The 2012 presidential election has provided tangible examples of how the Internet impacts everyday activities. Before the debates ended on national TV, memes were created and going viral. Social media users are expressing their political ideas to hundreds of followers and friends through a short tweet or status. Blogs and Youtube videos are being shared across the net—and instantly fact checked.
This election year’s online presence offers key examples of critical digital marketing points:
Be the App You Want to See in this World
Campaigns have seen voters gathering en masse—on their iPhone apps and Twitter hashtags. Mobile Politics, for example, created an informative app that also allows candidates to interact directly with voters. While you may not want an application of epic proportions, it’s important to consider the mobile aspect of digital marketing strategies. Today, smart companies ensure that their websites are accessible via smartphones and are optimized for mobile searches.
More than 94% of smartphone users perform local searches, and 45% search while in a store. Digital marketing plans should be targeting this growing audience, whether by attracting them with an app, local search engine optimization or a GPS-related service that makes it easier to find you online. Knowing that the average online user visits more than 10 different sites before making a purchase, aim for an engaging and informative mobile destination to become part of a customer’s journey to the Zero Moment of Truth.
Home is Where the Forum is
People across the country are finding like-minded voters in online forums, from Facebook pages to grassroots Tumblr blogs. These groups give voters an “in the know” feeling and encourage them to share about their candidates. Give your customers a similar feeling by using social media to create a community. Instead of using social media to sell a “Buy my product now” message, aim for a “Let’s mingle and learn” atmosphere. Think of Facebook or Pinterest as an inviting storefront or lobby where the interested can discuss your product and commune. These efforts build trust, as well as provide excellent digital marketing opportunities for creating targeted e-newsletters, special offers and ads for traditional sales models outside of the sphere of social media.
A Half Truth is a Whole Bad Impression
Fact checking is one of my favorite aspects of the Internet’s role in politics. I like finding out exactly how good “too good to be true” really is and sharing those discoveries. Think of customers as fact checkers: you have to earn their trust before earning their purchase. Competition may tempt you to shade business facts and make your products shine brightest. But when your digital marketing efforts cross into not-exactly-true territory, you risk ruining a customer’s trust. What does that mean online? When one customer discovers you’ve lied about your product, then he can share that discovery on social media and singlehandedly raise the eyebrows of hundreds of potential customers. If you’re investing in a digital marketing campaign to increase traffic and sales, then get the greatest return by being transparent about your products from the start. The loyal customers you create will thank you.
Harvin Bedenbaugh – Editor