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.
It’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.
This 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.”
This 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.
This is something I haven’t seen very often.
It 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.
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.