Party President candidates cook up a dull set of opening paragraphs

You need to give people a reason to click through. That’s the absolutely basic rule which applies to all online content where you’re hoping someone will click through, whether it’s to read more or to take action.

But oh my goodness, the candidates for Lib Dem party president have cooked up a remarkable dull set of openers in the email recently sent to party members.

The idea is a good one: the party Chief Exec sends an email out to all members, with an opening paragraph from each of the candidates followed by a link through to their full pieces on the party’s website.

Good idea, but it means if you’re going to get your full piece┬áread, it’s really important that the taster offered in the email is exciting, especially as the full pieces are behind a login.

The tasters aren’t – in part, to be fair, perhaps because the candidates didn’t know their text would be used in this way. But if they didn’t, then the party should have been wise enough to make sure they knew it, so that the wording could be tuned appropriately. It is after all in the party’s overall self-interest to make members feel as involved and motivated by the contest as possible – and that means better communications are good for the party.

Liz Lynne’s intro is public information rather than a reason to read more about her; Daisy Cooper’s intro isn’t about her or the contest (though it makes sense in the longer piece); and Sal Brinton’s intro states the blindingly obvious:

Liz Lynne
With just ten days left to vote in the Presidential elections, don’t miss your chance to return your ballot paper and please give me your first preference vote.

Read Liz’s full message.

Keith House on behalf of Daisy Cooper
Eastleigh is a local party which has enjoyed its share of victories. We have won 40 of the 44 council seats and managed to hold on to the parliamentary seat in the dramatic by-election last year when we elected the excellent Mike Thornton.

Read Keith’s full message.

Julian Huppert on behalf of Sal Brinton
I am writing to ask you to join me in supporting Sal Brinton to be the next President of the Liberal Democrats.

Read Julian’s full message.

If you’re registered on the party’s website, you can login to read the full pieces on the special page for the Presidential contest (a nice little nudge towards encouraging more members to register and use the site).

But it’s so not how to do such an email.

The use of endorsements, however, is rather more interesting. Liz Lynne is continuing to spurn them, continuing her positioning, despite being an ex-MP and ex-MEP, as an outsider. Sal Brinton is continuing to call heavily on well-known and popular Parliamentarians in the party. It reinforces the perception of her as the most establishment candidate in the race but she is astutely using very popular endorsements. Daisy Cooper, being the previously least well-known in the party, is also wisely using endorsements, though I wonder how many ‘armchair’ party members – the key group for her to crack – will have heard of Keith House outside of the South East.

Voting in the contest closes at noon on Wednesday 26 November.

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