Grading the Presidential Candidates on their Calls to Action

You can learn a lot about a company by what they want you to do. Do they want you to buy a product? Do they want you to submit a form? What do they ask you before you submit the form? Do they care more about the problem that you’re trying to solve or your email address? The same is true for presidential candidates. You can learn a lot about what they ask of a voter when you first go to their website.

At Fruition, our whole existence revolves around Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). We do it for our business clients and for those who are political candidates or who are influenced by a public vote through our focused political business unit at campaignfruition.com. Below, I took a look at the major candidates websites and broke out their primary Calls to Action (CTAs).

My original plan was to grade the candidates’ Conversion Rate Optimization but with the exception of one candidate they appear to not have any active CRO campaigns. CRO is the process of continuously experimenting with variables that may impact the quantity of sales or leads you get from a known quantity of visitors. So I backed out and was going to just look at their forms. Some of the candidates didn’t even have forms on their homepage so I couldn’t do that. I ended up just being able to gauge the candidates’ strongest conversion point. To summarize what we’re grading – from a candidate’s perspective – the candidate that has the best chance of getting a voter’s contact information wins. To do this we need to figure out a way to capture voters’ contact information – this requires looking at each candidate’s primary call to action.

These CTAs were taken from a clean browser (no cookies) and from an IP address that had not visited any political websites before. This matters because if the candidates where very sophisticated they’d be able to present CTAs that know what the IP address (me) wants to see from a candidate e.g. certain tax policies, certain immigration policies, etc.

Grading the Presidential Candidates Calls to Action CTAs

1. How could you not answer yes to this?

This candidate gets call to action. The CTA asks a question that is really hard to say no to regardless of what party you typical vote for. The form size is formatted perfectly across devices. The message is clean. The submit button is a nice color. The typical submit language is replaced with a powerful “I Agree.” And he asks for the only two things that matter: (1) email address and (2) zip code. With those two items this candidate’s marketing machine can segment the submitter and engage them at a later date very effectively and with high precision.

Further, the candidates’ landing page on his site is insanely clean. There are no distractions. The website has one mission and that is to get the visitors’ contact information.

This candidates’ CTA wins by a landslide.

The best Call to action for presidential candidates

2. Nice arrow – bad message

This CTA has a nice arrow which directs your attention to the form. However, the message is weak. Compare “Join the Campaign” with the message from the candidate above. This candidate is asking for something that helps the candidate but not the voter. Why is the voter on the site? Is it to join the campaign or is it to have a voice in the election, to impact a cause, to stop corruption, etc. Sell feeling first.

nice cro arrow

3. Join the team CTA

This candidate has the right idea. It is a simple and clean form. The message is intended to attract people that put themselves in a known bucket and to identify that message with the candidate. Note the nice language where “submit” is usually the default. We’ve shown via tests that different words vs submit can increase the conversion rate by up to 50%!

identifying cro

4. Odd message but ok form

This candidate has a nice Facebook subscribe button right next to the form. Getting the voter to subscribe via Facebook opens up massive amounts of re-targeting and makes sharing on the voter’s Facebook page much easier. The use of the Facebook login could arguably move this up to the number 2 or 3 spot. The issue here is the messaging. I don’t know what “Join the New American Century” means or why I should join it. It is odd which is going to significantly impact conversions. Because of this the candidate’s CTA fell to #4.

question-mariginal-cro


There’s a huge drop off after number 4. The average local dentist does a better job of figuring out their CTAs. And they should because the lifetime value of a new patient is significant for a dentist. The candidates below simply don’t get that if they don’t engage properly with a visitor to their websites they are losing out on significant future engagement with that person and probably have lost their vote.


5. Requesting support with no value add

This candidate’s design is pretty good. The problem is with the message. It assumes the person is ready to pledge support. The message doesn’t reaffirm something about the voter’s beliefs or the voter’s desire to support this person.

Presidential candidates calls to action

6. Weak

Someone bought a generic theme and is running for president on it.

Presidential candidates calls to action

7. Give me money.

This candidate’s CTA doesn’t offer any value to the voter, it just says give me money.

This is the candidate primary CRO

The 2016 Presidential Candidates Ordered by their Best Calls to Action

In first place, Bernie Sanders.
In second place, Hillary Clinton.
In third place, Ted Cruz.
In fourth place, Marco Rubio.
In fifth place, Ben Carson.
In sixth place, Donald Trump.
In seventh place, Jeb Bush.

What do I see when looking at the candidates’ CTAs

First, I’m surprised. I would expect a business guy like Donald Trump to be at the top of the game. I assumed he would have hired a top notch UX firm (shameless plug – like Fruition) to make sure his message translates into voter sign-ups. Second, I’m surprised that Hillary Clinton’s marketing machine isn’t cleaner. Third, I’m surprised that Bernie Sanders’ CTAs are so good. From what I know about him he’s not a business guy and he has been in public office for a long time. I would assume that he’s in a not very advanced bucket. Clearly, I’m very wrong about that. He’s doing a great job on his website. He’s been climbing in the polls lately and I have no doubt that the clarity of his message is helping.

Running a political or policy campaign? Check out CampaignFruition!

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson is the founder and CEO of Fruition. Brad combined his passion for marketing, technology, innovation and data-based decision making into a successful national digital marketing agency when he created the Denver-based Fruition. Brad brings the unique perspective of an expert marketer, board member, agency owner and entrepreneur to his career and his thought-leadership writing.

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