On the 23rd of June 2016, the UK will vote on whether to remain part of the EU. This is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions our country will make in the last 50 years and as the debate is heating up in the run-up to the referendum, I thought I’d look at how both sides are communicating with voters and trying to persuade us one way or another.
It’s fairly easy to find the websites for each side by doing a quick Google search. There appears to be one main IN campaign website which can be found at strongerin.co.uk and there are a number of OUT campaigns running. Based on Google ranking, I picked the one that ranks highest which is getbritianout.org to use as a comparison.
All of the websites are mobile-friendly (good in Google’s eyes) and most have a modern responsive design with good use of images and messaging. The Get Britain Out website design did not look as modern as the others and when viewing it on a mobile it did not use the burger menu navigation which users are now expecting on mobile devices.
The main focus of the website should be to inform voters but I would also expect all the campaigns to heavily promote joining or signing up for further news. The IN campaign has a very prominently positioned ‘Join the campaign today’ box in the header on the homepage, which is more likely to lead to success in terms of collecting voter’s details and providing an additional way of communicating through email marketing.
I decided to sign up to the Stronger In and Get Britain Out campaigns and see what further communication I get from both sides.
Email sign up
The sign up process was slightly different on both websites. Stronger In took my details but instead of thanking me for signing up they wanted me to help further by sharing the fact that I had signed up on social media.
I did receive an email in my inbox very quickly after signing up but again sharing the news seemed to be the main message of the email. We all know the power of social media so it is good to see it is being embraced as a way to communicate on important topics but a personalised thank you for handing over my details is usually expected.
Get Britain Out took my details and I was told that I would receive an email shortly in order to confirm my email address. I was expecting it to come through as quickly as the IN campaigns had but it took an hour to come through before I could finally confirm my details.
I signed up on the two websites a few weeks ago and I have received numerous emails from the IN campaign but I’m yet to receive an email from the OUT campaign. Are they missing a trick to get their message heard?
We all know the power of social media and both sides are using social media to engage with voters, Facebook and Twitter as the most popular platforms.
The IN campaign has sent over 2,500 tweets and has over 26,000 followers. Sharing on social media was heavily promoted when I signed up and this may have had a positive impact on the number of followers.
The OUT campaign has sent over 6,400 tweets and has over 9,500 followers. The account was set up in August 2012 so it has been active for quite a period of time which explains the higher number of tweets but in terms of followers, they are lagging behind the in the campaign.
I’ve noticed my Facebook news feed includes advertisements from both sides but the IN campaign features more regularly (almost daily) indicating they are really embracing social media.
There appears to be three separate OUT campaigns basically doing the same job, just under different names. Does this amplify or dilute the message they are trying to get across? At AB we talk about an integrated approach, with consistency in messaging but is the same relevant with campaigning?
Whatever happens on the day, it would be interesting to get feedback from voters on both sides to hear what communication made them decide if they were IN or OUT.
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Author: Lisa Alleway
Lisa is an experienced Senior Account Manager and works across our diverse range of clients and gained her extensive communications experience in London. She helps to support and develop communications for our clients… and not to mention, every agency needs a South African.