Thursday, March 15, 2012

How NOT to run an Email Campaign




I wanted to share a quick, real world story involving me trying to volunteer my services to an election campaign. I’m not going to say who this was for, only that it’s for a Senate race and that the State he’s running in borders Maryland , West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. And his last name is Kaine. As in Tim Kaine. But other than that, his identity will be a mystery.

Anyway, I wanted to volunteer my services as a search engine marketer to plan and execute campaigns for Google, Yahoo and Bing. I went to his official site and signed up under the “Volunteer” section of his website – see screenshot.

I did this almost three weeks ago and I have yet to receive a reply that was not a canned response for donations or to check out where he stands on the issues of the day.

This upset me quite a bit, and it will upset anyone who goes to your site and takes the time to write to you, only to get onto a mailing list that was not explicitly stated on the sign up page and not even get the courtesy of a response. Even something as simple as “we already have a person leading our search marketing efforts, but thank you for inquiring”, would have been better than nothing.

Obviously Tim Kaine is not personally running these campaigns, his staff are the ones who dropped the ball, but this still reflects poorly on him as a brand – as it will for you too if you do the same.

This is not the only mistake, they also do a poor job of segmenting the names to make the emails more personalized. I just got an email thanking me for my “generous donations” to his campaign – I’ve never donated to his campaign. They should be able to match my name to a database that shows if I donated or not and then send the proper email content. At minimum, the emails won’t seem as wooden and artificial, at best, they will probably increase their donation rate.

Learn from the mistakes of the Tim Kaine Campaign - respond to emails quickly and start segmenting your email database to make your blast more personalized and effective.

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