Did you know that an email address could be worth $8.00 to a political campaign? Email has become a vehicle for grassroots fundraising, for educating and informing voters about your cause and campaign, and for building community support when public campaign events are not always an option. In short, email has become more important than ever before in a world with covid-19 with increasing numbers of voters choosing to submit absentee ballots for the midterm, primary, and general elections. You want to catch people where they are, online, in their inbox.
The good news is that while constituents might think “spam!” when receiving political emails, they don’t necessarily lump all email messages into that category. The difference lies in the relevance of your messages and how timely and informative they are.
When focusing on those key differences, email is still a champ at delivering results.
THE PROOF: PEOPLE LOVE EMAIL
Before we get into some ideas on how to improve political email marketing, let’s cut to the chase: if you’re not convinced that email still works, take a look at the numbers.
- People send a lot of emails. More than 281 billion to be exact, and 111 billion of those are consumer emails. In a world of texting, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and WeChat, people are still using email.
- Everyone is using email. In a survey of adults in the U.S., consumers of all age groups responded that email is their preferred way to communicate with businesses. In other words, it’s not just the older generations sticking to the tried-and-true.
- Email is used frequently. The average person checks their email around 15 times every day, according to research by the University of British Columbia, with 66% of 5,000+ surveyed for another study saying they do so from the moment they wake up
- People prefer marketing emails. You read that right: 77 percent of people prefer to get permission-based promo emails instead of direct mail, text, phone calls, or social media messages.
If you want your marketing emails to be part of these statistics and drive up your reach, the next step is to create messages that deliver what your audience wants to receive.
Campaigns and CAN-SPAM
First, a rule of thumb for email marketing and CAN-SPAM laws: never, ever buy an email list. Buying email lists can lead to spam, which can lead to law violations, which leads to lawsuits and costly fines. Avoid that by spending those dollars on promoting social media posts to get subscribers or boost your reach instead. Remember, it’s better to have a smaller, active list than a massive list with a large percentage of users who will never open a single message.
Reach the Right People
Email is a very versatile tool that gives you complete control over who sees what–something you’ll never get from social media or other channels. Take the time to build a strong contact database with as many details on each subscriber as you can get including their email, location, and other details common to campaigns. That way, you can segment your audience and send only what people want to hear. A quality email address list with more data points has more value and can create more impact.
That’s where Hudson Collective’s expertise kicks in. We do data. Our strategies include taking a clean database and using proper segmentation to allow us to base email messaging, topics, and subject lines on past activity so you can personalize the user experience and implement smart automation to reduce repetitive tasks for your humans who have more important things to do.
Make It Look Good
The cleaner your email design, the more likely you are to get a good response. Remember how many emails people are sending and receiving; they’re not likely to spend more than a few moments digesting yours, so keep the clutter (and the topics) to a minimum.
Your actual design should be based on the needs of your readers, but keep these technical points in mind:
- Preview Text. Don’t let your recipient’s email program simply display the first couple lines of text. Instead, create your own preview that entices the reader to open.
- CTAs are a Must. Give your messages a purpose and give your readers something to do. CTAs should be prominently featured, and easy to find.
- Include Links. Always include at least one text link, and make sure a link or CTA is above the fold for anyone who isn’t going to scroll.
- Alt Text. Many people choose to view a stripped-down version of emails to reduce data usage or avoid downloads. Make sure your images, CTA, and any other non-text items have alt text included. Always optimize your plain text version within your email marketing platform.
- Optimize for Mobile. More than 75 percent of Americans now own a smartphone. Make sure your emails look flawless on them by keeping images small, using bigger CTA buttons, and choosing responsive templates so every screen gets the best view.
Content is King
There’s a lot of work that’s gone into your emails, and we haven’t even reached the actual content yet. Now the work is in the messaging where short and sweet will get the job done.
Most emails will do best when there’s only one main focus; so, don’t try to achieve too much from a single message. If you must include a lot of text, break it up with plenty of headers and call-to-actions. A couple of related options may work, but separate unrelated ideas into different messages.
Don’t forget to use all relevant personalization options available in your email platform and go beyond simply including the recipient’s first name at the top of the message. For example, you can choose which images to include in your messages based on demographics or past actions. Personalize your sender, using the real name of your candidate or a representative of your cause/organization. People are more receptive to messages from a real person rather than “marketing,” or worse, “no-reply.”
Lastly, be sure to include sharing buttons, including an option to forward your message to anyone who may be interested.
Test and Repeat
Before you send your messages or set them up in your automated queue, don’t forget to preview them – especially if your messaging program allows you to test several email clients and different devices. If it doesn’t, there are providers out there that will allow you to do this test. Most email providers also provide mobile-friendly previews.
Always be testing – between elements and content, there’s unlimited testing to find what resonates with your audience. From different subject lines to CTAs to body copy and copy length, along with testing different messages with different segments of your audience, the variables are endless.
Finding the best frequency for your audience matters, too. You want to build rapport while educating and informing while avoiding burnout of your audience only to be relegated to the spam folder or have them unsubscribe.
Email for the Win
Social media platforms are great for making new connections and building your subscriber list. When it’s time to nurture your leads on a personal level, make the sale, and keep that customer for the long haul, email is truly the best tool for the job. Take the time to build a solid email list, follow a few technical pointers, and keep your content direct and enticing, and you’ll find success.
Hudson Collective, with our focus on engaging content, data-driven messaging, and social media integration can help take your email marketing campaign to the next level, delivering the results that get your message across.