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Online Marketing for Local Politicians

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by aStroke, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. aStroke

    aStroke Regular Member

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    Occupation:
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    Background on me: I've been doing SEO for local businesses for a while now and it has been a great journey for me. However, I just went corporate and joined the SEO team of a company. So now, I don't have the time to do full-time consulting anymore but I still do the odd job time to time.

    I mainly grew my business through networking and after getting out of the game, I have a healthy list of contacts that still call me time to time for SEO advice and whatnot. So one day, one of my contacts called me and said he might have a job for me. I'm interested because he knows that I do this part-time now and his referral knows that. So I give his referral a call and it turns out this girl is working for a local politician who wants SEO for her campaign site. So I tell this girl what I could do for her boss and pitch ORM as well. It was a pretty damn easy sell. What kind of politician WOULDN'T want ORM anyways?

    This got me to thinking. If I researched all of the local politicians in the area and did some quick research on their 2012 campaign site as well as checking out the top 10 serps to see if there is any dirt on them, ORM would be an extremely easy pitch. Imagine yourself in the shoes of your local politician and you have bad press at #3 of the keyword "politician name". You'd want to knock that shit out of the top 10 ASAP, especially with the November elections coming soon. So once you identify these politicians with bad press, just shoot them an email that lets them know of this article in the serps, what you can do, and your contact info.

    Anyways, that's just a little story that I thought would help you all out. I know SEO and politicians aren't a new thing but I sure as hell never thought about it until now. Also, I am in the US and many local government elections are in November. I'm sure it would work in other countries as well and it is pretty much unsaturatable given that there are countless amounts of politicians in the world.
     
  2. socialmediaking

    socialmediaking Regular Member

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    This is a pretty good idea except if the client loses they will be only short term... After the election they might not be that interested either, until the next one...
     
  3. WrightWilliams

    WrightWilliams Power Member

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    I run a political internet marketing service on the side of my more legit businesses, there are TONS of legal loopholes you will have to jump through, as if you do anything blackhat whatsoever they will come check your processes and you may endure a search and seizure in regards to the tech you used to perform the marketing operations by campaign officials. Because of campaign finance laws it is required that all services paid for by a candidate be as 'out in the open' as possible, as there will be searches by anonymous third parties to check all of the operations you use and what sites you put things on, etc. They will also comb your finances if you do accept a gig and will watch how much you paid in taxes with that money. There are so many hoops to jump through it really has detrimentally impacted the market. This is one of the reasons it is so easy to rank sites for Political Reputation Management, etc.
     
  4. WrightWilliams

    WrightWilliams Power Member

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    So essentially if you get a gig, and you fuck up just once: No one will ever hire you to do it again.
     
  5. timothywcrane

    timothywcrane Power Member

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    Some have given you some good advice, but there are also some upsides to political communications, especially in the US. Best practices are always to be followed, but as you are dealing on a local level, you get a little lee way as you stay "under the wire" as opposed to national campaigning. CAN Spam, telemarketing, and other commercial law exemptions can go far in allowing you to do some grey hat stuff without violation however. My best advice would be to get a media communications law specialist on the line, if not on the payroll, and limit your services to a specific service... email, social media, website creation... and follow an exact set of functions that comply with the standards set... and charge big. Be sure to find out who is running the media relations for each candidate and contact them, not the candidate directly to show professionalism, if there is one. Simply running small mobile phone number opt in sites with drupal/CiviCRM connected to an asterisk robocaller with a recorded message from the candidate might be a profitable and simple way to start off.
     
  6. Nick1

    Nick1 Junior Member

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    ^^ If you don't mind me asking, what are the going rate for political robocalls?
     
  7. timothywcrane

    timothywcrane Power Member

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    if you use Google Voice (BH) then only the cost of server maint and the media you send. If you wish to do it the "right way" and use a third party, you can get them for a cent or two a piece if you push bulk.
     
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  8. LanceV

    LanceV Junior Member

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    Poltics is a great niche to be in as clients usually have a fair bit of money and more and more understand the value of the internet marketing and yet have no idea of how to go about it.

    The best thing you can do is sell them on a reputation management package, perhaps $500 a month, where you monitor, and up keep their reputation, (seo rank sites against their name that have positive image, get bad ones removed or over take them), give them monthly reports that show them as a shinning example of a political candidate year round.

    When it comes time for your local election let them know that it will be a la carte, set an hourly wage that you can both agree on and work to not only maitain the reputation you've built over time, but also to promote their platform, reach out to inform voters, and even smear their competitors. Remember that none of your hourly should be going towards media spends (i.e. facebook/google ads) candidates have budget for advertising and any of that you do should be approved and paid for by their campaign.

    It is important to note you will have to study local and federal legistlation in regards to campaign advertising. There are strict rules and guidelines in place for any advertisement, or representational management that is paid for by a campaign, party, or lobbyist group in favor of a political candidate. Make sure to operate with-in these guidelines or you could face some serious charges.

    Another approach to this may be to try and get a partnership with marketing firms that all ready cater to candidates or campaign organizers. Not only have they already fostered the relationship with individuals that would be otherwise difficult for you to reach out too, but by being one step removed from the campaign the regulations of what you can and cannot do are slightly looser (only slightly!)
     
  9. timothywcrane

    timothywcrane Power Member

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    I would say that that is some sage Advice. but also also add that if you have no direct affiliation with the candidate that I would go ahead and file as a Super PAC as that allows you to solicit donations in excess of 5k as long as you do list their information with the FCC unless you run their donation through 501 (c)4 first. This is important as it can cost you a several dollars FINE FOR THE FIRST OFFENCE AND EVEN JAIL TIME IF YOU PERSIST.

    I would also add that if you form a 502 (c)4 organization that's main purpose is voter information you could actually keep the whole operation tax free and write your media expenditures under 5k per donation for your PAC or Super PAC (over 5K per donation) And allocate that toward your salary (if a board member) or fee (if a contractor), if you read the rules. Politics is a hairy area, but both useful in the community and profitable to the pocketbook if done right, just be warned that the IRS is no joke. Black hat works go a long way in politics, but taxes are a bitch. getting he two straight is golden then you will be fine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  10. jinsandy

    jinsandy Regular Member

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    stick with local, the further up you go, the more you are competing with the big boys... and no offense, but they can target segments that would reak havoc for small players.