How Your Liberal Branch/Club/Division Can Massivly Improve Efficiency

I want to talk about emails & the Liberal Party.

After all, emails are the backbone of everything we do. From getting people to attend events, to read articles, to give donations – emails are the main focal point of much of our campaigning. Emails are pretty important. Yet we completely neglect them from any strategic perspective.

As a body fail to realise that we are not sending out emails just for the sake of it. We are sending them out for a specific purpose. We actually want action to be taken. We want people to actually do something as a result of the email. Yet we pay no attention to this. We do nothing to see how successful our emails are. We do not know if something works, or doesn’t. We are effectively shooting blind.

Indeed, for the most part we do not approach email in any sort of strategic manner. All we do is send out an email, and that’s it. Cross our fingers and hope people read it and take action. Which would be all well and good if we were still living in the 1990’s. But we’re not. Technology has advanced considerably and we need to take advantage of it.

What we need – desperately – to invest in email software with tracking and the capability to do proper analytics. What do I mean by this. I mean rather than doing it through a free server, we need email software that can tell us 1)how many people actually opened the email 2)how many people clicked on  a link in the email 3)how many people forwarded the email and so on. These are very basic, very simple, measurements of success. And yet we do not do them. Yet how can we move forward if we do not know if our actions are working or not?

But this is just the beginning. What you can then do is experiment with sample messages. For example, you can send out two batches of ‘test’ emails. Both identical in content, but with a different subject line. And then see which one people actually open. And then THAT subject line to the rest of your email list.

This isn’t rocket science. It is simply an easy, quantitative measure to be able to increase the efficiency of your actions. Considerably. And the cost is rather minor. Companies like mailchimp provide top of the line analytics for a very, very reasonable price. If you’re a small group interested in this, I might even chip in a bit of money to get this off the ground if you ask.

I have various samples and studies I’m unfortunately not able to post here backing up my point, but let me know if you’re interested in discussing this further and I’ll send them to you. Because we really do need to enter the 21st century.

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4 Responses to “How Your Liberal Branch/Club/Division Can Massivly Improve Efficiency”

  1. Otto - The L Party Says:

    Interesting! I might be heading up (Presidency) a Melbourne based branch soon .. have locked this email in memory banks and may follow up at a later date …

  2. Cam Says:

    Great post Tim – I’ve been playing with various mass email methods for ages and I can’t believe I’ve never had a crack at using a paid service like mailchimp for the Libs. I’ve used something similar for work and the feedback you collect is outstanding and worth every cent.

    I guess people forget that when it comes to online promotions – you get what you pay for, just like anything else. I think we get lazy and do things just because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ but a little bit of lateral thinking can go a long way.

    All too often, I receive a mass email promoting an event or meeting. Unfortunately the quality of the email impacts upon my willingness to take part.

    I hear the WA Liberal Party has recently invested in very expensive membership database which will be made available to branches and divisions. I hope the functionality you’ve described above will be included.

    I strongly encourage anyone reading Tim’s email to take him up on his offer and put a little bit of effort into improving your communications process. It’s a lot more important than you may think.

  3. Jacques Chester Says:

    Email ‘analytics’ are a detestable, pestilential invasion of privacy and I would actively seek to subvert any attempt to use them against my own inbox.

    They’re unreliable to boot. Any modern client blocks images and doesn’t execute embedded javascript.

  4. Jacques Chester Says:

    With that primal, nerdy scream out of the way, I can give you slightly more level-headed feedback.

    What you can then do is experiment with sample messages. For example, you can send out two batches of ‘test’ emails.

    This is called A/B testing. It can be useful, but you need a large enough sample or your test will be invalid. Essentially, if there are too few people to test on, you will essentially be recording randomness. Not very useful.

    Testing with two batches of 10, for example, is basically worthless. Depending on the level of confidence you might want anywhere from 50 to several hundred.

    I hear the WA Liberal Party has recently invested in very expensive membership database which will be made available to branches and divisions. I hope the functionality you’ve described above will be included.

    The best package around for membership management is probably CiviCRM, and it’s free. Included is functionality for events, linking emails to the system, donations management etc.

    Membership databases are old hat. If the party paid top $ — indeed if they paid anything other than for installation support — for a membership database they were soaked for chumps. It’s a problem that’s been solved more times than “1 + 1 = ?”.

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