These days, it’s harder than ever to capture someone’s attention—especially in the political arena. With so many modes of communication and a constant influx of notifications and messages, speaking directly to voters can be a challenge. A careful strategy is necessary to cut through the noise and connect with people.
When building your political marketing strategy, email should be one of your main communication methods. It’s a fast, cost-effective connection with potential supporters and voters. Recipients often ignore emails from campaigns, and many emails never even make it to the inbox, ending up in the spam or junk folder instead. About 40% of political emails are automatically labeled as spam. Political strategists have to innovate and adapt to create engaging messages if they want to stand out and get noticed—or use other marketing strategies (like the ones we’ll discuss below) to cut through the noise and re-engage subscribers.
After years of working with digital marketing for political campaigns, we’ve learned a thing or two about connecting with subscribers. Tatango is an industry leader in political advertising, and we can help you get ahead. If you want to strengthen your base and create more engaging emails, here’s a breakdown of three important ways to improve your email marketing AND use text message marketing as a perfect complement for more opens, clicks, donations, and results.
What Challenges Do Political Emails Face?
People tend to skip over dry, boring emails. Cookie-cutter subject lines and bland headers will lose the reader immediately. The average open rate for political emails is 20%. Many people glance at their inboxes and ignore emails with unfamiliar names or addresses. To keep their emails out of the junk folder, campaigns have to modernize and innovate in their email strategy.
Unlike in the past, political emails don’t have to be simple press releases or big blocks of text. Modern tools make it possible to embed videos, add donation links, and present beautiful campaign updates. Email marketing can be a key component in your success—with the right approach, that is. Keep reading to learn three ways to improve your campaign emails.
3 Ways to Improve Political Emails
Here are three methods to get a better return on your investment in email marketing.
1. Use Creative and Intriguing Subject Lines
Your subject line should stand out when someone glances at their inbox. Think outside the box when crafting your subject line but avoid misleading or relying on clickbait. Go for personal and intriguing. For example: “Hey, we have a difficult decision to make” or “Let’s be honest about this.” Attention-grabbing subject lines will boost your click-through rates, and readers will be much more likely to check out the rest of the email.
One caveat: make sure you avoid disingenuous tricks like pretending to be someone the reader knows or using “Re:” in the subject line to make it seem like a conversation has already occurred. Making someone feel tricked or manipulated is a surefire way to end up in the junk folder or see your unsubscribe rate increase.
Text messages can also help increase your email open rates. Try following up your emails with a text to subscribers about an important email you sent, such as, “Did you see our big announcement?” or “We don’t want you to miss out…” This strategy works particularly well if you are soliciting event attendees, volunteers, or donations, where people may have missed an email in their inbox, but are eager to support your organization if you send a quick follow-up text message.
2. Make Sure Your Emails Look Good Everywhere
In recent years, more people are reading their emails on their mobile devices. As of 2021, over 40% of smartphone users read email on their phones. It may be tempting to use large image files and write detailed paragraphs—and that’s not a problem for someone reading your email on a large computer monitor. But how’s your email going to look on a four-inch screen or a tablet in vertical or horizontal orientation? Make sure your images are correctly sized and laid out so readers don’t have to scroll endlessly past images looking for the purpose of your email.
Also, try to keep your message brief and break up long sentences. These details create a better experience for the reader, whether they’re using a phone or a computer. The longer the email, the greater the chance the reader will stop reading.
For these reasons, text messages also make the perfect complement to your email marketing strategy. If you’ve already written a short, attention-grabbing, to-the-point email, you can quickly repurpose as a text message to reach even more people. Your email list and text message list may not overlap entirely, so if you’re doing the work of crafting emails to begin with, you may as well repurpose into a quick text message to reach additional segments of your audience. A few extra clicks on a computer screen could result in thousands more in donations.
3. Avoid Information Overload
Keep your readers engaged by focusing on a central message in each email. Emphasize your candidate and pick topics to highlight. Avoid packing all your policy updates or campaign promotions into every email. Use feedback boxes to gather data about your supporters and learn about their interests. Then use this information to tailor content and messaging for future emails. Creating a positive feedback loop with your subscribers will encourage conversation and continued reading.
With text message marketing, you can gain additional information about what your audience is interested in. For example, ask a question in a text message about which causes your subscribers care most about, then use that insight to craft more relevant emails, resulting in more opens, clicks, and donations. Subscribers can easily text back with their zip code, email address, favorite causes, and other helpful information. While subscribers might not reply to an email with that information, a text makes it feel easier to shoot off a quick reply containing useful information for your organization’s text message marketing AND email marketing efforts.
Political email marketing can take many forms, but if the messages aren’t creative and clear, they can easily get lost in people’s inboxes. However, well-written emails are only part of the equation. Campaigns must also find ways to grow their email lists actively and sustainably.
Growing Your Email List
Promoting and growing your email list can be daunting. It’s important to have clear, appealing messaging. Highlight the importance and value of your campaign emails to encourage voters and supporters to sign up. Political SMS messages are a fantastic way to achieve this.
Campaigns can integrate their text messaging program on their websites with a simple line of code, so whenever someone enters their phone number on a web form, their phone number is automatically synced with the text messaging program.
Campaigns can also grow their email marketing program via text message marketing. For example, once a voter joins the SMS subscriber list, campaigns can invite them to reply with their email address, adding the supporter to both marketing channels so they never miss out.
Using text messages and emails together, political teams can get the most out of each communication method. Even though email has lower open and click-through rates than text messaging, it’s still a vital and powerful part of political campaigns. Following these tips and thinking creatively when crafting emails, campaigns can better connect with voters and see a higher return on investment.
Improve Your Political Messaging
If you’re planning a campaign or want to improve a campaign during a race, contact the experts at Tatango. With over 14 years of experience, we can help you improve your political messaging, including sending SMS messages, growing email lists, navigating regulations, and more. Get started with our Beginner’s Guide to SMS Fundraising for Political Organizations.