When you send an email to your supporters (those who have signed onto your campaign), you’ll get a whole range of responses. Making sure you communicate with your supporters by replying to the emails and dealing with concerns is really important to ensure they feel part of a community and stay on board with your campaign. A nice email acknowledgement could be the difference between them sharing the campaign with their friends and offering to volunteer, or dropping off the radar and unsubscribing from the campaign.
Here are our top 10 tips and some frequently asked questions about responding to emails from supporters.
1. ALWAYS BE POLITE
It sounds corny, but the best way to do this is to say thank you (for your support, letting me know, getting back to me etc). End emails by letting them know that you are grateful that they took the time to write you and for their interest and support. This may as simple as saying the following:
“Have a great day!”
“Thanks for getting back to me.”
“Thanks for your support!”
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Keep the tone of your emails friendly and concise. Try to keep your sentences relatively short. One idea per sentence. This makes your ideas easier to follow.
3. CREATE YOUR OWN ‘CANNED RESPONSES’
Write up a few pro forma email responses – outlines or various sentences that you can use multiple times. This may difficult but, will save you time in the long run. It can also help you to answer the many queries you will receive about the nature and direction of your campaign.
A set response will ensure that you keep the same “party line” throughout all your interactions.
To do this, think about:
– what you have done
– what you want to do
– main aims of the campaign
– why it is important
Formulate a short email (a few paragraphs) which entails all the above information as concisely as possible. This may then be edited and sent to many different people surrounding most general queries they have regarding your campaign.
4. DEALING WITH ABUSE
This is simple. Don’t!
If you receive abusive emails, don’t even bother to converse with them. Just let them know they are able to unsubscribe from your campaign and delete. They are not worth your time – save this for people who will help you to achieve your goal.
5) DO THE EASY ONES FIRST
(This doesn’t mean neglect all the hard ones!)
Start with what you know. Answer all the easy emails first. Anything that will get your momentum up and feeling good. Then you can try and tackle some of the tricky questions that come your way. This will also help keep the number of emails in your inbox down. Slightly less intimidating!
6) TRICKY QUESTIONS
Find a professional who says it better – send them a link! It might be worth when you’ve got your campaign off the ground, to put together a short fact sheet or sheet with links to more information and news articles. That way, you have this on hand to send to people who want more information about the issue your campaign is on.
Don’t be afraid to admit if it is beyond your means or something you just don’t know the answer to.
7) POSITIVE FEEDBACK
If you receive a particularly supportive message, take the time to send them a short reply thanking them for their contribution. Warm fuzzies work both ways.
8) GET ORGANISED
Organise your inbox and use labels and folders to keep track of the emails you’re receiving. This will make things much easier for you over the course of your campaign.
9) HAVE A DEDICATED EMAIL ADDRESS
Sending out emails to a few hundred/thousand people means you’ll get a lot of replies – and the bigger your campaign gets (!) the more emails you’ll receive. It may be worth creating an email address that you use for your campaign. You should still be the ‘face’ of this account and it should still be in your name (ie. Joe Bloggs using the email address email@example.com) – it’s you, but just not your personal email address.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I say to people who have signed my campaign, but want to do more?
That depends on what you have planned for your campaign, but first thing’s first – they can share the campaign with family and friends to boost numbers. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Are you planning an event? Is there an MP or target they can call or email?
Maybe they’re passionate enough about the campaign to become one of your team. Running a campaign is a group effort, so sussing out how committed your supporters are and getting in touch is a really good way to spread the load (and the love).
What do I say to people who disagree with my campaign?
This is less likely because generally a majority of emails you get will be from people who have signed up to your campaign. However, you may have people who write to you who disagree due to certain “facts” or have a particular issue query that they are uncomfortable with and you should consider directly responding to them. Maybe by telling them why you have chosen to run the campaign you have, in the manner you have. You may point out other influencing factors. Just ensure you are not argumentative and you let it go if they remain unconvinced.
If they vehemently disagree, that’s okay – the beauty of ActionStation is that anyone can start a campaign on any issue. There’s no way that everyone will be on board with every campaign, so let people who really disagree with you campaign know that it’s okay to do so but that you’ll be continuing with your campaign anyway. They’re welcome to find a campaign they are passionate about (or start their own!) on ActionStation.
What do I say to people who don’t understand why they received my email?
Some people sign petitions not expecting to hear from the campaigners behind them. That’s ok, here’s a quick example of what you can say to people who don’t understand why you’ve contacted them.
You received an email from me about the campaign ___ because you signed the petition on ActionStation.
If you would like to stop receiving emails regarding this campaign, there is a link to unsubscribe provided at the bottom of each campaign email from me. Just follow the link and enter your email address to unsubscribe.
Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further queries.
What do I do about people who want to unsubscribe?
Be polite and send them an email like the below example.
“Hi … ,
Not a problem.
Each ActionStation campaign email has a link at the very bottom of the page, which allows you to unsubscribe from that campaign (“If you don’t want to receive emails from the ‘XXX’ campaign in the future, please unsubscribe.”)
Unfortunately, I am unable to unsubscribe you from this end at the moment. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further issues.
Good luck cultivating your campaign community!