Using text messages for political campaigns can be a delicate subject, and promotional efforts using this technology can easily backfire. However, we simply can’t ignore the fact that the channel is an effective way to communicate:
82% of text messages get read within 5 minutes. Whereas only 1 in 4 emails ever gets opened.
One third of consumers would give up phone calls to use text messaging.
83% of millennials say they text more than they talk on their smartphones.
Additionally, SMS is an excellent internal communication and coordination tool. So, SMS messaging is almost a necessity for political campaigns.
However, political campaigns are complex, and your SMS program will be ineffective if it’s done poorly.
Here’s how to make SMS work in a political campaign:
Maximize your deliverability. Political campaign SMS involves sending millions of messages. If just 2% of those messages experience deliverability issues, it could mean thousands of undelivered texts.
Use number pooling. Number pooling enables you to send messages from a group of phone numbers, which makes it possible to send messages faster, without compromising the health of your sending phone numbers.
Send from local numbers. People are more likely to open an SMS message from a number with a local area code. A carrier that offers geomatching can automatically send messages from a number with an area code that matches the receiving number’s area code.
Contact voters from the same phone number. If a voter has already received and responded to a message from a certain phone number, it’s an odd experience to suddenly get messages from a different phone number. This could stop the conversation.
Before you start sending political SMS messages, evaluate your carrier and ensure that they have the capabilities you need to follow these best practices—high deliverability, number pooling, geomatching, sticky sender—and get the most from your political campaign SMS program. Once you’re set up with a capable and reliable carrier, use SMS for political campaigns to achieve these mission-critical tasks:
Mass Text Messaging
Mass text messages are more personal than mass email messages. However, mass SMS is best for delivering information, not persuasive messages. If we put the political campaign in terms of marketing funnels, mass texts are best for communicating with voters who are in the middle of the funnel and your own teams.
Use SMS blasts for: - Reminders about voting dates, registration cutoff dates, rallies, fundraisers, etc. - Invitations to rallies and fundraisers. - Campaign announcements. - Campaign staff communication. - Coordinating volunteer efforts. - Delivering vote-by-mail information. - Election news. Text for Information
SMS offers fast two-way communication. So, SMS messages a great way to offer more information to voters who want it. And, people are more likely to request information because texting an automated SMS service is easier and more private than talking to a person.
Text for information is best for contacting new prospects who haven’t received any correspondence from your campaign yet. Text for information helps you determine what sort of texts people want to receive, so you can send relevant information with your mass texts.
Use text for information SMS messages to: - Send clickable links to campaign websites, donation pages, and petitions. - Conduct political surveys. - Offer campaign volunteer opportunities. - Deliver voter registration forms. - Build segmented lists for mass SMS messaging.
Political Lead Generation
SMS might not be the ideal channel for political persuasion. But, it’s a great way to build lists of interested voters who want to continue the conversation. SMS makes your other outreach efforts more efficient. Use SMS lead generation to:
- Collect voter contact information.
- Identify potential volunteers.
- Create call center phone lists of people who want to be called.
- Build email lists.
SMS may not be the only tool political campaigns need. After all, you may need the space of an email or an actual phone conversation to deliver nuanced political messages.
However, SMS is hard to beat when it comes to distributing information, coordinating teams, and exchanging information.
So, if you’re in charge of the communication or outreach for a political campaign, make sure you get a reliable and cost-efficient SMS solution to maximize your campaign communication and voter engagement.
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