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Every four years, American citizens elect their president. The closer we get to November, the more voters become inundated with political ads, phone calls, and visits from campaign volunteers. 

For small business owners trying to advertise, the months leading up to November during an election year can be a difficult time to make a connection. Consumers are focused on the election but tired of political advertisements. Throwing business advertisements on top of political messaging is oftentimes a recipe for customer burnout.

So how can businesses tactfully market themselves during election season without annoying customers? 

Here are the best practices for promoting your business as Decision 2020 approaches:

  • Reduce intrusive advertising
  • Get creative
  • Plan your next marketing campaign

And of course, register to vote and make your voice heard on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd.

Keep Intrusive Advertising to a Minimum

Consumers are bombarded with phone calls, text messages, emails, flyers, commercials, and visits during election season. More often than not, it’s campaign volunteers trying to convince them to vote for a specific candidate.

While voting is a critical civic duty, this barrage of political messages often leads people to burn out. They become wary of any type of advertising message, political or not. 

So, what does this mean for businesses?

It means that now is not the time to launch an aggressive omnichannel marketing campaign.

Dial back intrusive advertising modes like text messages, phone calls, and radio spots. Instead, opt for low-key options like social media and email marketing.

In general, it’s best to keep your advertising to a minimum around election time. Promote your business just enough that customers won’t forget about you, but not so much that they resent you for adding to the deluge of messages they’re receiving.

Think Outside of the Box

The advertisements you put out around the election season should be creative and refreshing. Give consumers a break from politics. Think outside the box and experiment with marketing that doesn’t feel like an advertisement. 

Focus on telling great stories, rather than pushing your products or services. If you’ve never tried an influencer marketing campaign before, now’s the time. Start working with influencers to create unique marketing opportunities. 

Also, consider channeling your marketing efforts towards people who aren’t old enough to vote. Twenty-seven percent of TikTok’s 800 million monthly users are under the age of 18. They can’t vote, but they can be your customers. 

Younger consumers won’t be as burned out by political advertising. Since they aren’t on any voting registries they’re not being targeted by political campaigns. And, even if they come across a political advertisement, they’re not likely to pay attention.

Use This Time to Plan Your Next Advertising Campaign

Alternatively, instead of just scaling back your advertising efforts around election time, consider an advertising blackout. Give your customers some breathing space. 

Turn off all paid advertising efforts during the month leading up to the election. Let your customers know you’re doing this through organic marketing channels, like social media and your email newsletter. 

Your clients will appreciate that you’re letting them focus on their civic duty. You’ll earn some brownie points — and maybe even some press coverage.

Use your media blackout to spend time analyzing the success (or failure) of your past marketing strategies and plan for future campaigns. Catch up on any marketing projects that you’ve wanted to do but haven’t because you were busy managing active campaigns. 

Take advantage of this rare downtime to reevaluate your business goals and plan new ways to achieve them.

Consumer burnout is inevitable around a presidential election because of the sheer volume of political messages they encounter. If you want your business to break through the noise without agitating those overwhelmed consumers, you need to be tactful with your marketing efforts. 

During election time, dial back intrusive advertising, experiment with new audiences, or put the brakes on advertising altogether. You’ll help customers avoid burnout and let them focus on performing their civic duty. 

You’ll also be able to plan for your next campaign and come back stronger than ever. 

As you plan your new marketing strategy, don’t forget to audit your business’s website. If it’s not doing all that it can for your business, it might be time to build a new one. Bluehost has affordable, reliable website hosting options for small businesses. Compare plans today.

And please remember to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd.

  • Machielle Thomas

    Machielle is a content enthusiast who has a passion for bridging the gap between audiences and brands through impactful storytelling. Machielle has also spoken at dozens of WordCamps throughout the years.

    Texas State University
    Previous Experience
    Brand Content, Content Marketing, Brand Lead, Operations Lead, Course Instructor
    Other publications
    Shopify, Contently
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