Don’t buy a list of political email addresses – learn how to make one
There are ads on the Internet to buy a political email. As easy as it may sound, don’t do it – D.or don’t buy a political mailing list. They are a waste of money, they can damage your online reputation and upset voters. Instead, build a list organically. Creating a political mailing list is a tall order, but with a few tactics, planning, and patience, you can increase your supporter base.
What is a political mailing list?: We define a political mailing list as a mailing list of people to engage, connect and persuade in a district or area you are running in. This list is for persuasion rather than fundraising, but you may also be able to convert these people into donors.
Opt-in vs. non-opt-in vs. cold opt-in emails: Activation emails are when someone has chosen to subscribe to your email list. This means that you agree to be part of a list and that the entity uses the list. This is the gold standard of lists. Opt-out emails occur when an individual has not consented to sign up. This occurs when the list is created through a match and people who have not opted for themselves. A cold opt-in list is when someone has joined, but not your organization. This is when your list comes from another organization or group they’ve joined, but not your entity.
Political email vs political fundraising email: In this post, we talk about emails to use for persuasion. If you want our opinion on fundraising email lists, go here
Don’t spam: Sending an email to a non-opt-in list is bad news. While some political emails are exempt from spam laws, not all are (check with your lawyer). Spamming people who haven’t joined an email list has real consequences. You risk being marked as spam for any email you send. Do not purchase a non-opt-in policy email list. If you have spent some money on it, I would suggest you ask for your money back.
Friends and family: If you’re new to the rush for the office, your email list will start with your friends, family, and contacts you’ve maintained over the years. This may be a relatively small list to start with, but over the course of your campaign you will continue to grow your list.
Clear registration form: You should make sure your website includes a simple and clear form for people subscribe for your email list. Your registration CTA should be front and center on the home page (along with a donate button) and on subsequent pages. Social media accounts should also encourage people to join your list. When organizing events, be sure to include a sign-up sheet so people can join your list. This offline action can help convert people into online supporters and donors.
Exit pop-ups: People hate pop-ups for good reason, but in moderation they work well. We use a tool called OptinMonster on many sites that has an easy exit pop-up tool that can help you get more opt-ins for your list without too much effort or friction with your website visitors.
Use petitions: Petition campaigns are a great way to grow your list. You can send a petition to your email list and ask them to sign it, then pass it on to their family and friends. Additionally, you can ask other like-minded organizations or candidates to share your petition with their list. You can also use Facebook ads or a publisher like Care2 to collect email addresses. This is different from buying a list because people choose your list.
Use social groups: Facebook, Google, and other social groups are potential places to engage other like-minded people and increase memberships. Make sure you follow the group rules.
Podcast: Being a host on podcasts can help foster connection and engagement. Links on linked websites can also help with your authority and engagement.
Guest Blog: blog on other sites you can create good back links to your site. It can also create real engagement from people who see your content in high-profile publications and then click on the links that lead to your site.
Request email at the door: Strategies in the field can produce many results: email is one of them. Knocking on the door and signing petitions at in-person events can find you engaged voters, as well as potential volunteers and donors. Collect emails whenever you can.
Zoom Calls: The darkness of the zoom is real. You might be bored with Zoom calls, but it’s a good way to build an opt-in email list by getting a bunch of people on one call. Invite friends of friends, create a host committee and create a new list by organizing virtual community events and cafes.
List exchanges: Be careful when sharing lists and always … always use best practices. That said, partnering with others who have a larger list could help you grow your list. It can benefit their roster too, so it’s a win for everyone.
free swag: The campaigns were very successful with bumper stickers and magnetic campaigns. The free swag offer really seems to appeal to people, and this has consistently worked to grow email lists organically. You’re probably making those magnets and bumper stickers anyway, right? Use them to your advantage!
Your email segment: People will join your list for several reasons; politics, personality, connection with you or opposition to your opponent. Understand why people sign up and communicate with them about it.
Test your emails: The best part about email is that you can test out different ideas, so try a few different tactics and see which one carries the newest names. Remember, building your list is only one piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve brought in new supporters, it’s important to nurture that relationship and make sure they remain your long-term supporters.
Be consistent: Make sure you communicate with your list on a regular and consistent basis. Many people make the mistake of not communicating with their list for a while and then suddenly over-communicating with them. Consistency is better.
Understand your metrics: Your metrics can tell you a lot: who is opening emails, when they are opening them, and also why they are opening. With all of this information, you can refine your content, ask clearer questions, and keep your list by knowing how to deliver to your audience.
Re-engagement campaigns: If you see people disrupting or slowing down engagement, try a re-engagement campaign or a series of emails to get people back in your emails.
Get rid of dead wood: If people aren’t interacting with your emails and aren’t responding to a re-engagement campaign, delete them from your list, but try to understand why. How did they get in? Many of the same people have disengaged. Learn from this.
Give value: People will interact with your list if they think they are getting something from it. A policy, story, or political information can be helpful in making a long-term commitment. If all requests are fundraising requests, you will likely burn your list.
Bottom line: Don’t buy a listing. Take the time to create an organic list from scratch and you will reap benefits. List purchases, mostly out of persuasion, fail or get your site listed as spam. Yes, it will take a long time to create an organic list, but stick to it and it will work for you in the long run.
Do you have questions about creating a political mailing list? Write us a note.