These Anti-election Tactics Could Save Your Sales
There’s a simple rule for business. That is “don’t mention politics or religion if you don’t want to alienate half of your customer base”.
Those subjects are nuanced, subjective and open to misinterpretation. You’ll never satiate everyone’s expectations.
How then, do you stay topical in your marketing without mentioning the biggest topic of the year; the 2020 US election?
Now you may be forgiven for believing that COVID-19 is the biggest story of the year, but US politics said ‘Nah’ and stole that trophy too. Turning protections, closures, stimulus and health into a war of two sides. Left vs right.
As a marketer, you need a lifeline. Ways to stand-up and stand-out, without losing sales from one or both of those two parties. Cue the music…
#1. Free shipping isn’t a win, it’s protecting against a loss
Shopify’s recent ‘Black Friday/Cyber Monday’ report showed that 55% of their businesses were planning to, or already offer free shipping of some sort.
Let me explain why… Amazon has spoiled the consumer, offering prime shipping for free. Now it’s not really free, because you have to pay for the membership, but because your cart doesn’t increase from the moment you add something to it, to the moment you check out, it feels free.
Customers just expect free shipping now. It’s a given. It won’t benefit you in any way to offer it, but it will hinder you if you don’t.
Now during the election, the mail system will be overwhelmed by mail-in ballots and an excess of packages, all at the same time. This is going to create massive delays and many angry customers.
Who do you think they’ll blame?
- A. USPS?
- B. Lack of funding and resources in the mail-system during an election that’s taking place during a pandemic?
- C. The sheer increase in packages due to people shielding from COVID or not being able to shop in-person?
- D. You?
The answer is ‘D’, you. The retailer is responsible for the package to get to the customer’s door. If it’s delayed significantly, they’ll blame and harass you for making them pay for that privilege.
If your shipping is free, at least you’ve taken the only bullet from their gun of dissatisfaction.
It’s a harsh reality, but one you need to prepare for.
#2. Don’t mention the election
Just as every company came out with it’s BLM email, or it’s COVID email about how ‘committed’ or ‘safe’ or ‘aware’ they are — for consumers, it started to meld into one, soulless message.
Do they really believe that? Or is it theatre to maintain profits? Are they saying it because everyone else is?
People are bombarded through traditional news outlets and social media fanfare over election speculation. Be the company to give them a reprieve from it by simply pretending it doesn’t exist. This will give your customers a much-needed break.
If you’re going to do an election inspired email, make it something like this…
Subject: Quick, hide — they can’t get you in here
Body: Bored of everyone talking about the election? You’re safe here.
Shop our 20% OFF sale and take a much-needed break from politics this fall. etc, etc.
People know what’s going on, they don’t need a condescending reminder from a company that’s trying to sell them shoes, or protein powder. Instead, give them a safe haven in your marketing this holiday season by avoiding things like:
- 50% OFF ends when the new president is announced or we sell out, whichever comes first.
- Use coupon ‘BIDEN’ for 20% OFF, or coupon ‘TRUMP’ for 5% off.
I mean, now that I’ve written those, they’re actually not bad — but still, don’t use them.
#3. Put people over profits
People have lost jobs, families have lost entire incomes and those lucky enough to still be in employment have lost their feeling of security — especially with such a polarizing election on the horizon.
People feel like:
- If one person wins, there could be riots, more spread of the virus, lower consumer footfall and their jobs could be lost.
- If the other wins, the stock market could crash amongst more closures and their jobs could be lost.
No outcome seems positive for those in employment, it feels like it could be equally troublesome for different reasons. That, in turn, means consumers are just not comfortable parting with what little cash they have right now.
Businesses in desperate need of cash are up against customers who aren’t willing to part with theirs. They’re at a standstill, but neither can win.
For most business owners, this year of uncertainty has sliced profits and the temptation is there to recoup those lost profits during the holiday season, at the customer's expense.
Avoid this at all costs. By passing your losses onto your customers, you’re showing a lack of compassion for them and their individual situation. Nobody would judge you for ‘just getting by’ as a business this year, many would see that as a good job.
As your customer's attention is on the election outcome, your attention needs to be on offering the best products at the best prices you can physically offer. Putting your customer first will stimulate uncertain buyers to spend on opportunities that are too good to miss.
This doesn’t have to mean ‘cheaper’ products or massive discounts, but you need to be offering value that is worth buyers parting with what little cash they have right now, instead of waiting until after the election.
2021 can be your year of maximized profits. 2020 just needs to be your year of survival.