A coherent email strategy is a key component of any political campaign. Emails keep supporters up to date, provide the rare opportunity for direct, unfiltered communication between the campaign and the voter, and are often a significant source of donations.
However, just because you have a campaign email strategy doesn’t mean it’s a good one. For a truly engaging email strategy, try employing these four techniques.
1. Easy Opt-Ins
Sign-ups should be as frictionless as possible. Many campaigns ask for only an email address and a zip code and most of the time, this is the right strategy. You want the opportunity to get in front of supporters again and again with emails, and if the sign up process is onerous people will not complete it.
It may be appealing to create a long form, gathering extensive data about each and every sign up, but the reduction in sign up volume may not be worth the extra data you’ll receive about the people who do manage to complete the process.
2. Send a Welcome Message
Set up an auto-response for new subscribers to receive (preferably one that lists the candidate name in the from line). This email should thank them for signing up and getting involved with the campaign. This message doesn’t have to be (and honestly shouldn’t be) very long.
The welcome message serves as a reminder to people that they did in fact sign up. Without the welcome message, subscribers may forget that they opted to receive emails and may be confused or annoyed when they do receive their first email. The welcome message addresses that problem head on.
3. Engage First, Solicit Second
Even though your subscribers have opted in to receive updates, you don’t want to deluge them with donation requests. Donation requests are expected, and are an important part of any campaign’s email strategy. However, that’s not all you can (or should) do with your email. Supporters have signed up for updates, not for donation requests. People want to be kept abreast of important campaign news. In addition to soliciting donations, campaigns should work hard to provide meaningful updates to subscribers by means of engaging, relevant content.
Additionally, it may be prudent to wait until after you’ve sent a couple emails before focusing on the donation request. Even though it’s fair to assume your email subscribers are already in your camp, you still want to use email to build trust before you ask them anything.
Here are a couple of examples of how candidates have successfully used email to build trust, from MarketingSherpa:
Mitt Romneys campaign sent an email answering frequently asked questions about the Caucus process. He then shared three simple steps to elect Romney delegates. No copy was designed to persuade the reader or negate his opponent, just to provide information.
Likewise, President Obama delivered a downloadable calendar with important dates leading up to the election. His campaign also delivered links to live speaking events to allow his readers to attend the event.
4. Employ Creative Calls to Action
Again, people expect donation request, but that doesnt mean it shouldnt be interesting. Be creative in your email asks and offer your supporters something in return, such as the opportunity to meet or engage with the candidate.
You should always avoid soliciting donations without context. Good emails will tell a story, and offer the subscriber the chance to be a part of it. By making donation a part of the campaign story, your donation requests will be that much more convincing and credible.
A campaign email strategy is an incredibly important piece of the overall strategy, and it deserves the campaigns time and energy. Employ these tips and youll be well on your way toward building a strong email strategy.