‘Let’s stick together’
‘We don’t want to say goodbye…please keep connected’
‘Do you still want to hear from us?’
In the past couple of months we have all been receiving desperate-sounding emails from companies who want us to stay on their subscriber list.
New EU data protection regulation aimed at safeguarding our personal data has left many businesses in a panic that they will lose contact with their customers.
The data rules do not only apply to business, but also to political parties.
The Labour Party – and all the elements within it – are now asking their members to opt-in to their emails and it doesn’t look good.
So what’s the problem?
For the past few months, several bodies within the Labour Party have been sending out masses of emails asking for support without any co-ordination between them. This has mostly concerned the local elections and members have been receiving almost daily emails from the national party, the regional party, the constituency party and all the factions within the party too. These have mostly been asking for support with canvassing, petitions or donations.
The upshot of this is burnout. People are being put off reading yet another email from Labour.
This is probably the worst time for Labour to ask people to opt-in for more emails.
The sheer volume of emails from so many different Labour email accounts is having a negative impact on everyone who is trying to promote anything for the party.
A recent Stand up for Labour’s email listing the month’s events received an open rate of just over 20%, which is about half of what would have been expected a year ago.
‘Labour Live’, the festival in London next month, is reportedly not selling as many tickets as had been hoped. Unsurprisingly, the upshot of this is further emails to members!
What can be done?
Now is the time for all groups within the Labour Party to re-evaluate how they behave with the membership. We are not just part of a big number from which we are bound to get a percentage of replies.
There must be a more co-ordinated approach to improving member communications.
The best place to start is with the local CLP. This is the key area for communications as it is here that the General Election will be won on the ground. So it would be helpful if emails from the central or regional parties were kept to a minimum.
It would be very helpful if CLP secretaries were given training in email technology like Mailchimp as well as in how to produce good subject headings. As an example, I’m not sure how many people in my constituency missed Jeremy Corbyn’s recent visit because the email telling them about it was entitled ‘Campaigning update’.
A healthy and harmonious relationship between the party and the membership is crucial if we are to win the next General Election as we cannot rely on the media to put our ideas across.
Members should be welcomed in person more than through being bombarded by emails.
Putting on good local events is a great help. When we meet people face to face (such as local party officers), we are more likely to sign up for email updates. Barbecues and quizzes are great, but there are also good social events like Stand up for Labour and curry discussion nights like ‘Breaking Naan’.
In the next week I am putting on a ‘Breaking Naan’ event in East London, a #JC4PM variety night in Manchester and a Stand up for Labour show in Blackpool. These are all examples of how to bring people together, get people more active and make people more likely to opt in!