Political Email Marketing (2018)

– And welcome back, Brendan
Tobin back here again. Another campaign blueprint. This time we’re covering
political campaign emails,trying to figure out what
works, what doesn’t work,and we’ve spoken to a lot of campaigns,seen a lot of campaign
emails going over the years. I think what we’re gonna cover todayshould really help you guys
in trying to figure outyour strategy, what works,and how to track what’s working for you. Stay tuned for more. So why do people use
political campaign emailsstill in an age when everybody
says that email is dead?Well, it’s for three reasons. It’s easy, it’s flexible,
and it’s effective. So easiness, certainly. Once you have your email
blast system set up,it’s very straightforward
to send 10,000 emailsor 100,000 emails just as
easy as it is to send 10. So from that point of view,very, very easy to set up. Flexibility in terms of
the sort of informationthat you can send to voters
whether it be videos, text,campaign messaging, images,
whatever it might be. So very, very flexible mediumfor direct contact with voters. At effectiveness, campaign
managers always come back to usand tell us campaign emails
are one of their core methodsof communication in terms
of the amount of informationthat you get back from
political campaign emails. Certainly one of the best
uses of your resources. What we’re gonna cover
in this Q&A session,I’m gonna pull Ciara in hereand we’re gonna go back and forthwith some of the sort of questionsthat we get asked most regularly,we’re gonna cover strategy, tracking,and effectiveness of your campaign emailsand hopefully that should help you. Kay, so look who’s joined us, its Ciara. – Hi guys.
– And she’s gonna ask allthose difficult questions
that our customersusually ask us, so. – Yeah, so political campaign emailsare something we deal with regularlyand our candidates are always using them,so the first question we get asked loadsis what softwares are good to usefor political campaign emails?- Yeah a lot of people don’t knowthat we provide it as well,but I suppose the most
obvious ones would bethings like MailChimp, Constant Contact,ones that a lot of
people would know about. Very simple, straightforward
email blast systemsthat tend to integrate
potentially with your voter CRM,but also just have
really nice functionalityfor tracking what’s
happening on your websiteso if you send out an email blast,how do you then track what
actions people are takingon the back of that when
they reach your website. So they’re very good options. Obviously, ourselves,
have email blast systemsthat are directly connected
in with voter CRM’s,so the targeting that you’ve built upwithin your voter databasecan then just be exported as a listand you send an email blast. So fantastic for follow
up work after canvassing. These are the people that
are interested in education,these are the people that
are interested in roadsand transport, and then
you could follow upan email blast to them. Also I suppose Nation Builder
would be another good exampleof a similar sort of email blast systemthat’s connected to a CRM
system, voter CRM system. So those are all good options. Loads of other options out in the marketbut I think that’s a good starting pointfor political campaigns. – Okay brilliant, so if
you’re using a software,it’s probably important that
you have some sort of strategy. Just like if you were gonna getyour political campaign strategy,it’s important to have an email one. Can you give us a few key stepsin your political campaign strategy?- Yeah, I suppose the way, look,every campaign has
totally different strategybut due to two sort of big thingsthat we think about
for email blast systemswould be persuasion campaigns
or information campaigns. So one is quite heavy, in a sense,of you’re asking people,
it’s very action-oriented. So you’re asking people
maybe for a donation,you might be asking in the emailfor somebody to sign up
and become a volunteer,or I suppose ultimately to
come out and vote for you. So you’ve got that type of email,and then you also have
the information type emailwhich would be much more selfie softly. It’s like a news letter
approach so you’re updating themon what’s going on with your campaign,you’re maybe giving them some picturesfrom your social media,
maybe asking them questions. It’s still important to
have an ask in there,but information campaigns
would be more aboutbuilding trust, building
loyalty, building understanding. So what we find is that a lot of campaignswill mix those two strategies. So at the beginning of the campaignthey might start with very much persuasionor an ask based email blast,so asking people for donationsto get the campaign up and
running, asking for volunteers,then they move into an
information campaignand then at the end of the campaign,the last few weeks they’re
moving much more back againinto asks like, will you
come out and vote for us?Will you volunteer?Will you give us some more support?I think those two types of strategyare a good way of thinking
about your strategybut in terms of how it’s gonna workfor an individual, it’s
really down to themto figure out what’s gonna work best. – Okay that’s obviously very important,’cause I suppose depending
on your campaign rollout,your timeline at having
a strategy in placewill help you know when to send out?- Yeah, absolutely yeah. – So the next thing we’ve
kind of talked a lot aboutand written a lot about in the pastis your subject lines for emailsand stuff that catches people’s eyebecause I have my phone
on me all the time nowand I get emails, we all
get emails hourly nowand you don’t look at everything. I suppose it depends on the subject line,what catches your eye. Have you any tips on for candidates nowlooking to hit their voters?- Yeah, it’s something,it can completely destroy
the open range on an emailif you have a bad subject line,something that seems a bit too pushyor maybe not of interest. So I suppose the guidelines
that we would havefor subject lines would be USP. The way we would think about it would beeither useful, subject
line specific, or personal. An example of a useful subject linemight be for a voter,your guide to taxation for 2018,or how to apply for social welfare grants,or something along those lines. Now that’s something that
they can action immediatelyso they would interested
enough to open it up. Specific ones would be
maybe based on feedbackthat you’re getting from voters,that their interest is
specifically in education,or in street lighting
or something like that. So if get it that narrowly
focused, that narrowly targeted,you’re gonna have a really
good open rate on those emails. And very useful as well. You have to try and think of it in termsof how good is this gonna be
as an experience for the voter. And then finally and classically
like the old Obama emailswere like, hey, dot dot dot, so, personal. So making it feel like that it’s somebodywho has a relationship with you. So it’s something like a
quick word, question mark,or something along those linesthat feels like it’s one to one. Those tend to work for us. – Yeah if anything it kinda createsa bit of urgency, like
time sensitive stuff. They always make me open up my emailsif there’s an event happening
at the end of the week,you know I kind of want to know about itbut yeah I think they’re great tips. – But they’re just a guide
and they’re by no meansthe only way that you
can set up subject lines,and there’s a host of
information out thereif you ever search for it on how,strategies for subject
lines, specifically,but I think they’re a good root on USP. – Perfect. The next
question we get asked a lotis how do you decide who you’re
gonna send which email to?So same thing as canvassing,
when you’re out door knocking,you’ve segmented up your voter file,and I imagine it’s the same
when you’re sending out emails. You’ve got to segment
to get the best return. Surely. – Yeah, if you haven’t
built a good targeting list,then the emails are
never gonna feel right. So I suppose there’s a
couple of ways he can do it,if you haven’t gone out and
done any votering for HR,if you don’t have a very well
fleshed out CRM or databaseon your voters, you
might want to just startwith a broad email and you
send it out to everybody,see who opens it, see who’s
clicked the link on education,see who’s clicked the link on healthcare,see who’s clicked the link on transport,and then segment based on that. So start broad and then narrow it down. But ideally in any political campaignyou’re going to have a bit
more information that that. So you’re gonna have
information put in your databaseabout perhaps voting history,perhaps geographical information,
where exactly they live. So you can target based on,say if you want to take
just a specific geographyand tell them what’s going
on in their local area,or tell them what you’re doing in responseto things that are happening
in their local area,that’s great targeting. If you’re out and you’re doing canvassing,so say with our system if you’ve gone outand you done a canvas
and all of the peoplethat have responded to your canvas with,I will come out and vote
for you on election day,you can then set up a
spent and specific listof supporters or votes pledgedand send them specific emails. So that type of targeting is pretty basicand you should definitely be
doing that level of targeting. Finally you could connect
to your email targetingwith your website properties. So say for example you have a
sign up page on your website,and in that sign up page
you’re asking peopletick the boxes that you’re interested insuch as education, healthcare, transport,then as a result of that
she can set up targetingbased on their responses. And that’s very, very good practice. So lots of different ways you can do it,but certainly you should
try to be leveragingthe power that’s put in
to your voter databaseand then building your
targets on the back of that. – Yeah that’s really helpful. You can go as broad or
as narrow as you want. It can be a really extensive operationso I suppose if you are gonna
really go into your email?- Yeah, I mean, there’s
certainly some campaignswe would work at and they are email nerds. – Yeah.
– They just don’t stop
talking about targeting. And it’s very effective
and the more targeted,like we all say,the better response you’re gonna get. – So following on from email segmentation,I suppose the next thingwe talk a lot about as well is testing. So testing different
emails to different groups. Do a lot of campaigns actually do that?- I don’t know. It’s pretty advanced level stuff,but A/B testing on
subject lines, on content. So A/B testing is you set up,you duplicate an email and then
you send everything the sameexcept you change one item. So you change the subject line,you send it to the same group of peopleand then you see which one
gets the best response,which one gets the best open rate,which one gets the best, you know,the lowest unsubscribe
rate, biggest response rate. So stuff like that, it’s
pretty advanced level stuffbut it’s very easy to
do with like MailChimp,it’s very easy to do with
any email blast systemthat’s connected to a voter database. – One of the other questions
we always get askedabout campaigns, or from campaigns, sorry,is how do you know if your
emails are actually working?- There’s some metrics that you canlook at on most email blast systems. So things like open rateand your open rate should be around,well certainly over 10%
but ideally about 20-40%would be a decent open rate. Unsubscribe rate is another
really important one,if more than 5% of people
who received your emailare unsubscribing from it,then you probably have a problem. And then also you can connectyour email blasts to
your website properties. So very simply done. Sounds really complicated,but it’s actually quite easy to do. So that you send out an
email blast to 1,000 people,20 of those people or 50 of those peoplevisit your website as a result,they click through the email blast,and then of those people,what do they do when
they’re on your website?There’s really good tracking methodsfor seeing how effective
your email blasts have been. – They definitely sound like metricsthat any campaign should be tracking. – And very simple to do. Really, Really easy. – Finally, you’ve kind of
followed all these steps,you’ve learned all these lessons,and now you’re sending out your emails. What’s the story of the content? – You don’t do anything,
you just write nothing. – But no seriously how long or shortshould the email be,
should it have images,how important is that once
people have opened the email?- Well critically important, I’d say. I suppose there’s certain thingsthat you don’t want to have in therelike information that
is not relevant to themlike maybe geographically
is irrelevant to them,or things that they’re not interested in,or asking them to do thingsthat they’ve already said
they don’t want to do. Things like that are definite no-no’s. Of the content that you
do want to put in there,it needs to be informative, it
needs to be action-oriented. You certainly need to ask. In every email there
should be at least one ask. I would suggest maybe two or three asks,whether it’s a donation, come outand vote for you, or volunteer,you want to be asking people
regularly four things. So putting clickable links that they canvery simply go forward with. In terms of content itself,
just fantastic email templates,and that they look full, they look great,but they don’t open it all. So that’s the thing a lot
of people don’t know is,simple text emails with just
simple clickable links— Short?- And short-ish, well depends,but certainly plain text emails do openan awful lot better than
very heavy load emails. So those are a couple of pointers. Keep it informative, keep it as specificand as targeted as possible,
very simple, plain text,and make sure that you’re askingfor things within the content. And ideally if you can open with a hook,open with a story or somethingthat captures their attention,because it’s very easy to just scanfor a sentence or two and to bounce offan email and not take any action. So those would be my
recommendations for that. – Okay cool. I suppose the next time
you get a political email,maybe have a look through itand see if it has any of these points. – So thanks, Ciara, for
covering those questions for us. Hopefully that’s been of help. Don’t forget to subscribe
to our YouTube channel belowand if you’ve got any questions,don’t be afraid to follow
up with us. ‘Til next time.