The title of this post was exactly what I typed into the google search bar, I wasn’t impressed when the search came back with dozens of articles dating back to 2012 and talking about the second presidential campaign of Barack Obama. It is widely known in the marketing world that the Obama presidential campaigns represented a breakthrough in political-marketing due to the use of digital platforms specially; email, websites and social networks.
But first let’s take a step forward, how do you measure the success of an email campaign? Well the answer is depends! Some obvious indicators of performance are; Open rates, clickthrough rates, forwarding or sharing, bounce rates, etc. But we say it depends because everything has to tied up to what you as a marketer are trying to accomplish, your conversion!
In the case of President Obama’s second campaign their conversion was to get donations from his followers. People who had provided their emails to the campaign received such emails asking for donations and had to click through the link to land in the donations website, and finally donate money. It was a much harder process that it seems, the campaign had to secure a huge database of emails (with consent, obviously), design the email in such a way that it would end on their followers inbox and at last, redact it in a way that encouraged the followers to complete the action.
To accomplish such tasks the campaign relied on A/B testing, a statistical tool that helps marketers to discover the best possible combination of variables in order to obtain more interactions. Sometimes the campaign would test as much as 18 variations of the content and subject lines before sending one email! The work paid off, according to Bloomberg Business, most of the $690 millions that the campaign raised online came directly from emails. The success that the campaign had in email marketing provided the President with a clear advantage in founding over his competitors, having a profound impact in the outcome of the elections.