The Secrets to E-Mail Success

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The Secrets to E-Mail Success

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This afternoon I was lucky enough to attend a lunch conference at the New Organizing Institute with Stephen Geer, Director of Email for the Obama Campaign, and Alexander McCormmach, founding member of the New Media analytics team on the Obama Campaign and now the New Media Development and Analytics Lead at DNC/OFA. They were there to discuss campaign e-mail tactics and measurement.

While the bulk of what they said pretty much falls directly in line with EchoDitto's own e-mail best practices, they were able to simplify a bit and boil things down into some key points:

  1. Make it personal
  2. Have an authentic voice
  3. Match your style with your message
  4. Target the right segments
  5. Respect your supporters
  6. Don't over generalize

They then walked through some numbers and metrics, illustrating that the smallest differences can sometimes see the biggest results. The number of links in your e-mail, for instance, or even just the wording in the subject line, could be huge factors. Subtle things that most people wouldn't put a whole lot of stock into are actually proven to garner better results for your campaign.

The most telling takeaway for me, though, came at the end during the Q&A. Stephen and Alexander were asked if their e-mail efforts were closely related to their direct mail campaign. They said that they had some ideas of how to marry the two, but in the end it just never got done the way they'd hoped. It got me thinking:

I've always been told that the most personal and appreciated way to contact someone was via hand-written letter. But in this era of Tweets, Pings, Facebook, and IM, maybe a well-crafted, uniquely personal e-mail that focuses on substance over style IS the new hand-written letter.