Avoid Acting like a Political Campaign
by Megan Totka
A decade ago, political campaigns were run through television ads, radio spots and full-page spreads in newspapers. It was really pretty easy for consumers to avoid the information that they did not want to see or hear and select the messages they agreed with for consumption. Sure, people complained about the influx of political messages that saturated reading, listening and watching materials in the months leading up to the election but that was nothing compared to the inundation of political messaging today.
Social media, email accounts and even cell phones are no longer safe from the intrusion of the political campaign season. Even if consumers do not "like" or "follow" any politicians or interest groups, even if they have not given out their email address or phone number - the issues of elections seep through in other ways. Take that acquaintance from high school that you friended on Facebook to see pictures of her kids and pets. You know, the one that also has political leanings so far removed from your own that you often wonder how you were ever friends in the first place. You liked her photo from the county fair, so now you also see all the other political pictures she shares on a daily basis.
And that uncle who has not quite mastered the art of email just yet and sends all of his politically-charged forwards to you (and everyone else in his address book)? You get his messages twice - once on your smartphone and again on your laptop or tablet. Not only are you getting bombarded with messages from external media, but they seem to be popping up in all the internal spots that you hold dear.
Believe it or not, some companies have this same over-politicized feel. It is great to reach customers in as many formats as possible, but at what point is enough enough? When does a company cross the line from being welcomed to an annoyance? Even worse - when does a company get an automatic "delete" before the message is even read? Follow these tips to avoid joining the ranks of an overhyped political campaign gone stale:
- · Stay focused. Know the message that you want to convey and funnel every outreach toward that end. It can be tempting to try to cover as many bases as possible but a message that is too broad is one that confuses consumers. Just like a political candidate that tries to please too many and loses votes, a company that is all over the place will lose the confidence of customers and lose revenue.
- · Stay positive. It can feel really easy to point out all the ways other companies are inferior to yours. The problem is that negativity tends to attract negativity. The good news? Positivity tends to attract positivity. Running an upbeat advertising or marketing campaign goes a lot farther than supporting a smear tactics. Why give those "other" companies any attention anyway? Stay on track with your own message and do not waste a moment on negativity.
- · Stick to the facts. Flowery language is completely lost on a culture that has no time for adjective overuse. Do not try to be cute. Do not use intangible words and phrases. Be direct with your clientele and tell them what you have to offer. They will appreciate that you appreciate their time and read future messages.
There are so many ways to reach a customer base that companies often approach marketing wrong. It is not simply the quantity of messages that count - it is the quality. The next time you get an unwanted and unhelpful political forward in your inbox, vow to do better with your own business messages. The well-thought-out approach will win more confidence than inundation without focus.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She has produced content for media news outlets in Orlando and Jacksonville.