I’m on a lot of email lists.
I recently did a roundup of Digital Marketing Newsletters I subscribe to. You can find that here.
I’ll soon be doing a roundup of political newsletters I subscribe to. Want to know when that comes out? Subscribe to my newsletter here.
I also subscribe to A LOT of political newsletters.
I do this because a) it’s part of my business and b) I genuinely appreciate the craft of political email. There are so many bad lists out there, I really and truly appreciate the good ones.
One of the many political lists I’m on is that of Parler. (They’re a bad one FWIW – as this post will quickly layout.)
If you don’t know Parler, they were trying to be the rightwing alternative to Twitter before Donald Trump’s Truth Social rolled out.
So now they are equally bad as Truth, but much less relevant.
But their email program is something.
Like any good right-wing grift, they are as likely to email news as they are to write promoting some miracle berry that cures tummy fat.
Last week, I got an email from them announcing that “Hearing aids just got their biggest upgrade yet.”
They also do something I’ve never seen a political email list do: they rent out their list to any campaign (or right-wing grifter) who wants to use it.
They regularly send emails from Matt Gaetz trying to raise money directly from the list.
I know of nothing like that on the left. Or really anything else like it on the right.
But that’s not why I’m writing.
I’m writing because this week Parler broke the most important rule in email marketing: respect your list.
The above example is of course the opposite of that. But I’m writing with something more specific.
On November 22nd, they sent me an email from James O’Keefe (his name, their email address in the sender). The subject line:
Will you help me expose a Supervillain?
Then on November 25th, they sent me another email from James O’Keefe. Identical subject line:
Will you help me expose a Supervillain?
The emails were identical.
Is that a bad thing?
Not necessarily? It’s not always bad to resend an email to your list. BUT as a rule of thumb, you would only resend an email to non-openers. And it’s best practice to update the subject line, so folks who saw the first one (but didn’t open it) will think it’s a new email, even though it actually isn’t.
I opened the first one, and yet still got the second one. And the subject lines are identical.
So that’s just really bad email list management all the way around right there.
But none of that is why I’m writing. Here’s the line that really stood out to me upon re-read:
Before midnight tonight, I have to raise $46,300 to break even and cover our operational costs.
They used the same exact dollar amount — and the same BS deadline — for both emails. Despite the fact they were sent days apart!
Now here’s my assumption: Parler doesn’t care what copy James O’Keefe asks them to send, so long as his check clears. He paid to send the first email. He sent in his money. He paid to send it again. They took the money and hit send. Again.
But in so doing, they broke the cardinal rule of email fundraising: respect your audience!
How long would it have taken to update the copy to say “I have to raise another $25,000 by midnight tonight” before sending the second email?
It’s still complete and total BS, but at least it’s less obvious BS!
Anyway, don’t be like Parler (and obviously don’t be like James O’Keefe!). Respect your audience.
Don’t make up deadlines that aren’t real. Don’t make up matches that aren’t real. And don’t tell your audience you need to raise a specific amount of money BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, and then use the exact same copy a few days later… unless of course it’s real 😏
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