Traditionally, people who want national exposure for their product, service, or message, have had to spend millions of dollars for national marketing campaigns. But with the growing influence of the internet, things are changing. There’s YouTube videos, podcasts, email campaigns, article marketing and other no-cost or low-cost viral marketing methods for getting your message out to both a national and international audience.
The question is: Can someone who is taking the internet by storm transfer virtual fame into the "real world?" That is what presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul, is hoping will happen with his wildfire online popularity.
Regardless of your political orientation, there is much to learn from the "Ron Paul Revolution." His name is searched on Google more than any other presidential candidate. After both the California and South Carolina debates, Ron Paul came out number one by a landslide on MSNBC and Fox polls. Even though these polls block duplicate voting, Dr. Paul’s competitors still claim his supporters must be tricking the system or are just overzealous extremists.
The interesting thing is, if they are outsmarting the polls or simply overzealous voters, why does no other candidate engender such devotion or creativity? Articles about Ron Paul consistently fly to the top of Digg. He has more subscribers on YouTube than any other Republican candidate. His fans join online groups to alert each other to every piece of media Ron Paul receives. Media clips turn up on YouTube and become viral marketing messages.
Ron Paul supporters gather in person in thousands of meet-up groups across the nation. The last I heard, he has more meetup groups than any other presidential candidate.
But what about money? Doesn’t it take money to make it to the primaries? It sure does. According to a July 1st, 2007 report Republican candidates had the following net campaign assets:
Rudy Guiliani $18,326,220 Romney $ 3,176,535 Ron Paul $ 2,354,855 McCain $ 1,567,009 Tancredo $ 583,451 Brownback $ 460,236 Huckabee $ 406,125 Hunter $ 212,926 T. Thompson ($ 5,787) Gilmore ($ 67,163)*
* Dropped out of race
For a candidate with sparse coverage on major networks, Ron Paul comes in third! Evidently Paul’s supporters are putting their money where their beliefs lie. And since he’s doing much of his marketing via grassroots methods, he may not need as much money as other candidates.
As an internet marketer, I cannot help but try to analyze this success. I’m also carefully watching to see how and when Ron Paul translates his internet success into off-line popularity. Isn’t that the quandary for so many of us online marketers? For example, how do we turn internet ebook sales into New York Times best sellers?
In analyzing Ron Paul’s campaign, there is one thing that I believe stands at the root of his success. And it’s something from which we can all learn.
It’s All About the Message
There is no other candidate with a message like Ron Paul’s. It’s unique and it’s one that many people crave. It’s about liberty, smaller government, and a return to Constitutional principles. It’s about a shift in U.S. foreign policy which would minimize our involvement in wars. It’s about shutting down the IRS and getting rid of the income tax. It’s about keeping the internet free and untaxed. It’s about more individual responsibility, less government intervention, and hope for a better world.
It’s a message that no one else is preaching, and he always delivers it with an optimistic smile. It’s edgy, requires integrity, and few would have the guts to teach it, much less stick by it unapologetically. Yet, he does. In congress, special interest groups won’t even knock on Congressman Paul’s door because they know if what they’re asking for is unconstitutional he will not budge.
As edgy as his message is, it’s resonating with many Americans. In a recent interview YouTube conducted with Ron Paul, he praised the younger generation who were stepping forward to clean up the mess previous generations had made. Even though he’s in his 70’s, he’s popular with a younger crowd who resonate with a peaceful, freedom message.
Unlike many politicians, Ron Paul doesn’t just tell people what they want to hear. He sticks to his principles and trusts that those who resonate with those principles will step forward to support his cause. They do so in evangelical numbers.
So, how can you apply this to yourself? You define your message. You get clear about who you are and what you stand for. You make no apologies for it. Sure, there are going to be some people who don’t like the way you do things. There are going to be some people who don’t want or need what you’re selling, but you don’t worry about that. You decide your message and stick to it with integrity. If your message is powerful enough, your customers will start doing your marketing for you!
To find out what Ron Paul stands for, view the Google interview with Ron Paul.
July 19, 2007