Should You Be Email Marketing Like the President?

Over the past week I’ve seen a few case studies done of the Obama campaign email marketing strategies – there’s one from Businessweek and one from Marketing Sherpa that are particularly good. You can learn a lot from such a successful marketing campaign – as long as you remember to keep it in perspective!

Do give yourself options. Ok, so you probably can’t have a team of writers working around the clock to produce endless newsletters to email. That’s ok. You can occasionally approach a topic from more than one angle and ask for input, or ask others with specific expertise to write guest articles for your email newsletters. You can also pre-write newsletter content and have it ready to go in advance.

Don’t use overly-familiar language or profanity. Unless you are so sure readers will like it that you’d be willing to bet your salary on it. I would advise that you consider the following to be a good guideline for how to proceed:  Have a Dang Personality and Other Marketing Advice.

Do embrace the need for testing and trial and error. Even with all the data and polls available to them, Obama’s campaign still had to do a lot of exploration to figure out what worked – and sometimes the most successful versions came as a surprise. What you can learn from this:  everybody is at least a little bit in the dark about what works, so feel free to explore.  Also, remember that your preferences may not be those of the reader – be willing to push your own boundaries for the sake of reaching others.

Don’t assume that you can up your mail volume endlessly. While everybody involved with the campaign knew that receiving tons of emails would annoy some people, it was a risk worth taking because of the circumstances.  For those sending out email newsletters to clients and business contacts, annoyance is a little more risky. Unfair as it may seem, the spam button is too great a risk for you to follow in the campaign’s footsteps. 

Do Segment your readers.  You can read more about list segmentation in Subscriber Categories:  The Minimum and Divide and Conquer with Market Segmentation.