Saturday, July 7, 2007

McCain team uses web for targeting

There's a lot to like about John McCain's web presence but I'll restrict myself to discussing how they're using the dynamic nature of the web to discern and deliver what visitors want.

When you hit McCain's home page you can't help but notice his message (excellent), but what's really interesting is how they're using petitions, polls and free offers to deliver info of interest to visitors.

They've got a petition against pork barrel spending (that nicely conveys McCain's position on pork even if you don't click through). If you click to "sign" the petition, you're thanked and given links to more info on pork spending. They're probably also adding your email address to their list. If they're really clever (and it looks like they are), they'll be targeting messages to these petition signers.

Same idea, different implementation on their poll asking "What percentage of the world's oil reserves do you think resides here in the United States?" Presumably they took the poll approach because they knew that the results would surprise most Americans (and because people enjoy testing their knowledge this way). When you get the poll results you also get lots more energy info. I'd be curious to see if they customize the info they display depending on whether or not the answer was correct (or close). Whether or not they do, it's something your campaign could do. Again with the email address harvesting along the way.

Both the petition and the poll are much more respectful ways to get email addresses than an email splash screen before visitors get to the heart of your site.

And finally, they have a navigation tab called "Undecided?" Brilliant. They've taken info from other parts of the site and packaged it for folks who have not yet declared an allegiance. Most sites end up looking like they're designed exclusively for supporters; the McCain campaign's approach not only acknowledges the existence of the curious, but makes it easy for the searchers to find the info they seek. When designing your site, keep in mind the many different categories of people who will be visiting and figure out how to satisfy them quickly and completely.

--Louella Pizzuti

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