Election day may be over, but there are lessons all businesses
can learn about how to use technology effectively to reach key
groups. Unfortunately, there is also a lot we can learn from what
candidates didn't do as well.
Although most candidates had Web sites during the 2002 elections,
they may not have used the Internet as fully as they could have. In
a study released on election day, political consultants RightClick
Strategies said many campaigns failed to even keep their sites
updated on a daily basis. Locally, gubernatorial candidates' sites
not only lacked information like polling locations, but also lacked
any news of election results as late as noon on Nov. 6.
Like most businesses in the same industry, all three
gubernatorial campaign sites had some information common to each.
Position papers, photos, bios, volunteer information, the latest
news releases, and the ability to sign up for email newsletters were
all standard to each site.
More important than their similarities though were their
"We tried to make our site as interactive and inviting as we
could" said Gwenn Nesbitt, Brad Henry's communications director.
According to Nesbitt, one of the more popular sections of Henry's
well-designed site was the "Ask Brad" page, which featured emailed
questions and Henry's responses. The site was also updated daily
with the candidate's schedule and the latest news.
"The Internet is a great tool to reach grassroots voters," said
Nesbitt. "Especially in a state large and geographically vast as
According to Nesbitt, the Henry campaign frequently used the
Internet and email to inform volunteers and voters when Henry would
be at an event in their area. When Henry started his "Road to
Victory" RV tour, the campaign updated the site daily to keep the
media and supporters up-to-date on tour stops and times.
"People could visit our Web site and consume information at their
leisure," said Nate Webb, spokesperson for Largent for Governor.
Webb believes that political site visitors are seeking a source of
candidate information that they can read at their convenience and
According to Webb, the most popular section of the Largent site
was the issues page, which he believes was a resource for people
seeking more detailed explanations than they could find in the news
or in a 10- or 30-second sound bite.
Like the Henry site, Largent's site was well designed and easy to
navigate. It could have been better utilized, though, to raise