Marketers are reading with great interest this fascinating Time Magazine piece on the use of big data, email marketing, and data insights that drove the campaign of President Barack Obama to re-election this week. While it’s an interesting read by itself, take note of some of the practices you can incorporate into your email marketing program today.
1. Identify easy win backs:
“Early on, for example, the campaign discovered that people who had unsubscribed from the 2008 campaign e-mail lists were top targets, among the easiest to pull back into the fold with some personal attention. The strategists fashioned tests for specific demographic groups, trying out message scripts that they could then apply.”
This is a terrific strategy for getting people to come back. Look at your holiday email lists, for example, from 2011. Now look at those lists and who unsubscribed right after the holidays because they got what they wanted. This would be the perfect time for a separate re-engagement campaign to ask, “hey, you shopped with us last year – would you like to re-subscribe to see what we have in store for you this year?”
2. Testing is paramount:
“A large portion of the cash raised online came through an intricate, metric-driven e-mail campaign in which dozens of fundraising appeals went out each day. Here again, data collection and analysis were paramount. Many of the e-mails sent to supporters were just tests, with different subject lines, senders and messages.”
The campaign raised over a billion dollars through effective testing to see what worked best, what resonated best, what segments outperformed other segments. Slice and dice your email marketing as many ways as your data permits and test everything.
3. Track, analyze, and message your data sources:
“The numbers also led the campaign to escort their man down roads not usually taken in the late stages of a presidential campaign. In August, Obama decided to answer questions on the social news website Reddit, which many of the President’s senior aides did not know about. “Why did we put Barack Obama on Reddit?” an official asked rhetorically. “Because a whole bunch of our turnout targets were on Reddit.””
One of the simplest tricks you can do with your email marketing is to integrate Google Analytics data into your list, so that you can know where subscribers are coming from. Analyzing that data can yield surprising new segments to communicate with, such as Reddit users were for the campaign. For specific instructions on how to do this integration, read this blog post. Imagine being able to find subscribers who came just from an online advertisement you were running or just from your Facebook page, then being able to create highly targeted, highly relevant messages just for them.
Take these lessons from the most expensive political campaign in American history and apply them to your own marketing to improve your success. After all, we paid $6 billion collectively for these lessons – get some value out of those education dollars!
Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts
(disclaimer: WhatCounts did not and does not endorse any political party, candidate, or viewpoint)
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