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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Prez #2016 - E-mail evangelist analyses the candidates' e-mails' subject lines

Find a list of all my blogs about the presidential candidates' e-mails here.

Any marketing expert will tell you that e-mail is the most powerful tool to reach customers.  

Professionals all over the United States are aware that their own e-mails compete with their competition’s e-mails, and, with good reason. 

A 2014 study by McKinsey & Company proved that e-mail marketing is nearly 40 times as effective as Facebook and Twitter combined.

91% of all US customers use e-mail, whereas only 71% of online adults use Facebook and 23% of online adults use Twitter (2014).

Ever since 2008, when then-candidate Barack Obama showed the world how it’s done by raising almost half-a-billion dollars online, aspiring presidential candidates are trying to make their own mark. 

Considering all of the above, shouldn’t the presidential candidates e-mails be flawless, perfect, and awe-inspiring – eight years later?

Let’s see how the candidates are doing.

Today we’ll examine their welcome e-mails’ subject lines, in alphabetical order.

[Please note: This blogger lives in South Carolina. It is possible that not every candidate sends welcome e-mails to potential voters in SC. While I think this might be a mistake, it is possible that some candidates are focusing on Ohio and New Hampshire.]


The subject line looks ‘bombastic’! 
Since all words but “for” are capitalized, recipients need to look closely to realize that though the sender is Ben Carson, it is obviously his organization who welcomes potential voters. Still, this subject line is hard to overlook, which is excellent.


An solid but not great combination of the sender’s well-known name and subject line. The subject line begins with the word “Our,” which radiates Mr. Sanders’ campaign motto and style.


Bobbie Jindal

Though I registered for updates about Mr. Jindal’s campaign from three different e-mail addresses, I have yet to receive a first e-mail from Mr. Jindal. 


Humble and nice, but I would call this subject line a missed opportunity. In fact, I could see this e-mail getting overlooked easily; it has no stand-out value. How about writing what Mrs. Fiorina is thankful for?


The e-mail’s sender is the Chris Christie for President Inc. Unfortunately, this name is too long to be fully displayed in the sender’s field. That leads to the word Inc. being cut off in a strange way. 

The word “Welcome” is indeed welcoming, since it is the first word in the subject line. Also, excellent usage of a punctuation mark that draws attention to both, the “Welcome” and the “Thank-you.”


Mr. Trump’s e-mail sender’s field displays a brilliant, yet subtle, attention getter! I bet a lot of people did not know that Donald Trump’s middle name is John.

Incorporating the middle initial “J” suggest that Mr. Trump is sharing personal information, even though everybody could look up this information on the web. Considering this very clever approach, the subject line is almost disappointing though it reflects the “Donald Trump”-brand. As we know from his speeches, Mr. Trump mostly asks people to stand with him. 

Obviously, I love proper e-mail subscription procedures. Also, one could make a case for that “Pataki for President: Please...” has a nice ring to it, considering the accumulation of “P”s.

The main problem with this e-mail is that it is all there is. In four days I have not received a follow-up that would tell me anything about Mr. Pataki’s platform. 


Hands down – It is by far the best welcome e-mail subject line. 

Mrs. Clinton’s sender’s handle is “Hillary for America.” Compare that to “Ben Carson for President” and you can feel what I mean. One sender’s e-mail address advertises “for America”, the other one is some kind of an ego-thing. 

In her subject line, Mrs. Clinton welcomes subscribers to her team. In this e-mail “her team” makes fabulous usage of the exclamation mark. Special signs/punctuation marks always draw attention to the subject line. 

Why is Mrs. Clinton’s team excelling in such a remarkable way? Her team experiments! As mentioned before, I subscribed to each candidate’s list three times from various addresses, and on different days.

Here is the subject line of an e-mail I received at my second address.

As an e-mail evangelist, I admire the work of a pro. “Now take the next step” is one of the best action calls I have seen in a while, but it is the “:”, which makes it perfect. A different, open-ended punctuation mark it invites to take action without looking pleading or commanding. 

All in all – excellent work!

It is noteworthy that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bush are the only candidates, who go by their first names only. Are they trying to disassociate themselves from their last name? Of course, having run in 2008, Mrs. Clinton has already achieved her own name recognition, but what about Mr. Bush? 
Just comparing Mr. Bush’s subject line with Mrs. Clinton’s right above shows how Mr. Bush’s e-mails could be improved. 


Jim Gilmore

Did not receive a welcome e-mail from Jim Gilmore.


Though I advocate using numbers to draw attention to the subject line I am not sure that this specific application is a really great way.  Younger audience might find it appealing, but I am not so sure about older people. Again, just like from Mr. Pataki’s campaign, this was the only e-mail I received from Jim Webb. 

Knock, knock. Who's There?

There are 41 meanings for the acronym KFA, from the Korean Football Association to the Kenya Farmer Association, not to talk about that KFA reminds of a fast-food restaurant chain, at least somehow. Nice usage of the exclamation mark in the subject line, but it would be nicer if the team had a name voters could associate with. 


“Hey” ? ? ? – I don’t think I have words for this... subject line, if indeed that is what it is and not a prank. 

In essence, running for president equates to applying for “the job” with every citizen of the country. I cannot imagine anybody sending a job application with the word “hey” in the subject line. 


Classic and good. Excellent usage of an exclamation mark, which puts an emphasis on Mr. Graham’s last name. 

Just when we thought there could not be any other option to write a not too terribly effective e-mail there is Marc Rubio’s. Potential voters won’t even be able to tell that this e-mail was sent by Marc Rubio’s team.
Yep, Terry Sullivan is a member of Mr. Rubio’s team, only a new subscriber would not know that. I am not sure what the idea is here; at least I delete more than 100 e-mails from people I don’t know, every day.


Equally, it is unclear what “You’re In” is supposed to mean...


Mike Huckabee

Did not receive a welcome e-mail from Mike Huckabee.


Rand Paul too does not welcome potential voters but lets his staff handle his affairs. It would be cool if they’d know how many characters fit into a subject line. (One of the easiest ways to test the effectiveness of an e-mail is to send it to yourself before you send it to everybody else.)


Rick Perry

I did not receive a welcome e-mail from Rick Perry.


Classic, extremely friendly, and a clever usage of an exclamation mark.


Scott Walker

Did not receive an e-mail from Scott Walker.


Ted Cruz’s e-mail also features a slightly cryptic subject line. While it is not clear what he is thankful for, his e-mail outshines Mrs. Fiorina’s e-mail by an exclamation mark.


Now, let’s look at them together, the way they appear in my Inbox:


And, with indicators for great, good, and just not that good communication


E-mail evangelist Gisela Hausmann is author of Naked Words 2.0 The Effective 157-Word Email, which was featured in the August edition of the SUCCESS MAGAZINE. She publishes books under her "naked (meaning no-fluff)” brand of books.  

Opinions expressed are solely my own.-Gisela Hausmann

© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann