A freely given email address is worth more to your re-election then a new follower on Twitter or a Like on Facebook. Building your email list is part and parcel of your ongoing voter identification efforts, but your subscriber base in the 21st century is your political base.
Email marketing software allows you to personalize your relationship with thousands of people, and receive instant feedback on breaking issues.
Our latest survey of Conservative MP websites has revealed that the majority of websites did not have a subscription form for their newsletter. In our survey I also found that only 9% of Conservative MPs were using email marketing software to gather their subscribers.
In this post I’ll provide some tips on how to build your email list including:
- Making it easy to find the form
- Subscription friction
- Acknowledging the subscription
Making it Easy to Subscribe
If you want to harness the power of email, start with the sign up.
Step 1 is making sure you have a sign up form on your website.
Since there is a better then 50% chance you don’t have a form on your website right now, we will make that Step 2.
Step 3 is making the form prominent if not an impediment to going further into the site.
Two ways to achieve this:
- Create a splash page to act as an impediment
- Make the form so large it is unmistakable.
Some good examples include:
Failing the splash page or banner, repeating the form in the sidebar and footer, or even the post content will help convert visitors to subscribers.
Backbone MP Program websites see a significant drop in newsletter sign-ups, and those that do have them often create subscription friction.
Subscription friction is the resistance applied to the visitor completing the subscription process. Every additional field they have to complete is an opportunity to abandon the action.
Name and email is all you need. You will get the rest from them later, but you lose that chance if they abandon the action.
Don’t ask for too much, and don’t hide your form on a subpage, out of sight is out of mind.
Say Thank You for Subscribing
After they have joined your mailing list, send a confirmation notice that they have successfully joined your mailing list, and ask them to add you to their contact list.
Once your email address is in their contact list it will get past the spam filters random behavour (telling your constituents the details of a funding announcement with a big dollar value in the email body will get you filtered, use a picture).
Some services allow you to send a confirmation link with the notice, this is the double opt-in method.
The double opt-in can see you lose out on almost half your subscribers. Do not use the double opt in for your initial point of contact, like the newsletter.
Save the double-opt in for those lists you really want to measure the engagement in.
If you have had any successful methods for building up your MP email list, please feel free to share in the comments below.