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Have you emailed your supporters since the November election? If not, the clock is ticking before your permission expires!

If you’re thinking of running for office again in the future, or expect that you’ll want to make any big announcements to the people who supported you through the election, then it’s important to prevent your email list from going stale.

Hereai??i??s what you need to know, what to do, and how we can help.

Opt-in does not last forever — it has an expiration date.

A supporter’s opt-in to receive email from you is not a ticket to email them for life. Instead, itai??i??s a generally accepted industry standard that permission to send email blasts lasts about six months before going stale.

Why six months? After that point, your supporters may have forgotten why they signed up for your emails if you haven’t stayed in communication, and you’ll start getting more complaints and less engagement when you do decide to get back in touch.

How can I restart the clock?

Itai??i??s easy — just email your supporters at least once every few months, and make sure that you include ways for people to unsubscribe from future updates at the bottom of your email.

If you donai??i??t email them at least every six months, many email blast services will not consider your proof of permission as valid and will not let you use their service to contact your list without asking people to opt-in again.

If you’ve built a particularly large email list, you may also want to periodically unsubscribe people who haven’t even opened an email from you in six months or more. This “list cleaning” will keep your costs down and help make sure big email providers like Google and Microsoft don’t start rating you as a spammer.

What should I talk about if I’m not running for office?

You can email your supporters about anything, as long as itai??i??s useful and interesting. Even if you’re not running for office at the moment, they will want to hear your perspective on local and national issues, and will look to you as a community leader.

Perhaps you want to talk about an issue and how it is affecting your community. Are your neighbors worried about losing access to affordable healthcare? Is there a community solar project or gardening initiative to highlight? Has a great local business begun offering paid sick leave to workers?

You may also consider inviting your supporters to join you at an event or community service opportunity. Organize a beach or trail cleanup and invite them to help. Are you planning to collect goods for a local food or clothing drive or attend a local march? Increase your impact by asking supporters to contribute or attend.

If you’re talking about a local event, make sure to include photos! And linking to a petition on your website or an RSVP form is a great way to keep supporters engaged and even grow your list through social networks.

Have a list of emails but no email blast service? We can help.

Our PIES campaign tools software includes an email blaster to make it easy for you to communicate with supporters. We can help you move your existing list — people whoai??i??ve opted in to receive email from you — to a great, inexpensive service that will help you send beautiful, compliant messages and keep your list active!

Just sign up here and weai??i??ll be in touch to explain how.