5 Internet Strategy Lessons From Hillary Clinton

Ian Lurie

Hillary Clinton’s online presidential campaign holds some valuable lessons.

She knows the room. Her site has video and lets folks get engaged through event planning and attendance. It’s a personable setup.

She dressed appropriately, with a simple, clean site design that doesn’t get in the way of her message.

Unfortunately, there are some problems:

She sounds smart, but not smart enough. Her site, as far as features, is identical to Barack Obama’s, who’s site is identical to almost every other presidential candidate. How do you stand out when you do exactly the same things as everyone else? I have no idea.

She is not bragging modestly. Yes, I can find her site when I search for her name. Unfortunately for her, I can also find Barack Obama’s site, because his campaign cleverly purchased her name as a keyword in their pay per click campaign. As near as I can tell, her campaign hasn’t done anything similar. If you search for ‘Iraq War’, you’ll find BarackObama.com at #1 in the sponsored links. HillaryClinton.com? Nowhere to be seen. Same with Presidential Candidate, etc..

Hilary Clinton Search Results

She does, however, do a good job of making a connection, through the e-mail signup, and by providing lots of opportunities to take action.

It’s good to have a site with decent fundamentals. But it’s important to look at your online campaign as a complete strategy. If Hillary Clinton’s campaign did a little smart keyword buying, and did more to set herself apart from the rest, that’d be a significant step.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. There’s another way to look at this Ian. It’s still early in the campaign. Very early. Just because a methodology exists does not mean a candidate should use it right away. If they do, the other runners will feel compelled to follow suit; the advantage will be lost. If you could hold a card until it really counts would you? Or would you use it at the first opportunity?
    The media (or blogging community) could easily put a negative spin on the practice of buying Adwords using other candidates’ names. Just like politicians usually avoid using negative campaign ads until the final quarter, Hillary’s camp may have made a conscious choice not purchase Adwords, at least not just yet.
    Now that Obama has bought Adwords for Hillary’s name the other candidates, including Hillary, are sure to follow suit. Come election day 2008 no-one will remember who bought what Adwords in February 2007. Perhaps Obama’s camp chose to ‘out’ this marketing method early so it could not be used for bigger impact later into the campaign.

  2. Hi TMS,
    I agree. My only concern, speaking as a somewhat disillusioned Democrat, is that in 2004 I said just what you’re saying now.
    Then the Republicans just steamrolled John Kerry online.
    However, I can see why Hillary Clinton’s camp might not want to seem too savvy and aggressive. That’s already her stigma-by-association with Bill Clinton…

  3. Obama has already shown his savvy-ness by launching a sort of social networking on his site. Coupled with the fact that Hillary is a staunch anti-video game advocate doesn’t really put her standings high in the techie arena. She’d do well to start looking and feeling a bit more tech-savvy. As long as all of us tech-savvy people get off of our computer chairs and vote.

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