OK if you are even a casual observer of politics than you know by now that Christine O'Donnell's long shot bid to take out popular politician Mike Castle for the GOP nomination of Delaware's Senate seat, worked much to the chagrin of party insiders. Now, I didn't have a dog in this fight but for a variety of reasons (some of them personal) I was cheering for her all along. I am still not working on this race and don't expect to, but if I was, here's the advice I'd be giving the campaign right now.
GO 100% DIGITAL ADVERTISING UNTIL 2 WEEKS OUT
- Right now according to what I've read in the press, she is going to have a tough time getting help from the NRSC and perhaps even the DE GOP. Of course this could just be a echo from the Primary campaign that's she's unelectable, but in reality, the campaign won't get much support until she closes the gap in polling.
- It appeared that she didn't have much money and whatever she did have was spent getting her people out to vote. These first two points rules out TV for now.
- A quick peek over in Google's Ad Planner tool shows that there are 560K 18+ people online in Delaware. In one month they generate 2B pageviews with Facebook, Yahoo, and YouTube as the top 3 visited sites. These kinds of numbers are definitely in reach of an expensive, advertising campaign, yet one within the realm of possibility.
- You can make TV ads very cost effectively. It is the media that costs a lot of money, but if you can hire a good agency, you can stream those ads online VERY cost effectively.
SO WHAT DIGITAL TACTICS WOULD I RECOMMEND?
- Raise money NATIONALLY and build your brand locally in Delaware. Yes you can do that quite easily and we do it all the time.
- Stream your TV ads online in Google's advertising network and also YouTube. Not the free stuff, but PAID advertising.
- Overlay your vote goals with districts, zipcodes, etc and focus your money in the best areas. Even if you want to target all of Delaware, your can run a Google Surge for about $7K per day which is very inexpensive for your TV commercials. Even if that's too rich, you can run something at a 50% share for $3500 per day.
- Stop with the minor league search campaigns that you are running right now. When I searched today, I saw some real amateurishness ads running including one still mentioning Mike Castle and that's when an ad rotated in. Those text ads are your life blood to raising money online in and out of the state. And, if you aren't tracking back exactly to which ads/keywords are raising money, you need to switch vendors.
- You did great online with your grassroots efforts and bloggers, but guess what you needs all of those folks working in those credit card companies in Wilmington to get you elected and they aren't reading those blogs anymore and may not have time on Facebook. Its time to venture out beyond Facebook and email chains and reach them online with your message.
- Mobile marketing is your best friend and guess what you can advertise there too.
- Once you raise enough money online you can then bankroll dollars for your TV media buy the last two weeks of the campaign. Hopefully by then, you've closed the gap and other entities also start to spending money on TV which they definitely will.
Only by running a truly insurgent campaign online can you win this race. Only by raising money nationally and branding locally can you win. By focusing online now while waiting for the right time to launch TV can you cost effectively run this race. Good luck.
P.S. I couldn't go into real detailed tactics but the above is a start.