Want to Engage? Give Subscribers the Edge.

File this under “how to really treat your subscribers with respect.” This week, Senator Barack Obama’s camp invited subscribers to sign up to be “among the first to know” his selection of a running mate. What a smart email marketing (and campaign building) idea! This is well executed on a number of levels:

  • A great way to treat subscribers like they are special. They are, of course. Especially for a campaign that prides itself on its grassroots heritage and success.
  • A once in a lifetime chance to create a super relevant message. The veep selection has to rank among the most buzz-worthy topic among subscribers as the convention countdown begins. Even though it makes so much sense, very few marketers really let the most loyal fans be among the first to know.
  • A powerful viral tool. Insider knowledge is a proven way to build word of mouth. The Obama campaign leaves nothing to chance, though, and states clearly in the message, “Once you’ve signed up, please forward this email to your friends, family, and coworkers to let them know about this special opportunity.”
  • A smart way to gain permission. Senator Obama does not assume that just because we are on the mailing list that we want this special, one time announcement. He asks us if we’d like to sign up. And presumably he will respect our wish to decline as well. On the sign up form, there is no mention of any other messages that will arrive if I sign up, and hopefully when this link is forwarded, new subscribers will only receive the alert they requested. An improvement would be to state that empirically.
  • A powerfully simple design. No wasted words here. It’s simple, to the point, with minimal graphics and straightforward copy. Good discipline – it would be disastrous to try to cloud the effort with other campaign messages.
  • It’s multi channel. There’s an invitation in the email message and on the sign up form to text in your request and get the alert on your mobile device. This will also give the campaign insight into how many of their subscribers prefer mobile as a way to keep in touch or receive breaking news.

While the Obama campaign has not managed their email program perfectly (for example, a couple of triggered messages this summer went to people that never signed up), they have done a great job of taking full advantage of this opportunity to engage with subscribers and build stronger loyalty and awareness.

See it for yourself:

Obama VP Invite Email

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