Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Obama email team reveals what worked - and didn't - in their email efforts.


Email Is A Critical Avenue For Building Awareness & Sales
How To Do It Better

While political fundraising is its own animal, I do think many of these insights apply to email in general.  So whether you’re a political activist, doctor, business person or a consultant you will find this interesting.
1. It’s hard to predict what will work - so testing matters.  There were 18 very smart people on the Obama email team alone, and they often predicted the wrong winners among versions of emails.  And just when they figured out what worked, it stopped working.  So they tested again.  Keep testing!
2. The best segmentation was based on what donors did - not how they voted or their demographics. Segmenting their message according to the ways people responded worked far better in yielding strong fundraising results than any other variable. What have people donated in the past?  In response to which appeals?

Try segmenting your data by actions, who opens your emails, who buys, who posts/likes you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & LinkedIn, & who watches your videos.

3. Length didn't seem to matter a lot, until the end of the campaign, when shorter did better.  What did matter was the content and relevance of the message.
4. For fundraising, setting a big goal for number of donations worked, but little, very local goals (we need six more donors in Washington, DC) did not.  So set broad goals.

And my favorite finding?  The best appeals also had the highest unsubscribe rates. Like Mark Rovner always says, evoking passion means you get strong opinions on all sides.  Bland is safe - and gets NO reaction. So include video, strong offers and amazing vivid images.
For more findings, check out the full post, “Surprises from Obama’s New Media Staff.”


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