Campaign Corner: How do I make my ward emails more effective?

My old Campaign Corner series looked to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. The pieces still have a lot of relevance, so welcome to my latest periodic update to previous posts – and do get in touch  if you have any questions you would like to suggest for future posts.

Today’s Campaign Corner question:

I have built up quite a large number of emails for residents in my ward and I’m expecting a close fight in May. How can I get the most out of emails to them?

Here are three ways to ensure that you make email as powerful a tool as it can be:

  1. Subject lines matter: the subject line on an email is rather like the headline on a Focus leaflet – it needs to give people an instant reason to read on and should get over your key message so that they get it even if they hit delete rather than reading on. As a result, often the most effective subject lines therefore are short, clear and factual.
  2. Timing of emails matter: not everyone has an organised inbox, and for many people if an email is not near the top of their inbox when they check their email it does not have much chance of being read. So you need to time your emails to match up to when your recipients are most likely to be logged in to their email system.
  3. You need to track email performance: you can only know if you are succeeding at #1 and #2 if you are tracking your email performance statistics: what is the open rate on your emails and how many people are clicking through on links in your emails?


You can read all the previous Campaign Corners here and for some more detailed advice about the full range of campaigning, see 101 Ways To Win An Election.

4 responses to “Campaign Corner: How do I make my ward emails more effective?”

  1. Mark,

    Please could you comment on the implications the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in this regard. This is occupying a significant amount of time in my office and there is a real danger that we could get into some trouble with the Information Commisioner if we get it wrong.

    • There are definitely details to get right, e.g. wording of privacy policies and terms of agreements with suppliers. GDPR doesn’t however change any of the essentials of good email campaigning. It heightens the potential costs of not following good practice around gathering emails, responding to unsubscribe requests etc – but these are things we never had to worry about before.

  2. First, make sure you’re data compliant before new rules kick in. Second, make the email as personal and tailored as possible – receiving a general email is nothing like as interesting as getting one ‘to 20 local people like you who are desperate to protect our bus service…’. And third, ask for an immediate action/reaction to the email, making it transactional.

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