Cover Story: Political Direct Marketing 2004
Other online efforts employed by the Bush campaign have included special appeals from the likes of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush as well as other GOP luminaries, and alerts that feature voter-registration materials and maps of polling places in the recipient’s area.
“There are a tremendous number of people who are no longer getting campaign messages through TV and other traditional media channels,” Turk says. “As a result, it’s very important for us to extend our reach as much as possible to touch every voter we can.”
One demographic segment that particularly intrigued the Bush camp was working mothers. According to research, a significant percentage of working and single moms have shifted online to get their news, shop and communicate with friends and family. The campaign thus created an online-advertising appeal targeting Web sites that working moms visit on a regular basis. The message came from first lady Laura Bush and focused on an issue that most women consider critical this election cycle: education reform.
As one might suspect, online donors and supporters of Bush-Cheney ‘04 tend to be younger — in the range of 18 to 45 — and not quite as affluent as the typical GOP base. But Turk says there are a significant number of older members in their 60s and 70s who actively use the online fundraising tools available to GeorgeWBush.com volunteers.
“Our 6 million-name e-mail list is 100 percent organic, contrary to some assertions that we have engaged in [renting] names,” Turk says. “These are people who have expressed an interest in the president’s agenda, either through our Web site or the Republican National Committee Web site.”
But despite a 6-to-1 edge over Kerry in online members, the Bush campaign witnessed less online traffic from February through June in all but one month of tracking, according to Internet-audience analysts Nielsen//NetRatings. The John Kerry for President Web site attracted 1.7 million unique visitors during the month of February, while the Bush-Cheney ‘04 Web site drew only 865,000. Over the following few months, John Kerry continued to attract more unique visitors, with his highest edge being in May when he pulled 1.8 million to GeorgeWBush.com’s 1.2 million. But in June, Bush fetched more than 2.2 million visitors to Kerry’s 1.2 million.