Consultants continue to scale more sophisticated campaign operations for the down-ballot market with email content the latest offering aimed at smaller races.
Everything from media buying to canvassing organization to direct mail is being scaled to campaigns operating below the top-tier budget level, foreshadowing an era when a candidate might just be enabled to run a sophisticated consultant-driven race without having to retain the actual consultants.
Earlier this week BuzzMaker unveiled the beta of its Accelerate platform, allowing Democratic users for $250 a month to access email templates that users can customize for their own program.
“Think of it as a stock photo site for digital fundraising copy,” Matthew McMillan president of BuzzMaker, told C&E. “What we noticed was that in order to run a fundraising campaign you either have to hire a staffer or pay a consultant thousands of dollars a month.”
The emails available range from GOTV (“Plans tomorrow?”) to fundraising (“Fight for the future”) to even losing missives to supporters (“Hard times”). They can be customized and then the HTML code can be pasted in CRMs ranging from NationBuilder to MailChimp to NGP VAN.
McMillan argues that the price point is the equivalent of five small donations, whereas most down-ballot campaigns have trouble turning a profit if they retain an email consultant.
It gives campaigns “the ability to run, profitable, cost-effective email campaigns for the long tail,” he said. “The real focus of this is empowering the down-ballot race.”
Even with customization there’s a risk of sounding too rote with an email template. In fact, email consultants argue that personality and quality of writing plays a big part in a successful fundraising pitch. But McMillan says that even when campaigns are writing their own copy, “staffers end up writing emails that, for all intents and purposes, end up being somewhat similar.”
Of course there are plenty of other risks associated with an email program that a consultant could help navigate. Acquisition and deliverability are complicated. For instance, ESP’s have a classification called “prohibited content” that a self-directed campaign could inadvertently try to distribute. That could affect overall deliverability and, in turn, the amount of money the campaign raises.
Regardless, consultants continue to see a market for scaled-down versions of their services. BuzzMaker’s offering comes on the heels of direct mail consultants on the left rolling out their own DIY platforms, including Karen Petel’s Custom Campaign Mail and Storefront Political Media’s SpeakEasy Political.