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WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [name] => emailing-capitol-hill [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog ) [query_vars] => Array ( [name] => emailing-capitol-hill [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1690 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2017-10-08 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-08 00:00:00 [post_content] => Hill offices are inundated with more than 200 million emails and letters each year, making it challenging for legislators and their staff to read and respond to every letter. Academic researchers Beth Long and Jessica Pugel at Pennsylvania State University’s Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center conducted a study on policymakers’ email preferences that make them more likely to open and click on emails. The Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center studies how to improve the use of research in legislation and therefore needed an evidence-based approach to getting their resources viewed and used more by legislators. Based on Long and Pugel’s findings, here are some research-backed tips to keep in mind for every step of crafting emails for legislators and staffers — from strategies to select who to email, to best practices when writing your email, and tips to evaluate email performance.

Target Your Contact List

You want to send an email, but first, you need to decide who to send it to and how you’re going to send your message. Use these best practices for deciding who to send your emails to.

Choose Recipients Relevant to Your Policy Objective

To boost your email open and click rates, be sure to tailor your recipient list to only include relevant officials and staffers. Target the recipients by which committees they sit on or members that are the most vocal on key issues. Quorum’s power search capabilities make finding all relevant officials easy, meaning you won’t miss any relevant recipients. “We upload recipients and their group conditions as a custom field to Quorum, instead of having to type in each name individually into the recipient box," Pugel said. "This is a huge time-saver for us and it makes mistakes way less likely.”

Automate Bulk Email Personalization

Sending multiple emails and copying and pasting the body for each message is a hassle. Instead, use a mail merge to ensure your message is delivered to the correct recipient without wasting time and by avoiding the risk of spam filters. Personalize your mail merges with their names and titles, and use a conversational tone so it does not read like a cold, impersonal email blast. Both Gmail and Outlook have mail-merge functions, or you can use a mail merge platform like MailChimp or Quorum.

Strategically Craft Your Message

You’ve decided you need to send an email to members of Congress and their staffers. Keep these research-based best practices in mind when writing your message to increase your email’s performance.

Write Transparent Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing an email recipient sees, making it crucial to strike the right tone in order to draw readers into opening your message. Long and Pugel tested different subject line strategies to find which components generate higher open and click rates. First, Long and Pugel tested two subject lines that mentioned science — one contained the phrase “evidence-based” and one contained the word “science”— against a control line that used the word “regarding.” They found that, although the science-based subject lines were opened slightly less, the link to their research product was clicked 50% more within the emails with the science-based subject lines. [stat align="right" number="50%" text="more link clicks in emails with straightforward subject lines"] This suggests policymakers prefer to know what to expect before opening an email. If a legislator receives a general email with a subject line that starts with the word “regarding” they don’t know what to expect and therefore may feel duped or surprised by clicking into a message to find a science-based fact sheet. But when the science frame is transparent in the subject line, they know what they’re getting and are more likely to click on the link. They then tested clickbait subject lines against more natural and straightforward subject lines. In this test, they found the most natural-sounding, non-clickbait subject lines were the most effective with higher open and click rates. From these findings, it seems that policymakers and staffers have been so inundated with emails using clickbait tactics, that they’ve learned to spot clickbait and become averse to them. Their findings suggest you’ll get higher open, click, and response rates by making your subject line transparent and straightforward.

Keep Your Message Short Unless It’s Personal

[stat align="right" number="100" text="more clicks on shorter emails than long emails"]When testing different email lengths and open rates, Long and Pugel’s research found shorter emails resulted in nearly one hundred more clicks compared to the longer email they sent. Instead of including endless paragraphs of information, summarize your key points in a sentence or two and include a link to a detailed document explaining your position or issue for further reading. [stat align="left" number="7" text="times more clicks on personal emails than newsletter-style emails"] The exception to this rule is if the email contains personal stories. Policymakers prefer to hear from people directly to get a firsthand understanding of policy impact. Strategically use constituent stories in your emails to make your issues more personal and relevant to the legislators you email. [post_title] => Eight Tips to Get Your Emails Opened and Read by Members of Congress [post_excerpt] => Hill offices are inundated with more than 200 million emails and letters each year, making it challenging for legislators and their staff to read and respond to every letter. If you are looking to contact a Member of Congress, you need to make sure your email is personalized. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => emailing-capitol-hill [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-09 22:31:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-09 22:31:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/resources/emailing-capitol-hill/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 1690 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'emailing-capitol-hill' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1690 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2017-10-08 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-08 00:00:00 [post_content] => Hill offices are inundated with more than 200 million emails and letters each year, making it challenging for legislators and their staff to read and respond to every letter. Academic researchers Beth Long and Jessica Pugel at Pennsylvania State University’s Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center conducted a study on policymakers’ email preferences that make them more likely to open and click on emails. The Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center studies how to improve the use of research in legislation and therefore needed an evidence-based approach to getting their resources viewed and used more by legislators. Based on Long and Pugel’s findings, here are some research-backed tips to keep in mind for every step of crafting emails for legislators and staffers — from strategies to select who to email, to best practices when writing your email, and tips to evaluate email performance.

Target Your Contact List

You want to send an email, but first, you need to decide who to send it to and how you’re going to send your message. Use these best practices for deciding who to send your emails to.

Choose Recipients Relevant to Your Policy Objective

To boost your email open and click rates, be sure to tailor your recipient list to only include relevant officials and staffers. Target the recipients by which committees they sit on or members that are the most vocal on key issues. Quorum’s power search capabilities make finding all relevant officials easy, meaning you won’t miss any relevant recipients. “We upload recipients and their group conditions as a custom field to Quorum, instead of having to type in each name individually into the recipient box," Pugel said. "This is a huge time-saver for us and it makes mistakes way less likely.”

Automate Bulk Email Personalization

Sending multiple emails and copying and pasting the body for each message is a hassle. Instead, use a mail merge to ensure your message is delivered to the correct recipient without wasting time and by avoiding the risk of spam filters. Personalize your mail merges with their names and titles, and use a conversational tone so it does not read like a cold, impersonal email blast. Both Gmail and Outlook have mail-merge functions, or you can use a mail merge platform like MailChimp or Quorum.

Strategically Craft Your Message

You’ve decided you need to send an email to members of Congress and their staffers. Keep these research-based best practices in mind when writing your message to increase your email’s performance.

Write Transparent Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing an email recipient sees, making it crucial to strike the right tone in order to draw readers into opening your message. Long and Pugel tested different subject line strategies to find which components generate higher open and click rates. First, Long and Pugel tested two subject lines that mentioned science — one contained the phrase “evidence-based” and one contained the word “science”— against a control line that used the word “regarding.” They found that, although the science-based subject lines were opened slightly less, the link to their research product was clicked 50% more within the emails with the science-based subject lines. [stat align="right" number="50%" text="more link clicks in emails with straightforward subject lines"] This suggests policymakers prefer to know what to expect before opening an email. If a legislator receives a general email with a subject line that starts with the word “regarding” they don’t know what to expect and therefore may feel duped or surprised by clicking into a message to find a science-based fact sheet. But when the science frame is transparent in the subject line, they know what they’re getting and are more likely to click on the link. They then tested clickbait subject lines against more natural and straightforward subject lines. In this test, they found the most natural-sounding, non-clickbait subject lines were the most effective with higher open and click rates. From these findings, it seems that policymakers and staffers have been so inundated with emails using clickbait tactics, that they’ve learned to spot clickbait and become averse to them. Their findings suggest you’ll get higher open, click, and response rates by making your subject line transparent and straightforward.

Keep Your Message Short Unless It’s Personal

[stat align="right" number="100" text="more clicks on shorter emails than long emails"]When testing different email lengths and open rates, Long and Pugel’s research found shorter emails resulted in nearly one hundred more clicks compared to the longer email they sent. Instead of including endless paragraphs of information, summarize your key points in a sentence or two and include a link to a detailed document explaining your position or issue for further reading. [stat align="left" number="7" text="times more clicks on personal emails than newsletter-style emails"] The exception to this rule is if the email contains personal stories. Policymakers prefer to hear from people directly to get a firsthand understanding of policy impact. Strategically use constituent stories in your emails to make your issues more personal and relevant to the legislators you email. [post_title] => Eight Tips to Get Your Emails Opened and Read by Members of Congress [post_excerpt] => Hill offices are inundated with more than 200 million emails and letters each year, making it challenging for legislators and their staff to read and respond to every letter. If you are looking to contact a Member of Congress, you need to make sure your email is personalized. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => emailing-capitol-hill [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-09 22:31:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-09 22:31:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/resources/emailing-capitol-hill/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1690 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2017-10-08 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-08 00:00:00 [post_content] => Hill offices are inundated with more than 200 million emails and letters each year, making it challenging for legislators and their staff to read and respond to every letter. Academic researchers Beth Long and Jessica Pugel at Pennsylvania State University’s Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center conducted a study on policymakers’ email preferences that make them more likely to open and click on emails. The Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center studies how to improve the use of research in legislation and therefore needed an evidence-based approach to getting their resources viewed and used more by legislators. Based on Long and Pugel’s findings, here are some research-backed tips to keep in mind for every step of crafting emails for legislators and staffers — from strategies to select who to email, to best practices when writing your email, and tips to evaluate email performance.

Target Your Contact List

You want to send an email, but first, you need to decide who to send it to and how you’re going to send your message. Use these best practices for deciding who to send your emails to.

Choose Recipients Relevant to Your Policy Objective

To boost your email open and click rates, be sure to tailor your recipient list to only include relevant officials and staffers. Target the recipients by which committees they sit on or members that are the most vocal on key issues. Quorum’s power search capabilities make finding all relevant officials easy, meaning you won’t miss any relevant recipients. “We upload recipients and their group conditions as a custom field to Quorum, instead of having to type in each name individually into the recipient box," Pugel said. "This is a huge time-saver for us and it makes mistakes way less likely.”

Automate Bulk Email Personalization

Sending multiple emails and copying and pasting the body for each message is a hassle. Instead, use a mail merge to ensure your message is delivered to the correct recipient without wasting time and by avoiding the risk of spam filters. Personalize your mail merges with their names and titles, and use a conversational tone so it does not read like a cold, impersonal email blast. Both Gmail and Outlook have mail-merge functions, or you can use a mail merge platform like MailChimp or Quorum.

Strategically Craft Your Message

You’ve decided you need to send an email to members of Congress and their staffers. Keep these research-based best practices in mind when writing your message to increase your email’s performance.

Write Transparent Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing an email recipient sees, making it crucial to strike the right tone in order to draw readers into opening your message. Long and Pugel tested different subject line strategies to find which components generate higher open and click rates. First, Long and Pugel tested two subject lines that mentioned science — one contained the phrase “evidence-based” and one contained the word “science”— against a control line that used the word “regarding.” They found that, although the science-based subject lines were opened slightly less, the link to their research product was clicked 50% more within the emails with the science-based subject lines. [stat align="right" number="50%" text="more link clicks in emails with straightforward subject lines"] This suggests policymakers prefer to know what to expect before opening an email. If a legislator receives a general email with a subject line that starts with the word “regarding” they don’t know what to expect and therefore may feel duped or surprised by clicking into a message to find a science-based fact sheet. But when the science frame is transparent in the subject line, they know what they’re getting and are more likely to click on the link. They then tested clickbait subject lines against more natural and straightforward subject lines. In this test, they found the most natural-sounding, non-clickbait subject lines were the most effective with higher open and click rates. From these findings, it seems that policymakers and staffers have been so inundated with emails using clickbait tactics, that they’ve learned to spot clickbait and become averse to them. Their findings suggest you’ll get higher open, click, and response rates by making your subject line transparent and straightforward.

Keep Your Message Short Unless It’s Personal

[stat align="right" number="100" text="more clicks on shorter emails than long emails"]When testing different email lengths and open rates, Long and Pugel’s research found shorter emails resulted in nearly one hundred more clicks compared to the longer email they sent. Instead of including endless paragraphs of information, summarize your key points in a sentence or two and include a link to a detailed document explaining your position or issue for further reading. [stat align="left" number="7" text="times more clicks on personal emails than newsletter-style emails"] The exception to this rule is if the email contains personal stories. Policymakers prefer to hear from people directly to get a firsthand understanding of policy impact. Strategically use constituent stories in your emails to make your issues more personal and relevant to the legislators you email. [post_title] => Eight Tips to Get Your Emails Opened and Read by Members of Congress [post_excerpt] => Hill offices are inundated with more than 200 million emails and letters each year, making it challenging for legislators and their staff to read and respond to every letter. If you are looking to contact a Member of Congress, you need to make sure your email is personalized. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => emailing-capitol-hill [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-09 22:31:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-09 22:31:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/resources/emailing-capitol-hill/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 1 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => 1 [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => 1 [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 0936ca86fc390823134fb8614da0870a [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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Eight Tips to Get Your Emails Opened and Read by Members of Congress

Eight Tips to Get Your Emails Opened and Read by Members of Congress

Hill offices are inundated with more than 200 million emails and letters each year, making it challenging for legislators and their staff to read and respond to every letter. Academic researchers Beth Long and Jessica Pugel at Pennsylvania State University’s Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center conducted a study on policymakers’ email preferences that make them more likely to open and click on emails.

The Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center studies how to improve the use of research in legislation and therefore needed an evidence-based approach to getting their resources viewed and used more by legislators. Based on Long and Pugel’s findings, here are some research-backed tips to keep in mind for every step of crafting emails for legislators and staffers — from strategies to select who to email, to best practices when writing your email, and tips to evaluate email performance.

Target Your Contact List

You want to send an email, but first, you need to decide who to send it to and how you’re going to send your message. Use these best practices for deciding who to send your emails to.

Choose Recipients Relevant to Your Policy Objective

To boost your email open and click rates, be sure to tailor your recipient list to only include relevant officials and staffers. Target the recipients by which committees they sit on or members that are the most vocal on key issues. Quorum’s power search capabilities make finding all relevant officials easy, meaning you won’t miss any relevant recipients.

“We upload recipients and their group conditions as a custom field to Quorum, instead of having to type in each name individually into the recipient box,” Pugel said. “This is a huge time-saver for us and it makes mistakes way less likely.”

Automate Bulk Email Personalization

Sending multiple emails and copying and pasting the body for each message is a hassle. Instead, use a mail merge to ensure your message is delivered to the correct recipient without wasting time and by avoiding the risk of spam filters. Personalize your mail merges with their names and titles, and use a conversational tone so it does not read like a cold, impersonal email blast. Both Gmail and Outlook have mail-merge functions, or you can use a mail merge platform like MailChimp or Quorum.

Strategically Craft Your Message

You’ve decided you need to send an email to members of Congress and their staffers. Keep these research-based best practices in mind when writing your message to increase your email’s performance.

Write Transparent Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing an email recipient sees, making it crucial to strike the right tone in order to draw readers into opening your message. Long and Pugel tested different subject line strategies to find which components generate higher open and click rates.

First, Long and Pugel tested two subject lines that mentioned science — one contained the phrase “evidence-based” and one contained the word “science”— against a control line that used the word “regarding.” They found that, although the science-based subject lines were opened slightly less, the link to their research product was clicked 50% more within the emails with the science-based subject lines.

50%
more link clicks in emails with straightforward subject lines
This suggests policymakers prefer to know what to expect before opening an email. If a legislator receives a general email with a subject line that starts with the word “regarding” they don’t know what to expect and therefore may feel duped or surprised by clicking into a message to find a science-based fact sheet. But when the science frame is transparent in the subject line, they know what they’re getting and are more likely to click on the link.

They then tested clickbait subject lines against more natural and straightforward subject lines. In this test, they found the most natural-sounding, non-clickbait subject lines were the most effective with higher open and click rates. From these findings, it seems that policymakers and staffers have been so inundated with emails using clickbait tactics, that they’ve learned to spot clickbait and become averse to them.

Their findings suggest you’ll get higher open, click, and response rates by making your subject line transparent and straightforward.

Keep Your Message Short Unless It’s Personal

100
more clicks on shorter emails than long emails
When testing different email lengths and open rates, Long and Pugel’s research found shorter emails resulted in nearly one hundred more clicks compared to the longer email they sent. Instead of including endless paragraphs of information, summarize your key points in a sentence or two and include a link to a detailed document explaining your position or issue for further reading.

7
times more clicks on personal emails than newsletter-style emails
The exception to this rule is if the email contains personal stories. Policymakers prefer to hear from people directly to get a firsthand understanding of policy impact. Strategically use constituent stories in your emails to make your issues more personal and relevant to the legislators you email.

The email coming from a real person resulted in 46% more opens and a whopping seven times more clicks than a newsletter-style email. So it seems that policymakers prefer emails and stories from real people, rather than newsletters from organizations.
Jessica Pugel, Research Associate at Pennsylvania State University’s Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center

Be Helpful

The majority of emails Hill offices receive are asking for an action, whether it be to support a bill, to speak at an engagement, or to schedule a meeting. When a message comes through that doesn’t include an ask, but rather offers a piece of information that helps them do their job, it will stand out.

Better yet, sharing useful content, such as policy updates, keeps your name fresh in their inbox, establishes you as an industry or policy expert, and helps build relationships. Create a balanced cadence to share these resources without overwhelming a policymaker’s inbox by using a policy reputation calendar. It’s okay to ask for things, but you will find more positive responses when balanced with acting as a trusted resource.

Be Strategic About Link Placement

When including links in your emails, Long and Pugel suggest placing them as standalone links at the end of your email as opposed to embedding hyperlinks as buttons in the body of the message. While hyperlinks are aesthetically appealing, strict cybersecurity rules of government email servers can block these buttons from working, which can frustrate recipients looking to access your resources. By placing plain text links at the end of the email, you draw the recipient into why clicking the link is important as they read on.

Use Tools to Measure Email Performance

As you send emails, use these tips to measure what’s working and strike the right balance of the volume of messages you’re sending.

Track Your Opens

46%
increase in opens of emails containing personal stories
Tracking individual email open rates helps you evaluate your message’s performance. You can also A/B test subject lines to determine which works better to get your emails opened and read. Platforms like Quorum automatically track clicks and provide detailed open reports, saving you time and frustration.

Invest in a Platform

If you need to effectively and efficiently communicate with your Hill contacts and track their interactions or are short on time and patience for mail merges, it’s time to invest in a platform. You should look for a comprehensive solution that provides a contact management database, easily customizable templates, robust reporting, and most importantly, is user-friendly.

Once the emails go out, we monitor the replies we receive and the open and click rates that Quorum presents on its Outbox. So we can see that the emails indeed went out correctly and we can get a glimpse of which emails do better. As you can imagine, these tests are time-intensive to conduct, but Quorum helps make it a smoother, more efficient process.
Jessica Pugel, Research Associate at Pennsylvania State University’s Research-to-Policy Collaboration Center

Want to learn more research-backed tips for emailing legislators?