What the 2012 US Presidential Elections Can Teach Us About Online Marketing

What the 2012 US Presidential Elections Can Teach Us About Online Marketing

The lead up to the US presidential elections is an exciting time for online marketers. We watch the sheer intensity of each presidential candidates’ campaign and marvel at the carnage. And of course, we also look at what these campaigns are doing that could be applied to our own industries.

With the campaigning over for another four years, here are some of my key takeaways for what the 2012 US presidential elections can teach us about doing business online.

Your Links Can Hurt You!

No, I’m not talking about negative SEO or spammy backlinks. But websites that your website links out to. Your outbound link profile is just as important as your inbound in some respects, especially when it comes to trust. Who you link out to is a reflection of what your brand or business represents. In the context of the elections, unsavoury remarks lost the Republican Party the seat of Missouri, despite an initial lead.

No such thing as ‘set and forget’

The presidential candidates just don’t have one interview and think that’s enough to get them cast over the line. To win they need to be at their best at all times – travelling all over the nation, delivering a consistent strategy across a broad range of media. They know that one tactic alone isn’t going to work. They run multiple campaigns at once, always with the one focus in mind. The same can be said with interrelated online channels such as social media marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing and so on. They all need constant effort and application to be successful.

First Impressions Matter

If you weren’t clued into the 2008 elections, Obama’s campaign was pure marketing genius. Obama was the first presidential candidate who truly knew that online mattered. Employing Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, Obama raised nearly 90% of his campaign funds through social media and online marketing techniques. In 2012, his online marketing team have also done well with conversion rate optimised landing pages. Study the image below:

Notice the meme type language aimed at the Redditor audience? Pro-active submit button? The way Obama’s line of sight draws you to look and fill out the form? Yeah, you know he knows what he’s doing with his marketing!

The same principles apply to online marketing. It’s not enough to be present – you need to impress your audience. Work on resonating with your audience’s values so they trust you enough to convert.

Try to Win Over Your Competitor’s Audience

Sure you can focus your online marketing efforts on existing audiences, but there is more to gain from increasing your database of customers. Both presidential candidates were aware of this – travelling and debating in hotly contested states to win over disgruntled voters fed up with their party, just waiting for someone to show them an alternative. Find your competitors’ business weaknesses and use those ‘pain points’ in your campaigns and share how you can make everything better for them. Everybody needs a bit of love.

Don’t Stop When You Reach the Top

Think the President will put his feet up now that he’s been voted in? Not likely. If the President ceased work after being elected, let’s face it, he wouldn’t stay there for very long. The same can be said with SEO, social media, content marketing, etc. It’s not enough to be in #1 keyword position. You need to work hard to keep that position, or fall back down the rankings while other pages get voted in.

Well, that’s it for now – but you can bet that four years from now, we’ll be looking at bigger and better campaign strategies for both parties, undoubtedly with an even greater online focus than what we’ve experienced in 2012.

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We’ve been in the digital marketing field for over 18 years and worked with hundreds of Australian (and international) businesses to grow their web presence. Specialising in SEO, search ads (PPC), social media, content marketing, email marketing and conversion rate optimisation.

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