It is perplexing how many campaigns utilize e-mail solely to solicit money without ever building a rapport with supporters or enticing supporters with insider bits of information. This practice goes entirely against the basic tenets of sales and inhibits digital success.
Dr. Jeffrey Lant, a leading scholar in marketing and sales, coined the “rule of seven.” The idea is it takes seven marketing touches before a marketing message or sales pitch will have any significant impact. For campaigns, a supporter joining your newsletter isn’t enough. You still need to win their hearts. By making them feel a part of the campaign, they will be happy to contribute when the time comes.
In his book, The Audacity to Win, David Plouffe discusses how the Obama campaign decided to announce the selection of Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate over text message, as opposed to a traditional press conference or event. The campaign saw two primary benefits from such a decision. First, it would grow the campaign’s text messaging database, which ultimately rose from a few hundred thousand phone numbers to millions. Secondly, it made the campaign’s fervent supporters feel even closer to Obama, truly believing they were a part of history by hearing about the Vice Presidential selection before anyone else.
Plouffe also highlights in his book how the Obama campaign was careful not to ask for money too often in its e-mails and when it did, would go out of its way to explain why the money was important. For instance, in an e-mail to Florida supporters, Plouffe shot a video explaining the campaign’s Florida budget and how an additional $4 million could be the difference between winning and losing the sunshine state.
Want to raise $20,000 in the final 12 hours before the FEC reporting deadline? Need another $50,000 for more television advertising during the campaign’s final week? Then be sure to do the due diligence early. Send supporters insider tidbits or videos about the campaign. E-mail instructions on how to obtain bumper stickers or free campaign paraphernalia. Initiate contests such as the volunteer who knocks on the most doors in a weekend wins a free dinner with the candidate.
Above all else, do not fall into the trap where all you send is solicitations for money. Because not only will supports not contribute, they will also stop reading your e-mails.
Editor Note: Apologies for the lag time between articles. A combination of leaving town, work obligations and illness placed this blog post on the backburner. Thank you for your understanding and continued readership.