While the growth rate for email traffic in the U.S. is expected to flatten in the coming years in favor of social communications and instant messaging, email is still king of the hill.  In fact, the average American receives about 100 emails a day and sends out another 20-30 of their own!  That’s almost one email every four minutes during the course of an 8-hour work day.  A huge number of these incoming emails are deleted immediately and never see the light of day.  What’s your plan to make sure your office’s outreach gets the attention it deserves? 

A recent poll showed that 21% of email recipients will report email as spam, even if they know it isn’t.  69% of recipients report as spam based on the subject line alone.  Statistics like these might be a bit nerve-wracking to communications staff, but we’ve identified some best practices that can help your next message hit its mark.

Experience matters on Capitol Hill and our track record speaks for itself.  With a market share in Congress of over 60%, 40% of US Governors and Federal, State and Local government customers all over the country, our fingerprints can be found as far West as Hawaii and as far East as Massachusetts. 

IQ has been the leading CRM solution on Capitol Hill and beyond for over 20 years for a few simple reasons:

1)      Responsiveness.
We have made it our business to remain on the cutting edge of technology from Day 1.  From social media integration, to mobile compatibility to responsive web design—we’re always looking forward into the future.

2)      Service.

When you partner with the IQ team, you get access to a dedicated, full time, on-site IT Consultant who is just a phone call or email away.  These guys are the best in the business.

3)   Experience.
Many members of our team have experience working in government offices and understand what it takes to get the job done.  This knowledge informs every decision we make.  We work every day to make your job easier because we’ve been there.

In every Congressional office, there comes a time each year when outreach is restricted.  The US Franking Office mandates that all unsolicited mass communications must cease for 90 days in advance of any election in which the Member’s name will appear on the ballot.  This can be a stressful time as the business of government must go on and communications staffers have to find creative ways to get their Members’ messages out.  We’re here to help. 
 
First off, it’s important to know that the blackout rules do not require you to suspend all communications with your constituents!  There are several clearly defined scenarios in which communication is permitted.  We’ll help give you some ideas for how you can communicate effectively—and within the rules— during your blackout period.
 
Sending 499’s
Unsolicited mailings must be restricted to less than 500 pieces of mail (regardless of medium) during your blackout period.  In other words, mailings in quantities of 499 or less are fair game!  In IQ4, you can generate 499’s from any contact list in your database with just one click.
 
Job Openings
If your office is has a job opening during a blackout period, you are free to post recruitment ads in order to attract applicants.
 
Direct Responses
If your office is contacted directly by a constituent (through any medium) blackout rules permit you to respond and engage in one-on-one communication with them.  IQ consolidates all your email, social media, US Mail and phone calls in one application, allowing you to track and respond to any direct communication with ease.
 
Email Your Subscribers
Communications blackout rules allow you to send eNewsletters to anyone in your district who has opted in to your newsletters.  As long as they’re subscribers, you’re free to keep them informed and up to date on how your office is serving them. 
 
See the PDF below for a printable calendar that illustrates each state’s blackout periods.  And as always, contact the IQ team any time for questions on how to build 499s, eNewsletter best practices and more—we’d love to hear from you!

Related Files: 

2014-Franking-Blackout-Dates-Cobranded.pdf