The primary campaigns are coming up, and every candidate is looking for an edge. Political text messaging could be valuable for one such campaign.
What Value Does Political Text Messaging Add to a Campaign?
Voters want to hear from a politician they support directly. However, many people consider related calls, voicemails and emails to be a strain on their time. Though text, you allow supporters to respond on their own time table, while showing them that their support matters.
There are many ways to use political text messaging to your advantage:
- You can use texts to gain support of voters still on the fence.
- Utilize its reach to organize volunteers.
- Raise funds from your supporters.
- Briefly inform voters on your core issues.
- Link to your website for a more expansive view of your policies.
- View the data of these messages.
- Organize supporters into more precise lists or demographics.
- Set up text keywords and automated responses to help answer some questions voters may have.
- Inform voters about events you will be attending or appearances you will be making.
- Get useful feedback from supporters.
- Send thank you messages to supporters.
- Ask people on your list if they have voted yet.
- Conduct polls among the people on your list
- So much potential exists with this medium. It is up to you to begin benefitting from it.
Why Choose Text Over Other Mediums?
One of the major advantages of text is that it is instantaneous. You send out your message, and your supporters receive it in seconds. Email does this as well, but unlike email, texts have a 98% open rate. That is much higher than email’s low 20-30% range. That is not to say that email is without its uses, but should be used as a compliment to text to provide the best results. More to the point of instantaneousness, most people open a text within 3 minutes of receiving it. Given that 97% of American adults own a cell phone, few marketing methods can boast about this much success in terms of outreach.
You can set up keywords and automated responses as stated previously. If used effectively, this marketing method not only casts a wide net, but also has immediate follow-ups. If your campaign sends out a message regarding a certain policy, creating a keyword for that text could give you an opportunity to provide even more information, should the recipient want it.
How to Get Started
Certain political organizations are required by most US carriers to have a campaign verification token to ensure your organization is legitimate. Any 527-tax exempt organization that is registered with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) requires authentication before it can begin mass texting. This applies to individual candidates, parties, PACs, and other committees, as well as the election authorities on a state level and lower. This process is put in place to ensure that no one else is sending out texts in the name of your organization, while securing it as a legitimate political entity for the sake of fair elections.
There is no such verification that applies to 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organizations or businesses.
To get your verification or more information, you must submit a form at Campaign Verify for a fee.
How to Write a Quality Political Text
The ultimate goal of these texts is to win voters. So, the one major aim with these messages is to be original. This is a great opportunity to show people how you shine from the crowd of other candidates. Address something not often addressed. Point out how your policies differ from other candidates. If you have a favorite issue, expand on that more often. Prove to your supporters that you are the right choice.
Another aspect to these political texts that may help is to make it personal. People are much more apt to vote for someone to whom they can relate. Including personal pronouns like “I”, “me”, “we”, and “us” both reminds voters that you are a person, instead of just another politician, and that you are on their side. Make sure to talk about issues your voter base cares about, and what you plan to do about them.
Lastly, your message needs to be professional. While voters want to be able to relate to you, they also want to be able to trust that you know what you are doing. You need to show that you truly understand the issues. One way to do that is to bring up certain aspects of a policy that many people may not have considered. This shows that you have more knowledge on the issue than most people and can be trusted to deal with it. Most importantly, you need to come off as a leader. Talking about what you are doing for the community, and how your supporter base can help is always a reliable way to demonstrate this.
Best Ways to Use Political Text Messaging
Election-related reminders A big part of winning an election is ensuring that your supporters show up! To do that, you need to send regular election-related reminders to your target demographic, letting them know about your campaign. Here are a few reminders that you can share:
- Who you are and which election you are contesting
- Date of voter registration
- Election date reminders
- Policies you are supporting.
Rally your Troops
The best way to conduct your campaign is to utilize your resources in the best possible manner. A door-knocking campaign is one of the best ways to reach out to your voters. However, if you are short on volunteers or time, it can stretch you thin. Including calls and texts as outreach tools can vastly improve the process and save valuable resources.
Using a combination of outreach methods can help maximize how your volunteers can support the campaign.
Text and call tools to consider for saving time and rallying your troops:
- Use autodialers to automate the call dialing process. Now, your volunteers can spend time speaking on the phone instead of dialing numbers manually, or dealing with answering machines. They can also enter call details onto the calling software instead of keeping track of it via cumbersome excel sheets.
- Use peer-to-peer texting through which one volunteer can start conversations with hundreds of people simultaneously and carry out personalized, individual conversations.
- Reach a younger demographic
- Text messages are the best tool to reach out to younger millennial and Gen Z demographics. 75% of millennials prefer text messages. As the popular saying these days goes, “If you can text it, then do not call,” leverage the power of text messaging to appeal to a young but increasingly important voter demographic.
Fundraising involves appealing to voters, lobbyists, and activists to support your campaign to boost policies they would like supported. While traditionally, fundraising happens through events like private dinners or fundraising rallies, virtual fundraising has gained popularity of late.
This involves nurturing confirmed supporters and getting them to donate high amounts or promoting your fundraisers, asking for micro-donations.
You can send out text messages with links to donation pages encouraging them to help you fundraise by either spreading the word or donating themselves. You can try a more personalized strategy for high-value donors by identifying them and making calls for donations.
You’ve decided to run for office for the first time but are struggling to figure out who exactly will vote for you? This is an exhaustive identification process, but it can be made a lot easier by using calls and texts to carry out surveys or outreach campaigns to identify potential voter groups, interests, and other criteria that could lead to your win.
When you run a door-knocking campaign, hold a talk, or a rally for votes, you can share a keyword and a 5 or 10 digit number to opt-in to your SMS communications. Interested people text the keyword to your number and initiate conversations with your campaign.
With an SMS opt-in campaign, you can collect voter details like first name, last name, age, gender, location, etc.
Texting and calling have turned out to be essential supporting features of a successful election campaign. Including them in your campaign strategy and leveraging their multiple uses can create unparalleled value in the run-up to the elections. Robocent can help you with all your text messaging needs!