The Intersection: Jan 2014

Welcome to The Intersection, a series designed to help you anticipate and prepare for public policy challenges and opportunities.

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Advance Your Email Outreach without Sending More Email

Your supporters love your positions. However, they hate it when you over-saturate their inbox. Communicating by email is still the most effective way to inform, persuade and mobilize your core supporters. Unfortunately, most advocacy and electoral campaigns abuse their email lists to the point of malpractice. Now, there’s a new way to avoid this pitfall.

Because of its rich targeting, online advertising reaches just about every internet-using American. Using a simple tactic called “retargeting,” you can deliver online ads to the people on your email list, and thus deliver fewer emails. You can use these ads to follow-up after an email and reinforce ideas, raise money, drive action and much more. Instead of sending 10 emails a week to your supporters, use retargeting to deliver follow-up ad impressions to your email list while sending only two or three emails.

There’s nothing new about retargeting–we’ve been doing it for years. But only recently have the smartest campaigns been employing this tactic to deliver specific online ads to email subscribers. It’s incredibly simple and cheap.

"Remember that ads can deliver things an email can't, such as video or animation."To start retargeting your ads to your email list, your ad agency or your web master will place a retargeting pixel on your email signup confirmation web page. This will cookie people once they sign-up. Retargeting pixels can also be triggered when your existing subscribers click on links in the emails you send them. Over time, you will build up a pool of email subscribers whom you have also cookied for ad delivery. Your ad agency or network can then deliver specific ads to just these people. And remember that ads can deliver things an email can’t, such as video or animation.

Your email list is one of your most precious assets. It is something to protect, cultivate and respect. So if you want to put your ideas in front of the constituents and supporters on your email list more frequently, consider retargeting some online ads to these people.