Best Practices For Building Your Political Email Audience - NDTC

Over the course of a political campaign, you have to engage different audiences. Therefore, it’s challenging to find the exact audience segment for your political campaign email strategy. However, if you identify the right voters, this enables effective communication with supporters, which can grow your campaign. 

Here are a few ways to identify and build an audience for campaign emails.

Use Your Personal and Political Network

When first considering an email audience, consider your personal network. 

Inform friends and family you are running for office. Ask them to pass campaign information onto their networks. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool to raise awareness, as well as grow interest in your campaign. NDTC’s Instructional Designer, April Pegg, emphasizes asking family and friends to promote your email list. 

“Never assume that someone isn’t your supporter, even if it’s your uncle who’s a little bit right wing,” she says.

— NDTC Instructional Designer, April Pegg


“They still care about you, and they’re still invested in you.”

In addition, comb through your campaign rolodex. Take note of who would likely donate to the  campaign. Consider which supporters would make passionate volunteers. This helps segment your email list and craft messages for different audiences.

NDTC’s free online course, “Building Your Network: Donors, Volunteers, and Validators,” helps you take advantage of your network.

Always Collect Email Addresses

Another tip Pegg recommends is to collect email addresses from everyone you meet, “Any time you are out in public, if you’re canvassing, collect emails. If you’re getting petition signatures, collect emails. If you have an event, make sure you collect emails.”

Collecting emails is a must even in a virtual setting. There are many ways to do this. For example, provide a link on each of your social media pages, as well as your website for supporters to sign up for emails. Think of every place where voters can be asked for their email.

“Have a form on your website that goes to your email service provider, that sends them either through a warm up series or the next email you send. And share a link to sign up for an email list on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.”

NDTC Email Marketing Specialist, Sam Medeiros


Use this Sample Sign-In Sheet or this Event Sign-In Form Sample as templates for building your email audience. 

Segment Your Email List

When discussing an email audience you often hear the word “segment.” But how exactly does segmenting an email audience facilitate increased engagement?

One useful piece of information, which can be segmented, is to track where you meet supporters. Whether you met them at an event or got them to sign up for emails on Facebook, note this information. This gives you a better understanding of the background of your audience. It’s also an opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of different platforms and where is the best place to collect emails. 

For example, a supporter may sign up for emails after a speech you made to the local school board. This may indicate they are interested in policies related to the school district. With this information, you can create more personalized emails that resonate with each supporter.

Campaigns get a better sense of the best locations to recruit volunteers if you track supporter email sign ups. If a large amount of email addresses are collected at the local farmers market, the campaign should probably go back there in the future.

NDTC’s Director of Marketing, Laura Petrolino, discusses segmentation further, “Are there people in your voter universe who care most about your stance on environmental issues or education? If so, include them on special lists and invite them to town halls on these issues.”

“Give folks on your list who care about certain issues more detailed information about your plans and perspective.”

— NDTC Director of Marketing, Laura Petrolino


Segmentation should also be done by engagement level. Emails to supporters who have never donated should be different from high-dollar donors communications. Emails to volunteers should be different from those to voters on the fence.  

For more information on segmenting your audience take NDTC’s course, “Understanding Political Campaign Email Strategy.”  

Use Political Email Platforms

When developing an email audience consider email platforms like NGP 8. NGP 8 is the most common technology for supporter tracking and engagement in Democratic politics. An email platform is a valuable tool for growing an audience and enhancing your campaign’s email strategy. Most email platforms work similarly, so choose the platform that is the best and most cost effective for your campaign.

NGP 8 and similar platforms enables a campaign to create and save targeted email lists. This  allows you to control who receives which emails. You can also create themes and reusables. This standardizes the appearance of emails, and creates an easy-to-use template for future messages. 

Many email platforms, including NGP 8, assist segmentation by allowing a campaign to generate auto-send lists. This automatically creates funnels and escalates supporters up the ladder of engagement. 

Here’s what an auto-send series might look like:

  • A supporter receives a “Thanks for Signing Up” email immediately after subscribing.
  • Later that day, the supporter receives an email with a simple ask, like signing a petition or following the campaign on social media. Other examples include: signing up to volunteer or viewing a video introduction to the candidate.
  • The day after signing up, the subscriber receives an email asking for a donation. 

For more information on using NGP 8 for an email campaign check out NDTC’s course, “NGP 8 Digital: Email Engagement.”

It is essential to integrate your email platform with your voter database system. With NGP 8, it is easy to integrate with VoteBuilder, a popular software made by the same company. This helps merge a campaign’s email and voter outreach strategies.

For more information on VoteBuilder take NDTC’s online course, “VoteBuilder 101.”

Build Your Political Email List Now!

There is no time like the present to start building your political campaign’s email audience. NDTC has your back! Our course, “Understanding Political Campaign Email Strategy,” has everything you need to know about building and engaging an email audience. You’ll learn about evaluating the effectiveness of emails and boosting supporter involvement with your campaign.

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