Whether you’re an aspiring politician who wants to be elected for a public leadership position or a public relation consultant who has been hired to build up the name and reputation of your political clients, you have to implement effective and efficient marketing campaigns to convince more voters and increase your chance of winning. National or local elections involve lots of money, and we don’t want to spend them without giving a great fight for our victory. If you wish to earn the precious votes of the people, you may consider the following 15 important marketing tips that are tailored for politicians.
1. Build a quality product
Build a quality product – you or the politician. This is your foundation towards victory because no matter how you will promote or sell yourself to the public, if you’re not truly promotable and salable, you will find it difficult and uncomfortable to persuade them to vote for you. If you want to convince people, you have to convince yourself first that you are worthy for them.
So how do you build yourself as a quality product? This is a very basic question. We know that a great politician is one that serves the public with dedication and one with a concrete, effective, and tested platform for development. If you want to be a trusted leader, then you don’t have to wait winning an authority or position in the government just to become someone who serves greatly to his people. In other words, you should execute the works of a good public servant always.
Specifically, you have to help people in your community, do charity for the poor, save the environment, defend human rights and justice, help our economy progress, and set yourself as a good example or role model of whatever you are doing now.
2. Analyze the market
You have to know and understand the people, political division, or the dominion you will be serving. You have to know their true needs. You should know what kind of leader they really want. There are several ways to gather these important pieces of information. Some of these ways are the following:
– Listen to the voice of social media. You can read and observe what people are saying on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other top social media places.
– Hear, watch, and read the news or columns on radio, television, and newspapers.
– Read and analyze surveys and statistics about your place’s facts, whether it’s about health, economy, environment or culture.
– Personally visit and observe communities to experience and understand their situation.
3. Analyze the competition
So you think you are already a deserving politician and you have already determined that you are what people need? But don’t congratulate yourself too early. There are still many things to do to achieve victory. One of these things is analyzing your opponents. You have to analyze your chance of winning by knowing your competitors’ chances of winning.
If your opponents have higher chances of winning, then you have to learn why they have that edge over you. You should come up with a solution to increase your chances of winning over them. Remember that you cannot win without knowing your opponents. Thus, don’t forget to put all your rivals on your radar.
4. Make a strategic, technical, and tactical plan
Utilize the information you’ve gathered from analyzing in #2 and #3 to create a plan. A marketing plan includes your strategies, techniques, and tactics to achieve your goal. It also includes specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and trackable procedures, along with their objectives. It should also include your budget, both time and money. If you’re a reelectionist, then you can also use your past experiences to come up with a better plan. Furthermore, you should not only consider traditional campaigning, but you must also consider innovative ways, such as leveraging the power of Internet and social media.
5. Dominate the search engine
People are already relying on the Internet search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, to find information. If you want to gain more popularity, then you have to consider optimizing your name or your official website in the search engines through SEO (search engine optimization). Here, you have to hire SEO experts or companies who will help you achieve your search engine goals.
6. Create social media campaigns
In this social media era, you must not ignore the power of the social media if you want to win the election. Social media marketing campaigns are already playing an important role in the political arena. Even the Obama–Romney battle is fought in the social media, extending from Twitter to Facebook, and to other top social networking sites in the world. Social media marketing will help you increase your popularity among the multitude of people who are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and tons of blogs in the online world. Here, you will need the help of social media strategists who will create and develop your social media profiles and pages.
7. Manage your online reputation
Online popularity could be helpful for you to win the election, but only if that popularity is based on positive and favorable image. Protect your popularity, name, and reputation online by managing what people will say about you throughout the Internet. Here, you may need to hire ORM (online reputation management) specialists to manage your online integrity. However, take note that the main manager of your reputation online and offline is still none other than you. Hence, make sure to always walk in honesty, decency, and integrity.
8. Encourage voluntarism
Winning an election is not all about your efforts in convincing people to vote for you. But it is also about the people’s efforts based on their free will to vote, support, and campaign for you. Voluntarism is the use of people’s voluntary action to achieve a certain goal. Voluntarism could be better achieved when the goal is brilliant and it could change people’s lives into something better. Thus, it requires the candidate politician to be a good role model who has an impressive track record and clear platforms to bring his people to progress. In other words, you cannot encourage voluntarism if you don’t have those track records and platforms.
Therefore, you have to work in building your track record, your reputation, and your integrity as a public servant. If you want to encourage voluntarism among people, you have to be the first one to act and show voluntarism. In other words, you have to show and prove to everyone that you have been serving the people based on your free will and based on your selfless intention.
9. Show kindness and compassion
People want a leader who is kind and compassionate. They want someone who doesn’t only listen to their problems, but they also want someone who understands and actually solves their problems. If you want to earn the votes of the majority, you have to win their hearts by showing kindness and compassion to them. Kindness is having a pure heart, while compassion is having a heart that listens and understands the hearts of others. And in order to practice these two great virtues, you have to support them with your capability to love. Yes love, you have to tie all your good virtues, such as kindness, compassion, patience, and diligence, with love.
10. Tell the truth
Nowadays, good and honest leadership is rare in this world. But if you could restore honesty and good leadership for the sake of humanity, you could encourage a large number of followers, not only locally, but also globally. Being truthful is difficult because we are naturally susceptible of lying. However, if you could practice honesty every day, you can develop it as a habit and even make it a vow for life.
Marketing is not lying. Marketing is telling the truth because you possess a good truth. Thus, you have to ensure that you have nothing to hide. Besides, as a public figure, you should be accustomed in practicing transparency. Therefore, don’t lie. And so that you can’t lie, try to avoid things that can make you commit a lie. Remember that good governance starts from learning how to honor your words. And so that you can honor your words, you have to say the words that are honorable.
Also, take note that there are no other words that are more convincing and persuasive than the truth. If you’re an honest person, you could be comfortable in speaking in front of many people.
11. Have personal connection
Information technologies, like the Internet, mobile communication, television, radio, and other media can help you communicate to a large number of people. However, communication doesn’t always mean connection. To ensure that all your communications really connect to your target audience, you have to communicate personally and humanly. In other words, don’t rely too much on technology.
For example, if you are creating social media pages, like your official Facebook page and Twitter profile, you have to really handle those social media and share your personal Facebook statuses and Twitter tweets. You may need the assistance of social media managers and even a number of software, but don’t delegate everything to them. You still have to be the main controller of your social media. Even kids know how to manage their social media profiles. So why can’t you?
12. Gather positive testimonials
Gathering positive testimonials are one of the most effective ways to promote something and attest its reliability. In marketing, the words of the customers who tried a certain product are more powerful than the words of the seller of that product. Thus, you can try to ask your supporters to create good testimonials for you. And if you are really known to be a helpful person to your community, gathering testimonials are not that difficult because they may actually give testimonials even without you asking them. Hence, keep on helping.
13. Be a brilliant communicator
During the elections, every candidate has to prove their worthiness over his or her opponents. Candidates deliver speeches, they are interviewed, and there are times that they are tested during debates. Thus, if you want to win the election, you have to win every debate you are facing. To be a good debater or speaker, you do not only need to be a fluent speaker, but you need to have clear ideas, knowledge, and understanding of what you are saying or fighting. Honesty is also very important during debates and speaking because listeners can be wise enough to observe if you are lying or not. Furthermore, always remember to be prudent on your talk because everything you will say can be used against you.
14. Follow the rules
It’s tempting to break the rules and do illegal or unethical tactics to attain victory. However, in this world where evidence can already be recorded or taken in a single snap of a mobile camera, aspiring politicians must avoid doing anything wrong that can ruin their name and reputation. There are rules on election that should be followed by all candidates. Some of these rules include proper campaigning and right funding.
In the Philippines for example, there is an “anti-epal” movement that criticizes politicians who are campaigning prematurely and those who are abusively using the public fund to put themselves into advantage over their opponents who are not in position. Although these politicians are not punished by the court, they are severely criticized by the public, especially by the netizens in the social media. These politicians may escape punishments from the law, but they can’t escape the wrath of the public.
Hence, if you want to be a successful politician, you have to simply follow the rules of the land, as well as the customary rules of the people.
15. Track your progress
Last but not the least, make sure to monitor your progress. Make sure that you are hitting your targets and you are not deviating from your plan and overall strategies. Remember that a great plan will be futile if you will not stick to it. There are many tools you can use to track your progress, such as computer spreadsheets, website scripts, and mobile applications. You may also ask some help from your staff, assistant or secretary.
The fundamentals of marketing can also be applied in the political arena. The four P’s of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) should also be mixed properly by aspiring politicians. In other words, they should not only focus on the campaign period (promotion), but they should also concentrate on discovering important places or channels of communication (e.g., the Internet and social media), on their platforms (what people will get in exchange of their votes), and most importantly on developing themselves as a worthy public servant (the product).
I hope that this article would not only help deserving politicians to win during elections, but will also help the public and every community to have deserving political leaders.