What Makes Obama and McCain Supporters Click?

Short headlines, text (not HTML) emails, clear messaging, and different perspectives.  That’s what the two major campaigns are doing.

Subject lines

To get people to open, candidates are using subject lines that are short and sweet.  As seen on ClickZ, the candidates have used very simple subject lines such as "Appalling" and "Imagine."  According to a MailerMailer study, it was found that open rates were 5.1% higher for subject lines under 35 characters and that click through rates were 1.7% better.  See the study.

Text emails

Interestingly, the politicians are publishing primarily using text-based emails, not nicely designed HTML.  There could be a number of reasons, but they focus on a personal style, typically with a couple text links for calls to action (e.g. volunteer in your town today) and usually one graphical link.

Clear messaging

If nothing else, the email needs to be clear and to the point, and candidates are sticking to one simple point in each email.  For example, Obama announced his clear response to McCain’s personal attacks with a single email with a link to Obama’s video about McCain and the Keating scandal.  The call to action is clear – watch the video and tell your friends.

Change it up with different perspectives

While the candidates have had a history of using, at times, too many variations of their From address, they offer a variety of perspectives by sending email from other supporters, spouses, or appropriate individuals.  Recipients don’t always connect with the person speaking, so by changing the writer the recipient may end up connecting better with someone else, and ultimately support the overall position as a result.

Read more about email marketing in the 2008 political sphere:

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