Colin Delany December 17, 2007

Hillary’s Microsite Offensive Continues


Cross-posted on techPresident.

The Clinton campaign is using microsites (small, standalone sites separate from the main campaign site) for both offense and defense this week. First, the offense, in this case a clear attempt to humanize a candidate often seen as cold and calculating. The Hillary I Know presents video testimonials from people she has helped, comforted or influenced in some way. For instance, besides messages from constituents assisted by her office, you’ll also hear words like these from her dress-maker, Martha Dixon: “She’s a warm, caring person. I really got to know Hillary… I really think she’s a wonderful, wonderful person. I just love her.” Next, the defense, with The Fact Hub section of HillaryHub.com contradicting a Jake Tapper piece accusing her of improperly claiming credit for a FEMA-related piece of legislation. Considering how fast relatively trivial stories such as this one can grow legs and run all over cable news, rapid public response is a great idea and supplements direct contact with reporters. (Thanks to Mike Allen for pointing these out in today’s Playbook.)

Why use microsites rather than the main campaign site? For one thing, the campaign clearly wants to keep HillaryClinton.com zeroed-in on converting visitors into supporters, using a splash page to build the candidate’s list and keeping the site front page focused on relentlessly positive messages and filled with activist tools. Separating out The Hillary I Know into its own site puts the emphasis on the videos themselves and also gives them a distinct context — note the soft earth tones and the rolling array of faces. HillaryHub has a much different audience — reporters and bloggers — and is a good holding place for harder-edged pieces that the campaign had rather not throw in the faces of casual HillaryClinton.com visitors. The problem with microsites, of course, is that each one has to be promoted separately, diluting a campaign’s marketing efforts. When you’re trying to reach a different audience or spread a message distinct from a general campaign site’s intent, though, microsites can be an excellent tool.

cpd

2 Comments:

  1. Louella Pizzuti

    I totally agree with your assessment of the Clinton campaign’s use of microsites, but vehemently disagree with:

    For one thing, the campaign clearly wants to keep HillaryClinton.com zeroed-in on converting visitors into supporters, using a splash page to build the candidate’s list and keeping the site front page focused on relentlessly positive messages and filled with activist tools.

    You’re kidding, right? You consider an email splash screen an effective way to convert visitors into supporters? Really? How many people who want info on Clinton are going to be happy about coughing up personal info first? Sure, they can skip the email harvesting screen, but the more clicks you force on the casual researcher, the less info they’re going to get.

    Which leads me to Clinton’s home page. What on this page “conveys a relentlessly positive message” or is useful for converting visitors? Her home page is an incoherent collection of tools. A casual visitor learns nothing about Clinton by a visit to her home page–not even a meaningful headline or tagline helps convey a message. They’ve got to click (yet again) to get anything of substance.

    Slapping together a bunch of tools is no way to communicate. Whoever’s doing Clinton’s site should take ten seconds to look at an effective business web site to get some glimmer of understanding of the power of message control.

  2. jake

    Wow no mention of the one day 6 million dollars raised by Ron Paul. Oh nevermind I didn’t know you were doing a post about microsites!

    Microsites will make or break this election for sure.

    Sorry to be a dick by why do you think we are so dickish in the first place?
    No respect I tell ya.

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