Email newsletters are becoming increasingly common as an additional way of keeping in touch with local residents. Email allows you to send out more regular updates, including responding to urgent issues and giving out information that is more timely, and it is virtually free. The downside with email, and the reason why it is unlikely to replace Focus leaflets for a good while yet, is that you have to get people’s email addresses before you can contact them. That’s why you need to ask people for their email address at every opportunity.
The two examples of email newsletters that we are including here as best practice are from councillors in Bath & North East Somerset Council and Three Rivers District Council. The key thing they have in common is that although they are clearly from local Liberal Democrats they aren’t overly political. This means that they will have broader appeal and will be read by more than just committed Lib Dem supporters. This helps build up a local loyalty to the Lib Dem team and reinforce our credentials as the people who are standing up for the community.
In Peasedown in Bath & North East Somerset our team there – Sarah Bevan and Nathan Hartley – have turned a reliably Labour ward in to a safe Liberal Democrat ward through their own hard work and perseverance. As well as regular Focus leaflets, they send a monthly email to local residents on a variety of topics that are of interest to the local villages they represent. This newsletter is produced in colour with photographs and links and will involve either some knowledge of HTML or use a professional email package or company.
In Abbots Langley in Three Rivers District Council in Hertfordshire, Sara Bedford sends out her weekly newsletter to almost 20% of households in the ward she has represented for 14 years after taking the seat from the Conservatives. She deliberately keeps the content almost totally free of politics, but provides links to further information on a subject which could be her own more political website. Sara’s email is produced in plain text which is a format that anyone with basic email knowledge can use.
Finally, there are two specific websites that experience has shown are useful for producing emails and managing lists. One is the party’s own Lib Dem Email List Server and the other is a company called Mail Chimp.
Download these newsletters
Peasedown Community News – HTML
Abbots Langley News – PDF