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Getting ready for 2020? Local political campaigns are using more email

Bundle in third party targeted email lists for political candidates

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While media are putting together their political media kits this summer, it’s time to take a look at how email will fit in. What lists does your media company own? What additional lists could you resell under your own brand via a third party, to match targets desired by campaigns and PACs?

A first step is to assess your owned-emails and what you know about them. Then consider supplementing via a third provider of opt-in email such as Site Impact. Not only can they augment the list under your brand, adding revenue, but also they can segment down to granular political levels in larger markets as well as add breadth in smaller markets.

With 750 filters, Site Impact, for example, can allow local candidates to select from registered voters, Republican and Democrat filters and even more conservative or liberal within those categories, plus seven other political parties from Green to Independent.

Non-declared, for example, can be a big focus for some candidates. Other targets such as age and gender (women are swinging left while white men are swinging right) and education also allow candidates to deeply target people more likely to vote.

This was very true at the local level in 2018, when more candidates reached out to voters at the local level by buying email. On the hyper-local level, the targets are broader, and may just be “consumers” in general, but a list of 25,000 or more is still obtainable in most smaller markets.

Statewide and national races, on the other hand, may be more interested in adding filters such as party affiliation and other criteria.

While we are used to receiving emails from presidential candidates, most people have never been on the receiving end of an email from a local candidate and this outreach can make them feel included and recognized.

Here are a few strategies from Site Impact’s 2018 clients, starting at the state senate level with an informal message about public safety and “people before politics.” This email acquired 14.74% open rate and 2% click through rate on 75,244 opt0in emails from statewide targeting liberal Democrats and registered voters.

Another 2.15% click through rate went to the congressional candidate below, who used email to emphasize his track record in the state legislature to 100,000 Democrat, liberal and registered voters.

On the Republican side, a candidate for local judge - not usually thought of as a newspaper advertiser - targeted 44,327 consumers in Midland, Texas with email. He obtained a 10.42% open rate and 1.5% clicks from voters. That is more than 4,400 with an interest in the race itself, and 500 with enough of an interest in his candidacy to click to the website.

How small is too small when it comes to a local candidate? What about the county assessor?  Below is a candidate for county assessor who bought an email campaign, with a promise to free-up $1.2 million for the county school system. His campaign got another substantial 11.79% open rate with 2.11% clicks to his website. By broadening the target, he was still able to reach 25,700 local voters and consumers with the message on a race that may otherwise have been overlooked.

Finally here is a candidate for a state house race, running on his record, with virtually the same results. He only needed to reach his own district and was able to do so using email and a more general target.

So follow our mantra: Call on all the candidates. Bundle the buys for local candidates and include an email option, augmenting with a third party for more and better targeting.


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