My friend Jason Keath forwarded me this email from President Obama earlier today:
Notice anything “interesting” about it?
Two things jump out at me right away.
- It’s missing a subject line.
- It’s mostly text, with a single call to action (link to donate) that’s the full URL.
My immediate reply to Jason was, “Oops. Looks like they forgot to include the subject line.” Then Jason fired this back to me:
I seriously doubt it was a mistake. Their email strategy is given a lot of attention to detail. I think it is an attempt to make it feel personal. Normal people send emails without subject lines sometimes. Who knows, that was my instinct. It was different. Different gets opens.
Which got me thinking…maybe Jason is right. It got him to open, right? As I dig deeper into the idea of “breaking the rules” of email marketing, Jason’s comments really hit home. “It was different. Different gets opens.”
In 2008, I met the guy in charge of email marketing and social media strategy for the Obama campaign. This was nearly 4 years ago, so I can’t recall the full conversation. However, I do remember him making the point that their email strategy was very deliberate, very planned. Along with social media, they took email marketing very seriously as it generated a ton of campaign contributions.
Assuming that’s still the case in 2012 – which I have no reason to believe it’s not – than maybe Jason was right. Maybe this was not a mistake. Maybe it was an attempt to “make it feel personal” or to “be different.” On top of that, the email was short, to the point, and had a single call to action – the full URL of the link to donate. Instead of a fancy HTML email with a picture of President Obama or the White House; instead of a big “Donate Now” button, Team Obama sent a mostly text email. A no subject line, mostly-text email … from the President of the United States. Certainly their team is not short of resources, right?
Of course, this is all just speculation. If anyone knows the folks in charge of the President’s email marketing campaigns, please let me know. I’d love to learn how effective this email was – opens, clicks, donation dollars, etc. Or, maybe it was a mistake and an “oopsy” apology email will be coming soon.
One thing I was a bit surprised (disappointed?) in was they did not include any social sharing icons. To me, this type of email is very sharable. Chances are if you are an Obama fan, many of your friends on Facebook are. It’s also possible some of your Twitter or Google+ followers support Obama and would donate. I’m curious why they did not include those social sharing icons. Intentional?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I’d also love to hear from Team Obama. Can anyone connect me?
Speaking of breaking the rules, Jason Falls and I just wrote a new book on that very topic!
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