Here at fix the status quo, we love transparency and strongly believe that involving more brains will yield smarter campaign tactics. Sometimes, we have ideas (or see others doing something) and we know it would be possible to put them in place, but not sure if they are worth trying. This is one of these. Please contact us if you have tried something similar and it failed (or succeeded), or if you have improvements or better idea… and especially welcome if you have some source of funding that would help us cover the development costs 😉
Let’s start with the problem, one existing way of solving it and finally the “new” idea.
Problems with mail to targets
Beside the general concern that “annoying folks you want to influence to do the right thing” might not always be the best tactic and lack of feedback loop (more on that on another post), the tactic itself suffers from one issue in their most common implementation:
Single point of failure
The normal way is to send the emails to the target from the campaign tool. This suffers a few technical limitations, ie you can’t use the email of your supporter as the sender (eg you can’t successfully send an email as firstname.lastname@example.org unless you are google, long explanation about SPF and DKIM), so you need to use a “placeholder” sender email with the domain name of your organisation (or your campaign provider). It means it’s fairly easy for the targets to put a filter to delete the messages coming from your supporters, because they come through you. or even worse, report you as a spammer and blocking you (yes, it happened to pretty much all of us).
Tried solution: send from the client
To prevent that, we tried to distribute the sending to the supporters, so they use their own mailserver to send. This workflow is a bit confusing for them (because it opens their mail client and they have to hit the send button), makes it a bit harder to track the actions really taken…. and sometimes plain fail because their browser isn’t properly configured and connected to their mail client.
We have tried that tactic on a dozen campaigns, and found ways to improve it (for instance handle better users that are on gmail or with a domain using google suite), but we are still losing around 30% of action takers that way.