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Politics and Email: 3 Winning Strategies

by Cecilia Shelter, Marketing

3 Winning Strategies

When it comes to political campaigns, email marketing has proven to be powerful in getting candidates elected. Political email campaigning is all about how candidates communicate with their audiences, with the most successful tips falling under personalization, positioning, and the human spirit. Here are three quick examples:

1) President Barack Obama was successful largely due to how targeted and personalized his emails were. Obama used subject lines like "I'm saving you a seat," "If you're ready," and simply, "Hey," he created both curiosity and a casual, personal feeling in his emails. It has been reported that the success of Obama's email marketing led to the majority of the $690 million that the campaign raised online.

2) President Donald Trump was all about positioning. He did an exceptional job in 2016 of casting not only his opponents but also the federal government and special interests as villains working hard to undermine the American Dream for the voters who were the heroes of the story he was telling during his campaign.

3) On Mother's Day California Senator Kamala Harris sent out an authentic and emotional email speaking about her own mother and thanking others for everything they do. She effectively moved readers with her human spirit.

Is there a way that you can write personally and emotionally about your cause, campaign, or candidate? Are there effective ways to position your candidate or beliefs?


Fourteen Quick Political Email Campaign Ideas and Suggestions

  1. Send email from a person, not '' address. It looks greatly impersonal and your open rates will plummet. After that, content is critical to keep the open rates high."
  2. Keep your emails short and to the point. No more than five paragraphs of text in an email. No paragraph should be more than four sentences. Two to three sentence emails are best
  3. Focus on one idea in each email. Raising money? Clarifying a position? Surveying your constituents? Updating people on current legislation? Getting the vote out? Just be clear and direct about what you are communicating.
  4. Use a consistent email template, font, theme, logos, and colors. Be consistent with your brand. Establish recognition and familiarity. Be recognizable.
  5. Generate enthusiasm. Be contagious with your excitement. Show how your position and views are being well-received. Generate and build your following.
  6. Use effective calls to action. Make your buttons big and bold, like Donate Now or Tell Us Your Opinion, etc.
  7. Get people involved. Write about people. Write about how people are impacted by legislation. Show how people care about certain issues. Make it human.
  8. Don't ask for money every time you send. Mix it up. Otherwise, people will stop reading, or unsubscribe.
  9. Review core platform positions occasionally. Connect to recent headlines to illuminate positions, such as illegal immigration and the border with Mexico, or H-1B visas and the challenge of companies hiring employees.
  10. Include links to different media within your emails. Link to a video, podcast, Twitter feed, Facebook, or Instagram. Different people enjoy different ways to be informed.
  11. Establish a consistent pace and cadence with your email communications. If you send too much email, your subscribers become fatigued. Not enough and they forget about you. Find the right balance of frequency and effectiveness. Watch your email opens and clickthroughs to monitor these email campaign elements.
  12. To personalize emails and get higher response rates, create segments of your list. While segmenting your list by basics like gender, age, income, and location is a good start, one strategy is to categorize the links in your emails by topic. Send topic-specific emails to certain subscriber segments of your list for maximum response.
  13. Promote local appearances. Let people know where they can meet you (the candidate).
  14. Have "guest contributors" share a story about their experience with the candidate and why they are supporting him/her.

Resources and Links for Further Research

Start Here - the Psychology Behind Political Email. 7 Key Elements

Learn how Obama Won with Email:

Great list of 15 Email Best Practices for Winning Political Candidates:

10 More Tips on Political Email:

7 Ways to Effectively Market Your Candidate from Campaigns and Elections