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US election

Trump vs Clinton: Whose email marketing campaign has performed better?

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20th Oct 2016
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Following the latest round of debates, Hillary Clinton appears to have close to a six-point lead over Donald Trump in the race to be the next US president.

However, ‘the Donald’ can take comfort from the fact that he’s potentially outperforming Hillary in one crucial area: email marketing.

Email provider, Mailjet has been analysing the respective email marketing campaigns of the two candidates over a two month period, including all sent campaign emails and post-debate messages.

Each message has been ranked based on six crucial email facets: design, personalisation, content, subject line, call-to-action and cross-channel inclusion.

Overall, Trump’s emails have performed marginally better than Hillary’s, scoring an average of 12.9 out of 27, in relation to the 11 awarded to Hillary.

However, Hillary’s emails have underperformed in two key areas – call-to-action, which may not come as a huge surprise given Trump’s industrial and unsubtle rhetoric throughout the campaign, and personalisation – which will be considered more of a notable failure.

Clinton’s campaign has repeatedly avoided personalising any emails, opting for ‘Friend’ instead of the recipient’s name. In contrast, Trump’s campaign appears to lock into both area code and previous donation history to deliver more tailored messages, asking recipients to drum up support in their local area or encouraging them to increase their donations.  

The latter has been particularly successful: Trump has raised $100 million from donors who have given $200 or less, according to an analysis of available Federal Election Commission filings.

This figure has eclipsed the total raised by both previous election Republican nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain, by some margin. It also eclipses Hillary’s donations to date, with only Barrack Obama’s 2012 campaign having seen success like it.

“The Trump campaign provokes a sense of collaboration, regularly asking for opinions and feedback and a small percentage of his subject lines are personalised,” comments Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet.

“As well as a higher email frequency (13 per week to Hillary’s 9), the content complements the message, as he’s asking subscribers to invest in the future of America by donating to his campaign – and by donating to Trump-Pence you are supporting the cause and joining a club, one in which you can opt-in for yard signs and purchase merchandise.”

In the wake of Obama’s successful 2012 campaign, his team was extolled for the scientific approach it took to emailing donors and voters, especially in relation to the granularity at which they A/B tested different subject lines.

And one crucial statement by Amelia Showalter, director of digital analytics in relation to that campaign rings true for all email marketing campaigns: that there was no such thing as the perfect email. “Eventually the novelty wore off,” she said. “And we had to go back and retest.”

Given his continual support amid recent widespread scandal and revelation, it might be argued that the novelty of Donald Trump’s email campaigns appear to take longer to wear off than most.

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