Blue Utopia Blog

Building Your Email List

Mon, Apr 22, 2019 - 02:54 PM

Building Your Email List

Before anything can begin, you must put some attention to creating your initial list and a strategy for growing it over time.

Start with the emails you have stored at various locations. 
If you’re starting from ground zero, go to all the places you have emails -- LinkedIn, facebook, the candidate’s rolodex, Gmail, Outlook etc. Gather these lists from all the sources you have. If you’ve raised money on external systems like PayPal or ActBlue, get those lists too. Treat this as your potential universe – emphasis on potential because you don’t want to just throw these people on your email list and start emailing them. Even though you have some email history with them, they didn’t ask to receive emails from you so don’t make the mistake of thinking you have automatic permission to their inbox. You do have to start somewhere though, so start with this list. Just send an email with a polite request for permission and an easy way for them to say no thanks.
Repeat with team members
Every member of the team has a network of friends. Getting the team to introduce the cause or candidates is a great way to get exposure. Since there is no direct link to these people, it’s better to treat this as a one-time mailing unless they specifically opt-in.
Optimized web signup

Be sure your form for joining your email list is clean, easily visible, and requires no unnecessary information for people to join your list.  

Connect your systems and social networks
One of the biggest impediments to building a large email audience is disparate systems with siloed lists. Getting people from all the tools that you use in your campaign onto your email list is critical to building your email reach. Connect your facebook signup to your email or CRM system. Where there is no connection available, build a process for moving data periodically.
Integrate email signups with offline activities

At every interaction with your supporters, integrate a signup process of some kind. That could be something as simple as a signup sheet. Taken a step further, request attendees to rsvp. This provides an easy path to adding them to your list electronically. Then do this with all offline activities.  For example, make an ask in your outgoing letters to share their email.  

Send an intro
It’s not always reasonable to get specific permission for everyone you will probably add to your email list. For example, if you’re using an online donation system from a 3rd party platform, you may not have the ability to add an opt-in field, but you still want these donors on your email list. So, set up a process for sending a welcome email to people newly added to your list. Here, you can welcome them to your team and offer a very easy chance to opt-out.
Advocate online
At the core of a campaign or cause is a set of common values and there are opportunities to build your audience around those. Petitions are a great tool for allowing your supporters to be heard and to help you build your reach. Depending on your campaign, opportunities can be as high-profile as a coal train traveling through your area, to a neighborhood project. Use these opportunities to allow your supporters to signup, share your message and build your audience.
Your first email
When a campaign or cause is just getting off the ground, an email list is typically limited to close supporters and friends of the candidate or board. This is a good opportunity to send a more intimate welcome email with an ask for help introducing the campaign or cause.

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