Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Getting people to attend your events

Thanks to my colleague and campaign guru (and author of the great Obama London blog) Karin Robinson for these hints about using email to get people to attend events:

Most people, if they see [an email telling them about an event]... might think, "That sounds interesting, I might try to come along" but having made no explicit commitment they are highly likely to be "busy" when the moment comes.

However, if you ask them to e-mail you if they want to attend then 1) you can hint that there are limited spaces making it more attractive because a slightly rarer opportunity 2) you can then reply to them saying "Thanks for coming! I'll let the team know you're coming and we'll make sure to save you a place." - thus manufacturing a deeper sense of commitment and 3) You can then follow up with an e-mail just to the RSVPs reminding them that they've confirmed to come - people are more likely to attend an event if they get a personalised reminder.

Friday, 26 November 2010

What can we learn about digital from JFK?

In 1960 the first Presidential debates were held.

Richard Nixon, incumbent Vice-President, campaigned until a few hours beforehand, hadn't fully recovered from an illness and refused make-up (which he thought was effeminate).

Among voters who heard the debate on the radio Nixon's experience trumped Kennedy's youthfulness. But the larger audience who watched on TV thought that Kennedy had won. Kennedy subsequently pulled ahead in the polls and went on to win the election by a nose.

Nixon essentially lost the election because he didn't put on make-up. Or more broadly his advisers didn't understand that TV debates would be different from traditional town halls or the radio. The technology had changed, but their strategy hadn't.

What mistakes are being made in communications today which will look as basic as refusing make-up in 1960?

My starter would be mistaking digital for just another way of broadcasting your message to your audience. Yes it is valuable for broadcasting to large numbers of people - but that's a very narrow way to see it. Facebook's genius is that it realises that a lot of the time, most of us prefer spend time consuming relevant content produced by our amateur friends than from professional entertainers.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Tracking the impact of a story online - a partial solution

Many 'influence trackers' online implicitly assume that all mentions of an issue online are equally meaningful. This is clearly rubbish - not least because different websites have very different sized audiences online.

There's no easy way to crack this - because there isn't a public directory of the number of users that most websites have.

However on Twitter at least you can see how many followers a user has - which allows you to have a decent stab at estimating reach for stories which are discussed on Twitter.

The helpful Backtype.com website aggregates followers for each mention of a specific URL and gives you a reach figure. So for today's BBC story on a camera that can take photos round corners, it gives a Twitter reach of 281,000.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A basic online campaigning guide part 3 - message

Your overall messaging is a bigger picture than will be covered by this guide. But people often neglect how online analytics can help you refine your message.

Here are four easy things you can do to test your message:

1. Do split tests on emails that you send out - with different messages in the subject lines of messages to different people, to see what is most likely to persuade people to open the emails.

2. Use the click analytics on these emails to find out which subjects people want to find out more about. This is obviously has similarities to 1. but you can test a wider range of subjects.

3. Web page comparisons - as with emails test how people respond to different messages. An excellent example of how this was done is provided by the Obama Presidential campaign.

4. Use advertising metrics. Facebook and Google adwords make it very easy to test different versions of adverts that are shown to the same audience. You can rotate primary messages, wording, pictures etc. and measure how your audiences react.

Corporates routinely use market research to inform their campaigns. And they routinely use message testing tactically for individual email campaigns. But it's surprising how few are using online testing to test their overall corporate narratives, or even competitive creative treatments on different marketing campaigns.