The Science Of Presidential Emails

The drama is growing as the election nears, with voters reeling from events and wondering what can possibly happen next. 

And there is a more hidden battle going on — in the inbox. 

The candidates are aggressively fundraising. And their emails mostly reflect their campaign personalities, judging by Trump vs. Biden Marketing: All The Gory Digital Details, a study by digital agency 97th Floor.  

For instance, President Trump’s are short and punchy, as in:  

FOUR YEARS Ago, Hillary called you DEPLORABLE. Then, Joe Biden said we aren’t good people. NOW, Nancy is calling you a DOMESTIC ENEMY. 

They also refer to “Sleepy Joe.” 

Former Veep Joe Biden’s are softer in tone, and come off as “professional and important.” Their criticisms are less personal. But they tend to lack flash, and “may appear to be too long for the recipient to read and may lose interest half way through,” the study notes. 



One email, signed by Kamala Harris, says, I’m honored to be joining Joe Biden and his team in the fight for the soul of our country as his running mate. It’s so great to meet you. 

I’m about to ask you to say you’re in to do whatever it takes to win the White House this year, and then I hope you’ll let me introduce myself  and tell you why I’m so proud to be teaming up with Joe, and what drives me each day in our fight. 

Their subject lines are similar in tone.   

Many of Trump’s “contain emojis and words in all caps with the Intention to grab the recipient’s attention,” as in: “Crazy Nancy is a HYPOCRITE- Is it even a surprise anymore? or: Only TWO MONTHs left – We need to set a NEW RECORD.

The downside is that such lines “appear more juvenile and could negatively affect the trust of the candidate, or make them think that the email is spam.”

They may also be confusing. One Trump email says it is from “Diamond and Silk.” The subject line goes on to state: “Jim Crow Joe. He’s never done a thing for black people

Moreover, the siren emojis used by Trump are “too small in regular browser settings to be easily recognized and at first glance they may appear to be small flags with stars in the center.” 

The study continues: “This confusion could be problematic for some recipients, particularly those who see the emoji and think it might represent the Chinese flag.

In contrast, Biden’s subject lines are “a little long and didn’t always match the rest of the email, causing confusion for the recipient of what the email contains and if it’s relevant for them or not.”

One Biden subject line says, “My first September newsletter – What a whirlwind it has been since I accepted your nomination…”

Here’s one ore difference between the candidates’ emails: Some of Trump’s rely on guilt to spur the donor, like these to “PJ.” 

We just sent President Trump the first round of entrants to win an opportunity to meet him in Washington, D.C., on September 25th, and he was disappointed that your name was MISSING. (The last word was in red). 

Why is that, PJ? 

Another Trump mail says: 

We’re reaching out because we notice you STILL haven’t claimed your PERSONALIZED SIGNED photo from President Trump. 

Biden’s emails ask for donations “in a more humble way,” the study notes: 

It’s not going to be easy. Trump’s got the RNC’s fundraising machine behind him.  

But here’s what I have that he doesn’t—I have you. An I know there’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together. 

From August 24 to September 10, non-donors received 133 emails from the Trump campaign, up to seven or eight per day, while Biden sent 18, or one per day.   

Trump’s emails are nearly all from him, or from immediate family members like Eric Trump or Lara Trump. Of 50 emails reviewed, 37 are from the Trump family.  

This could give the impression that Trump “lacks support outside of his immediate family. However, this could help establish a strong familial focus, which may portray that Trump strongly values family.”  

The Biden campaign is more likely to use outside names. 

Only four of the 18 emails sent by Biden are from him — the others are signed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris and Yo-Yo Ma. One each is from Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Anna Wintour. 

"This presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most contentious of our lifetime and, from what we're seeing, the Trump and Biden digital marketing campaigns couldn't be more different," concludes Paxton Gray, CEO of 97th Floor.  

But Gray adds: "Our study found big marketing mistakes on both sides, which could be costing the candidates campaign dollars, time, and votes.”




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