This year has turned the world of digital marketing upside down. While there have been some benefits, like the huge spikes in availability for OTT television, the many new demands on people's attention have made it difficult to attract and retain audiences. Nowhere has this challenge been greater than for those seeking to grow an email list.
So how can you adapt your list-building strategy to a world where people are already feeling overburdened by digital communications? Our shop recently conducted a nationwide survey of voters in partnership with C&E, and the findings provided some surprising results. Here are three lessons that we took away from the data:
1. Make asks that let voters feel like they’re making an immediate impact.
While only 8 percent of people told us that they’d donated to a campaign online in the past year, 14 percent of voters said they had personally emailed an elected official – an increase of 6 points from when we asked the same question at the start of the year.
Voters are more focused on the politics of the moment than November. For the savvy campaign, this is an energy that you can and should be using to your advantage. While people may be less willing than usual to sign up for yet another email list, they’re more ready than ever to take actions that they feel can make an immediate impact. Learn from advocacy campaigns that use easy actions to build email lists quickly. If your candidate supports expanding paid family and sick leave, ask your targets to sign a petition. If you're a co-sponsor of a bill to reform policing, then encourage your targets to use your platform to send elected officials a message.
2. The energy is in the issues of the day – use it.
Voters are consuming news at an astounding rate – 50 percent of voters said they were consuming more online news than before the pandemic (only 8 percent said they were doing so less). This increased attention to the news means that voters are more attuned than ever to the issues of the day. The best example of this is the rapid growth in momentum behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. When we conducted our survey, 68 percent of voters said they supported advertising from political organizations that focused on BLM, including a massive 91 percent of Black voters. It’s clear that voters will reward you for not shying away from the issues of the day in your list-building efforts.
3. It’s still the right time to be talking about the pandemic.
If you feared that there would be a decline in the public’s interest in messaging around pandemic response, our survey makes clear the opposite is true. We also found that majorities of voters said they had been hearing “too little” or “not at all” from their senator and member of Congress about the pandemic, so even if you feel like you have been communicating about it non-stop since March, your voters disagree.
By following these three lessons you’ll be better placed to navigate what remains a difficult situation for list builders. But as with almost all the lessons we’ve learned in recent months, one rule sits above all others – adaptability is key. Continue to be flexible and experiment, and you’ll be well placed to succeed in these challenging conditions.
Luke Partridge is a Director at Global Strategy Group where he specializes in digital communications for campaigns, businesses, and causes.