Winning Email Marketing Campaigns for Politics and Business

How to effectively capture your audience

Politics and business may make strange bedfellows, but they do share a lot in common when it comes to marketing — particularly email marketing and growing a large base of support. In today’s evolving high tech world, email marketing has to evolve too. So whether you are running a Fortune 500 company, small mom-and-pop shop or the next presidential campaign, you have to be savvy, modern and content-rich.

In other words, give you constituents or your customers what they want—in relevant, current and understandable language and techniques.

Obama did it best in his last presentational campaign, where he engaged an enormous amount of people and built a huge base of support from one of the savviest and conversational email marketing campaigns ever used by a political campaign. (We will touch on Obama’s winning approaches throughout, but first lets start with a  few of the basics of a successful email marketing strategy for both politics and business.) These include:

  • Testing intriguing subject lines
  • Knowing your audience and how to speak to them
  • Optimizing your content (because it’s easy)
  • Supplementing your email marketing campaign with additional digital strategies, and more

Let’s look at these email marketing tips a little bit deeper:

It all starts with the subject line

Just like the teaser message on the outer envelope is critical to getting a letter read in direct mail, the subject line is vital to getting an email opened and read. After all, the subject line (along with the “From” line) is the first thing a recipient sees–so make it as engaging as possible. If you are running a political campaign, for example, then it is smart to incorporate the latest political topics or any subject matter that your constituents are interested in. Democrats might build support around voter rights, while Republicans use Obamacare to rally their constituents, etc. Use what works.

Another approach, which the Obama email marketing team used to great success, is to keep the subject line intriguing and conversational. In fact, one of the most successful of all approaches was to have the “From” line be from Barak and the subject line saying simply “Hey”. According to Toby Fallsgraff, the Obama campaign’s email marketing director, the team tested many subject lines and the casual conversational tone always pulled stronger. Fallsgraff oversaw 20 copywriters, who all adapted this conversational and personal tone to both the subject lines and email copy.

Fallgraff also said that one of the most effective subject lines they used (raising over 2.6 million dollars) was the simple subject line “I will be outspent.” This raised fear in Obama’s constituents and drove more action than the other subject lines they were testing at the time. Urgency works, too.

Get inside the head of your audience—and speak directly to their needs

Making your email marketing conversational is mandatory in today’s fast paced world. Recipients need something to connect to, so be sure the content is relevant to the needs of your target market. If you are selling cars, then talk the latest trends and amenities your brand offers. If you are selling Republicanism, then talk the latest policy touch points or political hot issues.

Keep the content crisp and the words to a minimum. Less is more (unless you are writing a blog, which we will discuss in a bit.)  It’s a visual world these days and patience is at a minimum.

Some additional tips for writing influential email copy:

  • Use repetition. If something is proven to drive response, then use it in several ways. Rhetoric works when it’s used correctly. Use it in your emails, on your landing page, in your direct mail letters and anywhere you can drive response.
  • Be consistent in messaging. Be trustworthy and consistent in your tone and messaging. Constituents and customers relate to brand for a reason, so never betray the brand. That means don’t bait and switch.
  • Social proof works. People want to belong, so let people know they are not alone in their personal views. Make people believe they are part of something bigger.
  • Address your target market’s objections. Remove doubt and you make the path to purchase (or voting) as easy as possible.

Optimize, optimize, optimize

Test your email tone and subject lines and then optimize your email campaign to go forward using the winning approach. It’s much easier and affordable to test in email than in any other type of marketing, so be sure to use it to your benefit.

Consider inbound marketing strategies, too

Inbound marketing is another great tool for building loyalty. With inbound marketing, content is key. That means providing relevant, useful content that will keep customers coming to you. It’s a great way to supplement your outbound email marketing campaign so that you are attracting people in multiple ways. The use of blogs is great, with inbound links that drive people to your website. For blogs, be relevant and crisp, but brevity of copy isn’t as important as it is with email writing.

In short, make email marketing relevant and engaging. 

These are just a few tips to improve you email marketing strategies. Email is not going away, even with the progression of social. In fact, Facebook uses email more than any other communication stream. So be sure you are being as effective and relevant with your email marketing as you possibly can be. It’s the most affordable, easy to optimize marketing tool in your arsenal.


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