One of the most effective campaign tools used by candidates in large statewide and national elections are voter email lists. If you’re able to build a targeted list of email addresses for voters in your district, then it’s much easier to do vital things like raise money and recruit volunteers.
Most candidates in smaller local elections think that building email lists is the kind of stuff that’s limited to huge campaigns with big budgets. The truth is that there are simple, cheap ways for local candidates to build effective email lists–and I know because I’ve done it for my own campaigns.
The secret that I use to build and manage killer political campaign email lists is called Aweber, and I’m going to tell you exactly how I do it (one requirement: you have to have a campaign website to use this secret email list-building tactic!)
Aweber is a service that lets you create professional sign up forms for your campaign website, collect the email addresses of voters who visit your site, and send out an automated series of emails to them. Aweber makes it super easy for you to make your own sign up form, choose from tons of styles and colors, and even gives you tips on how to design the form to get more people to enter their email addresses.
Step One: Build & Publicize Your Sign Up Form
Here’s the first secret to using Aweber to win your political campaign: sign up for Aweber and put the form in a prominent place on your site.
Make sure your form invites visitors to sign up for your “official newsletter,” and give them a convincing reason why they should enter their email address (for instance, “sign up for our official newsletter and find out what our campaign is doing before everyone else!”)
You could even entice people to sign up for your newsletter by offering free admission to a future campaign fundraiser or event . . . which will help you both build your voter email list and get more bodies at your fundraiser.
But don’t just wait for voters to find your site online and sign up for your campaign newsletter! You need to be aggressive in marketing your website and newsletter offline, too. Put your website address in a prominent place on your campaign literature; send out a press release announcing your new campaign email newsletter; send out a targeted mailer inviting people to visit your site and sign up . . . whatever you need to do to increase the number of people on your Aweber list!
Step Two: Create Your New Subscriber Followup Email
Effectively using voter email marketing for your political campaign isn’t just about building a huge email list; it’s also about managing the messages you send to them . . . and Aweber does an amazing job at exactly that. In fact, as soon as someone signs up for your campaign newsletter, Aweber will automatically send them a “followup” welcome email that you design ahead of time.
At the end of your followup welcome email and all subsequent emails, make sure that you always include information on how subscribers can donate to your campaign, volunteer to help, and the location of your Twitter and Facebook Fan Page (if you have them).
One of the most important features of your followup welcome email should be a promise that you won’t spam your subscriber list with tons of messages . . . and make sure you keep this promise! Sending out more than one email every few weeks won’t get more people to donate or volunteer for you’re campaign; it will just get them to unsubscribe from your list!
Step Three: Create Automated Campaign Email Series
While you can use your Aweber campaign email list to keep subscribers up-to-date on breaking news and events–which I encourage–you can also use the program to pre-schedule a series of emails that can be set to send out on specific dates.
This is a great feature for a few reasons: one, because it will allow you to save time by writing your voter emails months ahead of time; and two, because it will let you create a series of emails that can follow a progressive theme.
For instance, let’s say that your campaign is focused on the three themes of lower taxes, safer streets and cleaner neighborhoods. One effective way to use your Aweber email list would be to send out one newsletter that focuses on lower taxes three months before the election; another that focuses on safer streets two months before the election; and a final newsletter that focuses on cleaner neighborhoods one month before the election.
There are endless variations of this example that you can apply to pre-scheduled email automation for your own campaign; just be sure not to send out too many or you’ll risk ticking off your subscribers!
Step Four: Keep Growing Your Aweber Email List Over Time!
Aweber lets you automatically email every one of the people on your list with the click of a button, so it’s a tool that becomes even more useful as your mailing list grows. Can you imagine how long it would take to send a separate email to 500 people on a list?
That’s why it’s important to keep developing your Aweber email list . . . even after the election is over. If you do win your campaign and become an elected official, then your Aweber list can help you easily keep your constituents updated on important news. And if you do come up short on election day, you can use your list to update supporters on future campaign efforts.
By no means does this post explain all of the great ways you can use Aweber to win your political campaign, but I hope it gives you a good idea of how effective the service is. Remember: the secret to success with campaign email marketing is to start building your list right away so it gets as large as possible . . . so sign up for Aweber today!