With Super Tuesday behind us and the political conventions only months away, the presidential race is in full gear. The economy is creeping dangerously close to a recession and the war in Iraq is still brewing, so choosing our next commander in chief is very high on the minds of every American. With less than 10 months until that first Tuesday in November, many debates, TV spots and campaign hours still remain.
Due to the extended length of this particular election, each candidate's campaign budget has been stretched to the max and still no clear front-runner has emerged for the ultimate prize. Having already reached record proportions, campaign spending is a constant topic of concern for the candidates, and the value of each dollar spent has become extremely important heading toward the finish line.
While I applaud the increasingly creative approach many campaigns have taken via the web, including 24/7 bloggers and real-time streaming videos from the campaign trail, email continues to be the online program that gets overlooked, or more importantly, mismanaged. Each email program continues to be poorly optimized and under utilized to the standards of the email marketing industry.
When compared to the ROI of mass media advertising, email continues to dominate; for every dollar spent on email marketing, marketers can expect an estimated $48.29 return. While it isn't fair to compare selling goods and services to marketing a candidate's platform, they are still selling themselves and communicating their brand's ideals and value propositions. This should be a key factor in their email strategies and can be equally as powerful as generating revenue. As the till dries up, each candidate needs to coordinate and optimize each media outlet in order to successfully harness their most valuable resource: their supporters.
The following will examine the email messaging programs of the following candidates, past and present: Sen. Obama, Sen. Clinton, John Edwards, Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Romney and Sen. McCain -- offering examples of how each can be (or should have been) optimized to reach the full potential for their campaigns.
Each candidate's email program will be judged in three categories: Email Registration, Inbox Presence and Email Messaging. Within each category the programs will be graded in eight sub-categories, on a scale of 0 to 3, with 3 being the optimal score.
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