Great Landing Page Optimization Tips from the 2012 Presidential Election

Presidential campaigns are tornadoes of cash. This year’s is the biggest yet. Floods of money have poured into campaign marketing. The money supports a mountain of tactics, and this year we’re seeing a lot of landing page optimization.

We looked over the campaign websites of President Barak Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Doing our best to ignore the politics, we drooled over their landing pages and saw a ton of conversion tactics.

Here’s what we found:

Landing page optimization — déjà vu

When you search for each candidate in Google, the campaign website is the first result. Both sites display an email capture form before the homepage, and we’re going to comment on these forms together. Take a look and you’ll see why:

barak obama - email capture landing page optimization

mitt romney - email capture landing page

Am I having déjà vu? In terms of landing page optimization, the pages are almost identical! Only a few details are changed.

Here’s what we see:

Layout  –  There is a centered logo in each header. The left portion of the page pictures the candidate, and the right portion has the form. In the footer is a discreet link to the website, and it’s disguised as text so it does not divert attention from the main call-to-action.

Form  –  Both forms request an email address and zip code. Why not request the person’s name, mailing address, eye color, and favorite movie? Here’s why:

  • The email address is the most important piece of information. It gives the campaigns permission to market to people on an on-going basis.
  • The zip code points to the person’s location. This allows the campaigns to send notices for nearby events and emphasize regional issues (in other words: they can segment and target their marketing).
  • Requesting more info would hurt the conversion rate. The combination of email address and zip code is POWERFUL, and more importantly, it’s enough to start a solid email program.

Single call-to-action  –  we love that both pages focus on a single goal. The link to the homepage is helpful, especially since it doesn’t detract from the email form (and look how easy the form is!)

These pages might be mirror images of one another, but the candidates stand on different sides of the homepage issue.

Campaign homepage optimization: Barak Obama

The first thing you notice on Barak Obama’s homepage is that it still wants your email address. The form jumps off the page. If lead generation is a primary goal, then the page is doing a great job.

barak obama homepage optimization election 2012

Clarify the copy

The email form is still very short, which is good, but the copy above the form is a little confusing.

“Deadline: Friday 31st.”

Is this a deadline for signing up? A deadline for voting? A deadline to pay taxes? The visitor has no clue, which might cause this tactic (called urgency) to backfire. One idea is to test snippets that explain the deadline and why the visitor should care.

Here’s another piece of copy that makes us scratch our heads:

“We’re being outspent 2 to 1 in battleground states. To win, we need to close the gap.”

That sounds tough, but what does my email address have to do with it? This copy gives us the impression that we’re signing up for an endless assault of solicitations, and that doesn’t exactly communicate value. What’s in it for me?

Good landing page buttons

We have to assume that a primary goal of the overall site is to drive donations. There are two donate buttons on the homepage, which is a good way to support this goal. The first button is in a good spot, but it might benefit from a more attractive color.

The second button is really cool. It says “quick donate $5.” Doesn’t that sound easy? Everyone hates typing credit card information. This button counterbalances that anticipated friction by saying, “hey, don’t sweat it. This is quick. And oh yeah, it’s cheap.”

Nice and simple nav

We also assume that a secondary goal the website is to provide information and win votes. This begins in the primary navigation on Obama’s site, which has only three buttons.

When moused over, each button displays a menu of related information. This is a simple way to present a lot of information, and it’s done very well.

Campaign homepage optimization: Mitt Romney

If cash is the lifeblood of presidential campaigns, then email must be the heart of their online marketing.

Like his opponent’s homepage, Mitt Romney’s continues to request the visitor’s email address. The first things you notice are the red buttons. BAM! They grab your attention.

mitt romney election homepage optimization

The first button is on the email-capture form and titled “join us.” The form’s copy does a nice job of appealing to people’s motivations for wanting to help out: “we can change it.”

That copy, combined with the “join us” button, gives us the impression that we can help by providing an email address and zip code. Nicely done.

Trim the navigation

The navigation on Romney’s site has eight buttons. Five out of the eight display a menu when moused over, and three do not. This is a lot of information to throw at people, and it might make their eyes glaze over.

However, that might not be entirely bad. If visitors roll their eyes at the primary nav, where do you think they’ll look next? Answer: The big email form.

Nice donate buttons

The second button you notice is “donate.” While this second call-to-action above the fold might dilute the power of the email form, the drawback is likely small. The page is dominated by the email form, and the donate button seems like an option for people who want to make a fast contribution without having to dig through the site.

Interactive email button

Another button to join the email list is included at the top of the page. The button is grey, and when moused over, it displays a two-field form to capture an email address and zip code.

This is a discreet way to reach people who are scanning the top of the homepage and direct them to the page’s primary goal: email registration.

Presidential elections are frenzies of marketing. They’re fueled by cash, and they use the latest and greatest tactics to fight to the finish. Keep an eye on them and you will learn a lot about what works in online marketing.

Have you seen any other great marketing in the election? Let us know in the comments! By Jon Correll.

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2 thoughts on “Great Landing Page Optimization Tips from the 2012 Presidential Election

  1. These guys must read your site! The Romney site really cleaned up their navigation bar to be more like Obama’s.

    But I think Obama’s navigation bar is really awesome and probably one the best use of a “mega-dropdown” menu as I’ve seen. Get the Facts – Get the Latest – Get Involved. All three are clear and enticing calls to action.

    Well played.

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