1) The mistake: Signup snafus.
â€śBoth candidatesâ€™ Web sites have issues with signup,â€ť Ayan said. â€śObama takes you to a landing page where you can make a donation. If you donâ€™t make a donation, youâ€™re stuck on the page. McCainâ€™s signup has a lot of things you can do, but so many that itâ€™s easy to get lost.â€ť
Your lesson: E-mail signup links should be prominent and included on every page of your Web siteâ€”not just the home pageâ€”because many of your prospects are probably coming in via search. Once visitors sign up, they should be taken to a landing page that shows a sample of what theyâ€™ll get as a subscriber as well as significant company links, contact information and a clear opt-out link, Ayan said.
2) The mistake: No virtual welcome mat.
If you sign up for either McCainâ€™s or Obamaâ€™s list, you may end up waiting several days before you hear from either candidate, Ayan said.
Your lesson: As soon as someone enters his or her e-mail address into your form, take advantage of that opportunity. You should send a message within minutes of the initial signup with a description of what recipients can expect, how they can white list your e-mails and something of added value to thank them for signing up.
â€śYou want to give someone a good feeling for signing up for your list,â€ť he said. â€ś[Offer] a white paper, a free sample, a free download. It should be something that is not offered elsewhere on your Web siteâ€”a lagniappe, which is a New Orleans French word for a little something extra.â€ť
3) The mistake: Irrelevant messages.
The candidatesâ€™ marketing gurus might think they are doing something right by collecting only a small amount of data at signup, but they actually arenâ€™t doing enough, Ayan said. This means they canâ€™t do any personalization, and messages are too generic. â€śCandidates are dealing with issues that could create a lot of relevance in e-mail messages, but both are just blasting messages out to people,â€ť he said.
Your lesson: Make sure youâ€™re not sending out e-mails just because they are on the schedule. Messages should contain information that recipients can use as well as a clear call to action.
4) The mistake: Jump-through-hoops unsubscribes.
â€śIf you go to the Democratic site, the site is actually doing something illegal in the eyes of CAN-Spam,â€ť Ayan said. â€śIf you want to unsubscribe, you are taken to a page that asks you to confirm your unsubscription by entering a four-digit code.â€ť
Your lesson: Aside from legalitiesâ€”CAN-Spam compliance requires a one-click unsubscribeâ€”youâ€™re doing your brand and your company a disservice by keeping customers and prospects hostages on your list, Ayan said. â€śYou want to make it as easy as possible for people to get off your list because thatâ€™s whatâ€™s going to keep your list intact.â€ť