Political blogads: fad or phenom?
Wednesday, March 31st, 2004
Charles Kuffner has some answers from campaign staffers.
Meanwhile, the pilot fish of political blogads — the t-shirt seller — is still thriving. I got this message the other day from Stephen Bach, who is selling piles of Dude, where’s my weapons? T-shirts thanks to his blogad on Talkingpointsmemo: “The response has been incredible! P.S. I Googled ‘Dude Where’s My Weapons’ and found my t-shirt picture on two other political blogs, WITH a link to my site. Viral marketing is a wonderful thing!”
BTW, for all you folks who think that bigger is better in web-design — the simple landing page for Stephen’s ad (the page you see after you click) is a great example of how to do things right:
— we get punched in the face with Stephen’s offer: 90% of the visual communication is about his product.
— an unadorned design keeps the visitor focused on doing just one thing: acting. Think of the landing page as a bull’s eye that has just one logical outcome, not as a supermarket that promotes 57 distractions.
— the page should look neat and professional, but not too nice. An occassional rough edge emphasizes the human beings behind the HTML and lets customers know that their money is being spent on better products and not cutting edge web design.
A bullseye landing page can make the difference between just recouping your ad spend and making a five or ten-fold return.
Dealing with various blog advertiers, I’ve seen that these lessons apply whether you are selling t-shirts, fund raising for candidates or enlisting partisans for a cause.
Of course, some very fancy designs can work well too, but the risk/reward definitely suggests that money spent on design frills won’t increase your returns.
To put it another way, if you’ve got $4000 to spend on “blog advertising,” you should spend $500 on designing five good ad images, $600 writing good copy for the landing page, $100 designing a landing page and $2700 on ad space on blogs. (You can save on the landing page copy by cannibalizing some of your direct mail copy.)
Update: Later in the day, I called up Bach. Turns out he’s been doing marketing for 20 years. Rather than beginner’s luck, his brutally simple landing page is a tested and refined customer catcher.