We just finished up an off-year school board election, which presents a wealth of marketing lessons. Running for public office is always a challenge, and hats off to everyone who ran. We need more people to step up and get involved.
But political campaigns are all about getting the word out and connecting with people, so marketing lessons abound. Here are a few simple insights gleaned from this election season that can apply to your business or organization.
- Websites matter: You can’t seriously compete in the marketplace without an online presence. It’s a prerequisite for doing business. Owning and controlling your own website is the best way to do that. A Facebook page is good (see below), but don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
- Social media matters: A social media presence can be a great way to connect with people. Even if you don’t update often, having a presence makes it easier for people to find you. Plus, interacting with people and responding to comments can go a long way.
- Does it work?: All those digital marketing channels are great, but are they working? We noticed several candidates had communication challenges, from important emails going to the spam folder to a contact form that wasn’t delivering messages. It’s imperative that you check the spam folder regularly and double check your contact systems.
- What’s most important?: While social media is a helpful channel, it’s important to pay attention to what messages you’re sending when. Most social platforms allow you to “pin” a post to the top of your page, which ensures people will see that first. It’s a helpful way to highlight what’s most important. But what’s most important can change. Early on in the campaign, that donate message is likely important. But your message should shift as the election nears.
- Connect with people: All the digital solutions are great, but you have to actually talk to real people. For most political campaigns, that means door knocking. Hitting the pavement and hearing from voters directly is invaluable. That doesn’t directly translate to businesses—you don’t want to go door to door. But the concept of going where the people are and interacting with them is key.