
#2 Email is still a relevant channel
In past elections, I’ve signed up for the mailing lists of the major candidates to see what they’ve been doing.
Lately, I don’t have the time to study those like in the past, but you know that candidates are still sending email because it still works. It’s still relevant. Remember, email is literally the electronic version of physical mail. That will be relevant for a long time. At least, until we get t-mail or something and stuff gets transmitted into our thoughts.
Email as a communication channel is great because you can get personalized messaging just like with a physical letter. We must always remember this when writing emails no matter how many people will see it. It should feel like it was written for the reader and only them.
Relevant doesn’t mean positive ROI though. You can still send a bunch of emails that nobody cares about. To avoid this, make sure you are considering the entire customer experience up to that email and what will occur after that email. Here’s a blog post Greg wrote a while back where he highlights a key distinction most people miss regarding email permission.
Oh, and make sure you are also tracking the important stuff too. A high open rate feels good to your ego, but if all those opens generated zero clicks, what did that actually do for your business?
More importantly, what did it do to the relationship of your business to that individual? It certainly didn’t help.
#3 People “vote” with their dollars
Imagine if you will, for a moment, two businesses. Business A and Business B. They both offer the same product. Literally, they both source it from the same manufacturer. Who gets your business?
The one you like better.
Any election is ultimately about individuals putting down which candidate they like better for the position in question.
In the world of business, a dollar is like a vote. When you buy food from your normal place, you are “voting” for that place to stay around. When you go to your favorite restaurant, you are “voting” for them to keep doing what they’re doing. This is the reason we feel good about patronizing local shops, and farmers markets; we can interact directly with the people we’re giving our vote too.
It is good to remember that while you are doing your business thing, people also still need to like you. For some industries you cannot be in business if people don’t like you. Other times it doesn’t much matter as long as the job gets done.
For those kinds of situations, take an objective look around and see if there are small (like really small) tweaks you can make to improve your like-ability. Adjust your live phone greeting to be more friendly. Iterate a couple subject lines. Invest in a simple thank you letter in the mail.
The point is, the more they like you, the better the chances they will “vote” for you in the future.
(If you want to dig into why its important for people to like you, check out Cialdini’s book ‘Influence‘. There is a whole chapter on it and the rest of the book is a goldmine for small business owners.)
What do you think? Did any of these political marketing lessons resonate with you? If so, please “vote” by leaving a comment!
Editor’s Note: Paul is a former Infusionsoft Employee, on the Monkeypod OG Expert panel, and is generally well respected member of the Infusionsoft ecosystem. He is responsible for the design of most of the campaigns in the Infusionsoft Marketplace, and is also the author of The Infusionsoft Cookbook. If you’d like to receive content directly from Paul, you can do that by signing up here.