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Crafting the Perfect Email Marketing Strategy for Your Campaign

Political email marketing is an important part of any campaign strategy, but it’s incredibly easy to get it wrong.   In many instances, email marketing campaigns are not properly coordinated and fail to stay relevant and make supporters want to get involved.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your email marketing is reaching its potential.

Segmentation

Ideally, you want each and every one of your email recipients to find your emails relevant.  Universal relevancy is impossible if you send the same email to each and every recipient.  The supporters in your database care about different things and the best way to engage them is to send them emails relevant to the things they care about.

To find out more about your supporters, request information when people sign up to receive email updates.  Note that there is a happy medium here—you want people to provide you with information to inform your messaging, but you don’t want to ask them so much that you discourage them from completing the sign up process.  Ideally, you will be able to carve out a few different segments of similar people, with each segment receiving a slightly different message.

Obama for America’s email campaign is remarkable in its detailed segmentation.  They send different emails to dedicated supporters, people who may be on the fence, people who have donated over $200, people who have donated less than $200, and people who have yet to donate at all.

By targeting emails, you can drastically improve their relevancy and you will have a much higher chance of getting people to respond.

Timing

People are likely to forget that they signed up for email updates and may be confused or annoyed when they begin receiving updates.  To remind them, set up an auto-respond that users receive when they sign up, with a welcome message and some other call to action, such as visit the candidate’s website or Facebook page, or make a donation.

After the initial email, you want to keep the candidate top of mind, but you don’t want to overwhelm your email recipients.  There is no ‘right number’ of emails, or perfect interval between each, but be cognizant of people’s attention span and pay attention to what they tell you.  If you send a flurry of emails and notice a high unsubscribe rate, it’s probably time to decrease the frequency.

The Email

The subject line may be the most important part of your email.  Get this part wrong, and your email subscribers won’t even make it to the great content inside.  Good subject lines are short (30 to 50 characters), timely, include some sense of urgency, and correspond directly to the email content.  Nothing is more frustrating to recipients than emails using deceptive subject lines to lure an email open.

The length of the email is also important.  While it may be tempting to pack your emails full of valuable information, if the email is overly long, you may not see very high levels of readership.

Often overlooked, the ‘from line’ can also make a significant difference.  If your email appears to be from an actual person rather than a do-not-reply address, you’re likely to see higher engagement.  It also is widely accepted practice to include the recipient’s first name in an email.  This can be a good way to make people feel recognized by the sender.

87% of all smartphone users check email on their phone, and it’s important to ensure they have a good email experience.  Be sure to optimize for mobile so you don’t waste those impressions.

The Ask

Include a donation button with a clear call to action that leads straight to your donation page and make sure it’s above the fold, so people will see it as soon as they open the email.  Re-introduce that button in some form 2 to 3 times during the email.

Using a specific dollar ask is generally advisable, but bear in mind that not all dollar asks are appropriate for all email recipients.

Don’t be afraid to use low email asks.  Getting people to donate some nominal amount is a great way to get people involved and invested in the campaign, and it gives you permission to request larger donations in the future.

Test, Test, and Test Again

Measure the success of your email marketing by gathering data like open rates, click through rates, volunteer sign up, or donation rates.  Try to send more emails similar to the successful ones.  Whenever possible, A/B test different variations of the same email with a segment of your recipients to see which version is better.  While there are many best practices that tend to ring true for all email campaigns, it’s always best to test different approaches yourself to find out what really works best for your audience.

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