Winning email subject headings from the Obama campaign

email marketing_learn from the master

Email is one of the oldest online marketing tools that exist today. While many businesses focus on newer online tools, such as social media sites, email remains a tried and tested method. As long as you have permission to email, you can build on this relationship that starts with a simple email.

I’ve been using email marketing for the past couple of years. It has produced some great sales, great feedback and I’ve really enjoyed it. And the more I test, the more I learn.

Obama’s email campaign 2012

It was with this mind that I got interested in the Obama campaign last year. I signed up for their email to watch and learn from the masters. I was so intrigued. What I learned the most was that Obama’s team use the same approach I do – one email, one message, one call to action.

Related Article: Achievement Principle No. 5: Keep it simple when emailing 

Email Headlines

I read this wonderful article on Businessweek – The Science behind those Obama Campaign Emails

Just look at the high performing subject lines. The highest performing ones use a variety of topics and contexts – intrigue, curiosity, invitations, emotion. There is a lot that can be learned from studying headlines such as these ones.






























The Businessweek article goes on to discuss the testing that the campaign did. “We did extensive A-B testing not just on the subject lines and the amount of money we would ask people for,” says Amelia Showalter, director of digital analytics, “but on the messages themselves and even the formatting.” The campaign would test multiple drafts and subject lines—often as many as 18 variations—before picking a winner to blast out to tens of millions of subscribers. “When we saw something that really moved the dial, we would adopt it,” says Toby Fallsgraff, the campaign’s e-mail director, who oversaw a staff of 20 writers.

Regular emails work

The last point that I took from the article is people’s propensity to receive email and not unsubscribe. While we might all be led to believe that we are spamming people if we email them to much, the tests for Obama’s emails proved interesting.

“Fortunately for Obama and all political campaigns that will follow, the tests did yield one major counter-intuitive insight: Most people have a nearly limitless capacity for e-mail and won’t unsubscribe no matter how many they’re sent. “At the end, we had 18 or 20 writers going at this stuff for as many hours a day as they could stay awake,” says Fallsgraff. “The data didn’t show any negative consequences to sending more.””

So in summary, take another look at how you are doing email marketing. $600 million and an ideal job are two great achievement for Obama. But you could easily achieve results in your business, if you learn from the masters.

Have you any examples of good email marketing?


Photo images courtesy of the Business Week article.

About the Author

Denise FayI'm Denise Fay, an international marketing communications advisor. For over 16 years, I've been helping corporations and business owners to promote themselves by communicating the right message with the right audience. They achieve clarity, leads and sales. I'm also an award-winning author, engaging speaker, entrepreneur, business owner and mum of two, I have written copy that has won awards, won clients and most importantly, built relationships. Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to how we relate to others. And writing great copy that engages with your reader is well worth its weight in gold. You too can find wealth in your relationships. I can guide and help you find your words, create an engaging message and build a relationship that results in repeat sales with your customers & leads. Contact me today to get started. Come find me on Google+View all posts by Denise Fay →

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