If you have opened an Internet browser or scrolled through social media recently, you have likely been bombarded with a slew of political ads. This presidential election was contentious, to say the least, and now that it is over, marketers can begin to slowly reclaim their digital ad space.
Over the past few months, digital marketers have seen the availability of affordable online ad space slim down as the spots were sold to political candidates in every region. Political campaigns have deep pockets and thousands of donors. Purchasing ad space with their dollars is easy. What represents the majority of a small company’s marketing budget is nothing but a drop in the bucket to these large campaigns.
Companies that generate revenue online were forced to deal with a limited inventory of ad space, and it is only going to get worse in years to come. According to Politico, political ad spending rose 27% per year between 2012 and 2020, and it is poised to rise again by 2024. If you want to avoid spending your entire monthly budget on one ad spot during election seasons in the future, then you need to be prepared to advertise in a different way.
Here are several ways to effectively market your business during elections, without purchasing ad space:
- Develop a social media following and consistently post high-quality content. If your profiles are strong enough, your content will be shown to your followers without any ad spend.
- Rely on influencers. Paying an influencer to speak about your product or service is a great way to get paid content into an organic post. Their network of followers will gain exposure to your product, and your pipeline will fill up even without paying for a spot.
- Seek out PR coverage and earned media. Rely on the expertise of the people within your organization and leverage their knowledge in public relations. Earned media is not easy to secure, but the impact of a high-quality article can be significant.
- Leverage LinkedIn. Log in to a professional profile and connect with other professionals in your space. Once the connections are built, any update you post on LinkedIn will get in front of key players within your industry. It is a free way to connect with your target market in a professional space.
- Bolster your owned media. During election season, you can divert marketing efforts away from ads and into content creation. The more high-quality content you post to your website or blog, the better. Not only will it drive people to your site, but it will provide you with content to use in ads when the ad space opens up again.
Remember that digital ads aren’t the only way to connect with new customers. With a little bit of creativity during lean times, the leads you bring in through ads can be replaced with leads from other sources. So leave the ad space to political candidates, make sure to vote, and be ready to jump back in once the digital real estate is open to you again!