The politics of Internet marketing
Written by Taylor Pratt and published
The heat of the U.S. political season adds a welcome fire to the conversation as cool fall weather rolls across the country. Washington, D.C., got a shakeup this week, and those politicians lucky enough to find favor will need to listen to the message sent by voters — what’s been going on lately isn’t working for some folks.
It’s a position familiar to Internet marketers. It’s our constant mission to be in tune with the needs and preferences of constituents consumers and to adjust our approach in turn. We do research, keep our ear to the ground and craft messages intended to strike at the tender core of people’s deepest dreams and fears. We cultivate a culture of action with our words, and in turn we aim to stay “in office” by meeting people’s expectations and enriching their lives with our products and services.
As John Battelle, renowned search and tech blogger/analyst, writes in All Brands are Politicians:
”I’ve now come to the conclusion that they [brands] must also become politicians as well. Brands will have to play to their base, cater to interest groups, and answer for their “votes” — how their marketing dollars are spent.”
We don’t always find ourselves in favor, as brands’ approval ratings are in a constant state of flux. And so, much like the role filled by a political campaign strategist, intelligent marketers keep their campaign strategies fluid to the call of consumers yet grounded by the brand’s identity and underlying values.
Like a well-oiled political campaign team, a search marketing campaign must have someone filling the roles of project manager, finance coordinator, research coordinator and publicity chair — though these multiple roles may fall to a single person or be divided among many. So where’s the call to action in all this?
Polls, Polls, Polls
Just as it goes with winning an election, you don’t climb to the top of search results without paying careful attention to the will of the voters — and in Internet marketing, votes are cast every day by search engines and human visitors. The equivalent of votes are seen in conversions made, traffic gained, rankings received, favorable mentions and any action that reflects value on the brand.
Public opinion polls are an invaluable tool to the campaign team, providing insight into perception of the brand, reaction to marketing efforts, identification of hot button issues, shortcomings and strengths and where a brand does and doesn’t line up with consumers on issues that matter. Here are some polling metrics to pay attention to along the campaign trail:
- Media mentions: Every good campaign has a communications director keeping track of media coverage and formulating strategy for communications. The Raven Tools Social Monitor is a communications manager’s best friend, delivering notifications of brand mentions and select keywords across news outlets, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, flickr and more than 60 major publishing forums, along with a colorful report that visually displays public sentiment.
- SERP position: If you’re campaigning to attract the vote, or dollars, of say, Joe the Plumber, you may need to get discovered by him first. Search engines are the channel connecting people looking to fill a need with your helpful product or service. As you know, the better the rankings attained, the better the chances of attracting paying customers. The Raven Tools SERP Tracker lets you monitor keyword rankings, view them over time, and break down their performance by region.
- Backlinks: Backlinks are an important metric to track for a couple reasons. The acquisition of quality backlinks is known to improve search engine rankings, and they’re a sign of confidence and authority inherent in the brand and its content. The Raven Tools Backlink Explorer keeps a campaign manager in the know when it comes to this metric’s performance in the polls.
- Competitor standings: Search marketers may not have the option of slinging mud at opponents in campaign ads, but a watchful eye must be kept on the competition. A nimble brand knows what’s happening on the competitive field and adjusts strategy in response to upcoming threats and emerging opportunities. The Raven Tools Competitor Manager compiles metrics that matter and lets you compare them side-by-side to your own.
- What works: At the end of the day, it all comes down to what’s working and what’s not. Which efforts paid off and which did little to gain footholds for the brand? The Raven Tools Event Manager lets marketers define and track campaign events to identify correlations and wins for the brand.
By keeping your pulse on the polls, you’re well positioned to craft marketing messages that hit home.
Of course, be sure to stay in tune with the will of the voters even after you’ve taken office. Every day is election day in the search industry.