There is no doubt that this year’s presidential election has raised intense feelings on both sides of the political spectrum. As a marketing agency, MarketingModo is nonpartisan and though we don’t do political marketing we do want to raise the point there are some marketing lessons to be learned from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Below are several takeaways we can glean from the 2016 Election cycle that can be applied to your business:
1.) Don’t let the competition buy a domain name that you should own.
I have personally seen this many times over the years, a business buys a .net domain and fails to acquire the .com version (or vice versa). In some of those cases, the domain was purchased by a savvy competitor who created a microsite or just forwarded the domain to their own site. It is very shady but, I have seen it done and truth be told, the other business should have purchased it first. I recommend that my clients purchase the .com, .net and .org of their domain at the very least to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands (and if you can’t, rebrand). The Clinton campaign fell into the same hole. When Tim Kaine was selected as Hillary’s running mate it would seem that no one on Team Hillary thought to purchase ClintonKaine.com. Well, unfortunately for them, Donald Trump did and paid roughly $15,000f or the domain which he turned into an anti-Hillary site. Oops.
2.) Give the people what they want and they want big headlines!
The one thing about this election that sets it apart from other presidential elections is the constant barrage of sensational headlines. From Hillary’s private server and missing emails to Trump’s off-color conversation about women, it has been one thing right after the other. Now we are not recommending that you start cranking out sensational headlines but one tidbit that you can take away from this is that you need to be in the press (and unlike the candidates please aim for being in the news for something good) and you need to be excitable and bold in your announcement or headline. Don’t lie but be passionate about your brand and business and stand out with a headline that is unique. This is very useful if you are doing paid search ads on Google, Bing or Social Media and even in web design. The Dollar Shave Club is a fantastic example of this. Their online commercial went viral and made headlines for how unusual and off the wall it was. Sometimes being different is better because being different gets you noticed.
3.) Remember that at people will fact check you & unlike the candidates, you will be called out on it
If you make a statement online, it had better be 100% accurate. Remember, this is the internet we are talking about and there is an army of people with nothing better to than fact check everything you say online whether it is about your brand or a product’s features. And trust me, unlike debate moderators, they have no problem calling you on the carpet via review sites and social media. Prevent this by staying honest about what you say about your business, its products or services. If you make a claim that your shower head increases the water pressure for those suffering low water pressure it better deliver as promised.
4.) Have an impeccable website
Now I will admit both Clinton and Trump have this one down pat. Both HillaryClinton.com and DonaldjTrump.com are very impressive sites. Without picking sides I will say that I do like Trump’s site better just because i like simplistic sites and to me Hillary’s site looks too busy but that is just my opinion. I would LOVE to see the site data for these! Hillary does have one up on Donald though. If you look in the navigation of Clinton’s site you will see “en Espanol”. It is clearly targeted to a strong democratic target base, especially in this election cycle but in modern America where nearly 37 million people speak Spanish you simply need to be able to accommodate multiple-languages on your site. Given all the flak Trump has gotten on the issue of illegal immigration and his perceived hostility to the Hispanic community you would think he could at least put up a Spanish translation of his site.
5.) Social Media can be your greatest friend or your worst enemy
In a world where a single tweet can be seen my millions or a simple Facebook post can cause a frenzy of activity, you need to be very careful in terms of social media or else it can come back to bite you. Your social media marketing strategy needs to be very carefully crafted to appeal to the fans you want. Lets face it, Trump fans are not going to Clinton’s Facebook page anymore than Clinton fans are going to Trump’s Facebook page, and if they are it is only to stir the pot and get a reaction. By and large, the social media channels are for community building among your fans. Its a customer retention tool for the most part though there are acquisition parts of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for example. I have been introduced to a number of brands via Pinterest and Facebook so you need to keep in mind that these channels need to do both retain you existing fans while also increasing your fan base. Both candidates do this pretty well and both follow the same pattern, making emotional appeals as to why they are the right candidates or making some statement or announcement that might attract new fans while demonizing the other candidate to maintain the feeding frenzy of your existing fans. You need to do the same though not to the extreme as in this case. You need to provide your fans with content that keeps them interested in your brand and maintain their loyalty such as promotions dedicated to your social media followers or some interesting content that they would be interested in demonstrating why you are the better brand among your competitors. At the same time you need to attract new fans and followers by developing content designed to be shared, by appealing to the pain points your product or service resolves. The one thing both candidates have failed on in regards to social media is sometimes not thinking things through before they post resulting in an awkward and sometimes embarrassing situations.
6.) Be personal
Because I am a sucker for punishment I have actually signed up for emails from both the Clinton and Trump’s campaigns. Believe it or not, both campaigns do a great job in terms of email marketing. All of emails that I have received have been personalized specifically for me and i can actually say that I have not been inundated with emails. The frequency of the emails seem to be weekly though this past week I have gone 2-3 emails per day from both campaigns as we approach Election Day though there is enough time between sends that I don’t mind. This is a very important tip for businesses. Try to personalize your email communications as much as possible to establish a connection between you and your customers. Studies have shown that personalization significantly increases both open and click through rates for email sends. People like seeing their own name rather than a generic email. This even applies tot he “From Name”. Instead of “Acme Inc”, try saying “John from Acme Inc”, people are starting to get tired of the increasing lack of the human element so, seeing an email that is seemingly coming from another person addressed specifically to them creates an emotional connection to your brand and this tactic is being widely used by Hillary and Trump.
7.) Make use of all marketing channel available to you to reach your target market
This should be a no brainer but both campaigns have confirmed the validity of it. Use every marketing channel available to you. Both Donald and Hillary have held press conferences, staged massive rallies, conducted email marketing, used websites, social media, paid search and content marketing in their campaigns. If these tactics are good enough to help us elect a president, they are good enough for your business but remember to only use those that give you exposure to your target. There is a reason why Hillary Clinton’s Campaign has a Pinterest page while Donald Trump’s Campaign does not. Hillary wants to appeal to female voters while Trump wants to appeal to the men. Just look at their key messaging. Clinton appeals to emotion, safety and children -which appeal to female audiences while Trump’s message focuses on a return to greatness, security and justice which is geared towards the men. Pinterest’s demographics are skewed very heavily towards women with only 13% of Pinterest’s community being made up of men so that social platform would do very little to help Trump’s efforts. He has focused on Facebook and Twitter both of which have a larger male demographic. List out all of the marketing channels for your business, identify who you target is and then systematically go through that list and check off which channels would give your business exposure to that target market.
This presidential election cycle has certainly fanned the flames of division in this country but in the end, next week at this time this country will have elected a new president and it will be time to heal the wounds this election cycle has caused. Hopefully this article is just one way we can begin doing that, by taking the lessons of what both candidates have done and applying the good lessons while avoiding the bad.