Election 2016 Email: A Quick Look at Clinton vs. Trump

I vowed a few months ago that I wouldn’t write any more about the email (or direct mail) from this year’s presidential election. Maybe I should have written it down. On the email side, there are some interesting points that are worth mentioning, though.

I vowed a few months ago that I wouldn’t write any more about the email (or direct mail) from this year’s presidential election. Maybe I should have written it down.

PicardFaceIt’s been an ugly one, full of so much rage, fear, cynicism, and cruelty that I wasn’t sure there could be anything that could be learned from this big mess. Or that it would be worth my professional attention.

The Clinton and Trump fundraising direct mail, aside from the messaging, is pretty unsurprising when compared to the past several elections. No new tactics or formats. No surprises. Maybe it’s better that way.

On the email side, there are some interesting points that are worth mentioning, though.

In the Cards

Both of the two main campaigns place a lot of importance on offering a special “card” via email to their donors. And why not? This has been a direct mail tactic for a lot of years.

Like many memberships, a tangible thing may not have any monetary value. But it does make them feel better, like they are part of something greater than themselves, and can carry proof of that with them.

HRCWomanCardThis past spring, in response to Trump’s claim that “the woman’s card” was responsible for her primary success, the Clinton campaign issued a “Woman Card” to donors through its website. According to the email, supporters said “that they’d like a “woman card” of their very own — to display proudly on a fridge or pull out of their wallet.”

TrumpCardThis is the Trump Black Card, recently offered in exchange for a donation of $35. “You’ll be on a team that will be sending a message to Crooked Hillary to watch out, that we’re coming for her,” the email promises.

Common to both efforts? An appeal to exclusivity. And, both offers say that they’re for a limited time.

Donation Buttons

This is something I haven’t seen very often.

TrumpAsksIt came from a recent Trump message with campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson as the sender. Using multiple donation buttons in an email is a tactic that’s shown up in other Trump campaign emails as well.

The Fine Print

I often read the fine print on emails, so this really stood out to me.

HRCFineIt offers the donor a way to scale back the frequency of what shows up in their inbox, reminds them of the campaign’s social channels, and even shows a little humor.

So, that’s about all that I found interesting about both campaigns’ emails. I thought there would be more going on in this channel than I found. Maybe what’s most important to both campaigns is that these approaches are working well for them in firing up the “right” people and driving donations. We’ll see how much it mattered in less than a month.

 

How to Win With Political Direct Mail

Direct mail can be a powerful tool for your political campaign. It influences not only the opinions of voters, but their actions as well. For many years now, the majority of political mail has been on the attack of opponents. Some have gotten downright nasty, not just in direct mail channels either.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 12.31.10 PMDirect mail can be a powerful tool for your political campaign. It influences not only the opinions of voters, but their actions as well. For many years now, the majority of political mail has been on the attack of opponents. Some have gotten downright nasty, not just in direct mail channels either. Sure attack ads work, but mixing in a combination of informative direct mail with the attack pieces can enhance the candidate’s or proposition’s overall appeal. There are other channel options out there, but they are not anywhere near as effective as direct mail. Unlike a business that is selling products or services and has the ability to sell them over a long period of time, political mail needs to convince people quickly to either support or not to support a candidate or a proposition.

How can direct mail help a political campaign?

1. Targeting

Choose your audience specifically. You can select types of voters you need to send to based on party affiliation, frequency of voting, gender, location and so much more. Reach out to only the people you need to in order to get the most bang for your buck.

2. Integrated

Including QR codes and PURLS (personalized web pages) that take people to landing pages with more information is a good idea. An even better idea is to create an experience for them. Get creative so that you build engagement as well as a desire to share that experience with others. Make sure everything you do is mobile friendly. Consider using videos online for voters to get to know the candidate or the proposition.

3. Influential

Mail is viewed as the most trustworthy marketing channel. Take advantage of that, as well as the tangibleness of direct mail. Add texture and coatings to enhance your message and get people to enjoy the feel of your mail piece. The more you get people to interact with your direct mail, the more influence you have on them.

4. Variable

Direct mail using variable data printing allows you to send different messages to different people in the same mailing. This can be used to not only change out text, but also images to make a greater impact on each individual. When you are able to appeal to each individual you have a greater impact on them.

5. Analysis

Direct mail is very measurable. Knowing what is working and what is not allows you to make changes quickly to your next mail piece. Do not be afraid to try new things, but make sure you are analyzing the results.

Direct mail is powerful when done correctly. There are some pitfalls you need to avoid. The first major one is to stay within postal regulations. After you design a piece, send a PDF to your mail service provider to review before you print. They can tell you of any problems and save you the extra postage. The next pitfall is your list. Make sure that you are targeting the right voters — otherwise you are just wasting money. Finally, your message needs to be clear, concise and tell people exactly what you want them to do.

Now, more than ever before direct mail can create experiences that no other channel can. You can enhance direct mail with Augmented Reality, Near Field Communication, QR codes, textures and more. Use these to really make your mail piece grab attention and get results!