Email Marketing & Political Campaigns

Email Marketing plays an increasingly prominent role in running a 21st century Political campaigns. In the 2008 US Presidential Election, which has generated worldwide interest, both candidates relied on email marketing to generate Web site traffic, enlist volunteers for running a ground game, collect financial contributions from small donors, and to motivate their base to get out and vote. Whatever your political affiliation happens to be, or wherever in the world you happen to be, you can expect email marketing to play a prominent role in political campaigns from here on out.

In this article we’ll talk about what you need to do to run an effective political campaign by using email marketing. Email Marketing is a form of mass communication that can best be described as a form of public speaking. Everyone can send an email to someone they know and write to that person in a way they will be understood. If you send the same message to a whole group of people you may get a different reaction from everyone you send it to. This is the tricky part of email marketing and a good politician will act as a good public speaker in their email marketing correspondence. This means they will carefully research their audience’s needs and carefully craft their words in order to make everyone in their audience feel like they are speaking directly to them. Once you have a message that resonates with your audience you will want practice good message discipline. A candidate is a type of brand which must be carefully controlled and their every word must be monitored. If a candidate goes off message then they give their opponent an opportunity to expose a weakness in their language in a way that would not be possible in carefully scripted language. In politics, often times what you say and do matters more than what you mean or what your intentions were.

You’re going to want to keep a consistent FROM address in your emails. You’ll use a different “From” name in your campaigns. Sometimes your From Name will be from the candidate themselves and other times it will be from the campaign manager or any number of key figures from your campaign. Keeping the From address consistent so that it is something like [email protected] will keep consistency in your supporters email clients and will help avoid your message from being placed in junk mail folders.

The types of emails you send should be short text based messages that are clear, focused calls to action. These contain low-commitment calls to donate small dollar amounts or volunteering. You can easily provide substance for these emails by posting links to ads or campaign videos, spin negative coverage by appealing directly to your supporters, report on gaffes by your opponent, provide information on meet ups and rallies, impassion your base by calling attention to negative attacks, and to otherwise focus your message in a way that will excite your supporters. Mainstream media isn’t powerful because people lack options on where to get news. The power of the media comes from its ability to write compelling stories that attract an audience. You will want to keep this in mind when using email marketing to tell your candidate’s story.

Ensure that your mailings are permission based. Your mailings will lose all effectiveness the moment they are regarded as spam by your subscribers. Candidates work relentlessly to build subscriber lists and they are very well aware of metrics such as open rates and link tracking. You will also want to use personalization tags such as your subscribers name helps keep things personal. If your mailing is anticipated, personal, and relevant to your subscriber then it will always outperform spam.

In order to use your subscriber list as an effective base for running a political campaign it’s important to define what that base consists of. A base is a tribe of people that have shared interests and vision. Every candidate has certain strengths with a particular base. Building a new base in politics as in marketing is very risky and expensive. Email marketing is an inexpensive way of building and maintaining a base. However, your success with ultimately hinge on building a base that you can then turn out to vote. This will still come down to your vision and how you are able to connect that vision with core constituencies of your electorate.

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