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Making Emails Work For Your Political Campaign

The Problem:

How many times do you hear that resounding 'bing' and know another irrelevant email has filled your inbox? At least 5 times a day I guess. We have become so immune to the generalized format of emails that we tend to leave many unopened if our attention isn’t sparked from the outset. This goes for political campaign emails too, many people who give their email addresses to political operatives do so because they have a genuine interest in the journey and continuous operation that is politics but somewhere along the way, us campaigners forgot this.

The Solution:

Political campaign emails are essential but they need to be improved for campaigns.

Emails should, at the very least, be sent to specific voter segments and tailored to that segment. For example, you might wish to send an email on a specific topic, like water quality in an area, and you will only send that to voters you have tagged as being interested in that topic or who are geographically relevant to the issue. In this way, voters feel you understand them and they are not being spammed.

GOTV efforts rely on this segmentation, based on those who have committed to voting for you, and this segment should be sent regular emails in the run-up to election day. The great thing about email communication is it is so inexpensive relative to other forms of communication and, it is still one of the most effective when utilized correctly.

Political campaign emails are also a really great way to test campaign messaging through the use of A/B testing to see which message voters respond to better.

Campaign emails can pose a number of problems. Usually, they are sent through a third-party software system like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, a software that is not connected to where their voter database resides. This means campaign staff has to create segments in the voter database and then upload that segment to the email software in order to send it out. Obviously, this system of operating is labor intensive and open to mistakes in the transfer process (you can now see why we get lazy and blast off generalized emails). It also involves paying for and learning a new software system which may involve a teaching process for staffers. Finally, it is clear that voter segments, like GOTV voters, or issue tagged voters should be dynamic groups, ie, ones that update automatically as new people are added.

The ideal situation with any form of campaign communication is to mimic a conversation with voters rather than a loudspeaker. The advantage to having email blast functionality in the same place that you have your voter database is that you have the flexibility to do just this. New voter segments that are created in your database can be reached out to instantly with template emails or newly written ones. Specific issues that come up with voters, for example, “there are potholes on our street”, can be responded to instantly by a campaign staffer and held in a casework thread. Email responses are also held in the email system. If you want to send an email blast to a voter segment you can assign a campaign email address to receive the responses so you have the benefit of the voter segmentation functionality but also the great email provider functionality of, say, Gmail.

If you take this approach when carrying out email marketing for your campaigning, your audience can at least take solace in the fact that you have put in the effort to giving them exactly what they want to read. They will no longer get bored by something that shouldn’t belong in their inbox and may even spread the word to a friend.

As with all campaign functions, streamlining tools and being efficient are important elements in running a smooth campaign. If you’d like to learn more about political campaign emails and our system for email management just click the button below.

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