Small Business Promo Marketing Lessons from the Trump 2016 Election
How can entrepreneurs and small business owners tap into a disruptive promotional online marketing strategy that changed the 2016 election for Donald Trump and resulted in nearly $2 billion in free media? CustomBulkUSB has used similar methods to garner hundreds of thousands of dollars of free marketing to fuel our sales. Let’s highlight how these promotion and marketing methods might help your organization.
Regardless of your political affiliation, you cannot overlook the fact that Donald Trump controlled the 24 hour news cycle during the primary election against his Republican foes. And according to the New York Times article, “2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump,” Trump amassed almost $2 billion in free marketing during the Republican primary race in 2016.
While most of us do not have the brand image and billionaire status behind our name, there are lessons small business owners, startup leaders and corporate executives can learn from Donald Trump.
Keep Your Ad Spending Costs Low
According to the political advertising tracking firm, Smart Media Group, Trump spent just $10 million on political ads through Feb 2016, while Jeb Bush racked up $82 million and Marco Rubio parted with $55 million through the same period.
I know, wouldn’t it be nice if the rest of us had $10 million to spend on advertising? Let’s think of it in a different way, Trump spent less than 10% of the ad spending of two of the combined expenses of his top competitors. Imagine if you could spend 1/10th the cost of your competitors on advertising expenses (or other marketing costs), yet get more brand exposure?
Advertising is what marketers call “paid media.” Trump was able to keep his paid media costs low because he generated marketing exposure through “earned media.” Many organizations have no choice but to spend money on paid media or advertising. The most affordable and common way this is done online is with Google Adwords or Bing Ads.
Keep Google Adwords and Bing Ads Costs to Minimum
There are a few tips that can help you minimize your online ad costs.
- Determine your monthly budget and break it down by week, day and day-part cost. For example, if you have a $2,000 monthly budget, then you can use an estimate of 20 week days of advertising expenses so you have $100 ad spend per day ($2,000 / 20 days). If you make half your sales in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, then you have $50 day-part costs. We will come back to this day-part below.
- Know which days of the week are best. By talking with your internal sales, marketing, customer service and operations personnel (or based on your intuition and access to hard data), identify your historically best 3 days of the week when you get the most website traffic and/or sales leads. Gather the data and track from impressions, clicks, website visits, leads (e.g., sales quote form requests or visitor registrants) and closed sales (purchases). Adjust your Google Adwords and Bing ad spend by weighting your advertising budget based on this knowledge. For example, if you find that 85% of your traffic and leads come in on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and you hardly get any leads on weekends, you may find that it is better to only advertise on these three days
- Track time of day online metrics. Look at your Google Analytics data for trends on what time of day do you receive most of your mobile app or website traffic. Adjust your advertising spend budget accordingly. In other words, if you get 90% of all traffic and leads by 2pm ET, schedule your advertising day-parts to run from 8am to 2pm ET only. This will also help you with planning staff levels and keep down costs. Why pay for customer service staff from 2pm to 6pm if you only get 10% of your sales leads during this time?
Maximize Earned Media Marketing
So where did this $2 billion in free media come from? It came from the earned media category that we touched on earlier in this article: “news and commentary about his campaign on television in newspapers and magazines, and social media,” notes New York Times writers Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yorish.
How can the little guy leverage earned media in order to compete against bigger market players?
- Create High Quality “Contagious” Content. Our leadership team at CustomBulkUSB not only includes logo designers, engineers and manufacturers of custom flash drive products, but marketing and data geeks as well. Our marketing analytics team uses a proven 6 STEPPS method outlined by Jonah Berger in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
- Get Crowd and Cred from Social Media. Sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter not only give you access to large audiences, they can also allow you to create backlinks from high authority credible sites. You will have to decide which of these sites is most appropriate for you business based on your target market. Additionally, you will have to set aside a time budget to devote to marketing your organization on these site (or outsourcing this to a third party or local college or intern). Finally, keep in mind that social media sites have extremely high rank authority, as measure on a 0 to 100 scale. The more links you have from those sites to your (called backlinks) the higher the rank authority of your website will become, providing you with higher search engine rankings and more traffic and potential sales leads.
- Religiously Apply the Conversion Formula. CustomBulkUSB team members have collaborated with Florida’s Dr. Flint McGaughlin and his Marketing Experiments team to fully understand and apply proven concepts of the conversion formula.
C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a
(A MECLABS copyright)