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View Diary: How BC04 made better use of its email list (238 comments)

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  •  no (none)
    there is a big difference.  the only times when direct mail and bulk emailing is very similar is during the monitary asks.  however, even there differences emerge.  you can go back to the email well for money more often than traditional mailing.  the writing style is different and typically much shorter.  it is much easier to goal based e-fundraising than traditional bulk mail.  additionally, you could never rent your org's email list out to another group in the way many groups do with snail mail lists.
    •  forest and trees (none)
      Again, you are missing the forest for the trees. The essential element of direct mail is that the seller is communicating directly with the prospective buyer -- whether it's through snail mail or e-mail doesn't change the direct nature of the communication.

      E-mail is certainly cheaper than snail mail, for obvious reasons, but that doesn't change the fundamental nature of the communication. Nor does writing style change the fundamental nature of the communication. Writing style is partly a function of the mode of communication, sure. For example, in a snail mail direct mail piece, there are certain conventions you should follow that don't apply to e-mail, such as having the last sentence on the page carry over to the next page, to keep people reading.  Writing style is also driven by the nature of the product, however. You use a different writing style when promoting a political candidate or charity, for example, than you would when selling nutritional supplements.  As for whether you would rent out your lists, that again doesn't change the fundamental nature of the communication.  There is much more negative karma associated with spam at this time, which makes it harder to sell/rent e-mail lists.  The key factor in selling the lists is the integrity of the list owner. Some are committed to protecting their relationship with their customers, and some are not.

      •  i believe we are looking at this (none)
        issue from two different perspectives.  i am interested in how we are doing with our e-communications as compared to the Republicans.  i believe that they have a much better tech infustructure, but they do not hold all the cards when it comes to fundraising.  they are very good in the mail, but we kicked their @ss in fundraising on the net.  we may have abused the list a bit, but we brought in the cash.
        •  Now we are in sync! (none)
          Oh, now we are definitely in 100% agreement.  I think that we used e-mail pretty well to raise money (thank you, Dr. Dean!).  It's an open question whether we overdid it, with too many solicitations than we needed, resulting in turning off people.  I was certainly turned off, but not enough for me to withhold my vote.

          I would hope that we can catch up to the Republicans in terms of the other part of your equation -- communication. Now that the DNC has such a huge e-mail list, there should be two-way communication on a monthly basis (at least), updating us about issues, and soliciting our advice on various matters.  If the DNC is smart, they will NOT include any solicitations for at least 6 months.

    •  Email lists are rented all the time (none)
      Just like in direct mail lists are compiled, bought, traded, rented and sold all the time.

      The value of email direct marketing is the cost of a mailing is so much lower than the regular kind.

      The failure of a badly done email campaign is that people tune it out like all the other Bulk Commercial Email they get -- the ubiquitous spam.

      Email marketing can be tremendously powerful -- if you build up a relationship with your readers.  Simply considering that they are a source of cash is not just abusive of the relationship but in the long run unprofitable.

      A good email series will over time sort and qualify your list, so that you don't dun those who are having trouble keeping a roof over their heads but would be willing to write an LTE that clarifies the campaign position for their local newspaper readership. In this and other ways you would inspire and encourage each to give as each can.

      I'm working on a book about using your web site and emails to help small business owners run and promote their business, so I have done a lot of research and thinking on the issue.  I'm surprised to read that the Kerry campaign did not get some of the basic principles of marketing let alone email marketing.

      •  i have not (none)
        come across a non-profit that rents its list out and i have worked for a couple and get over 40 of them feeding into a website i run.  there is a difference between e-marketing for businesses and e-activism, both in tactics and demographics.
        •  Fair enough (none)
          In terms of renting out lists with the orgs you deal with.
          Do you think the Right's "faith" based organizations were so circumspect?

          The right to privacy is a serious issue to grapple with and many average web surfers have no idea what they agree to when they request some sort of information.  They fail to read the fine print that expressively gives permission for their email address to be "shared".

          Do you think no one asked anyone on their org's list to somehow join another list, ie by responding to some sort of poll or request for information?  

          That no one shared their mailing list by writing about some other org's concern with directions on how to get involved in that org's list?

          Whether for business or for non profit both sides need to build relationships with their readers, need to ask them what their problems are and how happy they are with the service you provide.  

          I think you can read here how many people feel that the email campaigns they were subjected to did not do these things.  And it seems to me the KE suffered for it.

          •  i should clarify (none)
            I wrote:"They fail to read the fine print that expressively gives permission for their email address to be "shared"."

            I should have said:"They fail to read the fine print on some sites that expressively gives permission for their email address to be "shared"."  

            And that those sites don't have to be non profits to sell/rent their email lists to non profits.

            •  sure they all have a privacy policy (none)
              which you can usually get at on the bottom of the website here are some examples here  here and here.  most orgs have very detailed ones that do not permit them to rent their list.  

              that said once they do in some form have your name they do not fail to use it to the max.  users frequently find that when they sign a petition that they somehow failed to read the fine print or uncheck a box that automatically signed them up for the list.  most of the orgs employ compainies like Kintera or GetActive that create their websites and their activism centers.  these companies have regulations that they set for unsubscribe links and how easily you can get someone on your list.  beyond that the organization sets up the full privacy policy that goes into more detail.

        •  ACLU (none)
          Actually, the ACLU rents out it's mailing list (I don't know about e-mail, however) pretty shamelessly considering what the organization is all about. I made a donation to the ACLU, using my middle name in addition to my first and last name...and in a short time I was subjected to a flood of solicitations from liberal organizations, all addressed to me using my middle name.
          •  yup (none)
            pretty standard practice i am afraid. HRC, Sierra Club, they all do it.  the funny thing is that they sell each other their lists and it goes round and round.  it is pretty refreshing not to have it happen with email.  people get enough spam the last thing they want is an organization they respect and trust passing on their email address.

            p.s. if you dont want an org to sell your name, just make sure your request it when you sign up.  they let you know in the fine print of most mailings if you are a member that there are options out.  it is a simple change to a flag in a database for them.

            •  Ears are burning (none)
              Oh my, not 5 minutes after I posted about the ACLU selling my name, my phone rings and it's the ACLU!!!!
              •  lol (none)
                you can ask to get off their phone list too.  or just tell them to bug you once a year to renew.  oh and a good option is to give once a month, they can gouge you for a fair amount, but you never get renewal notices or phone calls unless they screw up.

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