6 SMS Marketing Best Practices to Head Start Your Campaign

Any time you are trying to persuade the masses in any way, shape, or form, you are actually marketing to them. Companies market to consumers all day long. Buy this, no buy that, spend your money here not there. Essentially, when you are running a campaign, you are doing the exact same things. You are trying to win the people’s support and ultimately their vote. In order to do so successfully, it is important to have a strategic marketing game plan, to ultimately make your campaign stand out.

Types of SMS and When to Use Them

When it comes to campaigning, reaching out to the masses the right way is vital. This means knowing how to reach out to voters, when to reach them, and what method to use. There are two main types of SMS texts, the first is peer to peer texting, the second is mass texting. In addition, there are two ways to legally text voters, and that is one, through our platform using our provided voter data, and the second is to collect opt-in texts from voters.

When it comes to SMS opt-in texts, these are really great for building up your own list of reliable contacts. Here are a few ways you can gain SMS consent of voters:

  • Ads. You can use social media ads, billboard ads, yard signs etc., and have people text a number in order to sign up for texts. This might look like: “Text ‘VOTE’ to 787878 and receive campaign updates from (insert candidates name).”
  • Online forms. On the campaign website, include a section where voters can sign up for campaign texts by entering in their phone number.
  • Events. At events and campaign rallies, urge voters to sign up for SMS updates so they can stay in the loop about any changes and future events.

Once you have consent or a reliable contact list from the Robocent website, you are all set to market away! Peer to peer texting is great for building relationships with voters, earning their trust and gaining their support. While mass texts can be more informational and require little response in return, a mass text can also be as simple as reminding the people to vote this upcoming election day or requesting that they respond “yes” or “no.”

Mass texting is great for updates about your campaign, typically for those who are already in support of your campaign. However, if you are trying to understand the issues a voter supports or answer their specific questions regarding your campaign, then peer to peer is going to be the most viable SMS method. In certain cases where a voter needs a real person to answer questions, texts that they cannot respond to will result in frustration of up to 75% of individuals.

Deciding which SMS method to use might take careful planning and consideration. While you can cover more ground with mass texts, peer to peer has the ability to make voters feel special and important. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation with a real person than an automated system? But again, it all depends on what phase of the campaign you are in. Peer to peer probably will not be as helpful for GOTV texts, as most voters have already made up their minds. In this case a mass reminder text will do.

Include a CTA

Having a CTA or a call to action is one of the single most important things to include in an SMS marketing campaign. Marketing, without a request for action, is like flying a kite on a windless day. The kite is going to fall to the ground and so is your marketing campaign. Your CTA should be strong, compelling, and above all effective.

Ideally, your CTA shouldn’t just be “click the link now.” While yes, that is an action, it isn't a powerful call to action. Something like, “make a difference today, click the link to show your support” is much more compelling. See the difference?

CTA’s can even include catchy slogans. Having a campaign slogan to use as your CTA may prove to be a powerful way to get your campaign name out there. It may also help voters remember your name at the polls. For example, a popular slogan/CTA you probably know is the Uncle Sam poster that says, “I Want You For U.S. Army.”

If you don’t currently have a go-to CTA, try brainstorming with your team. Ask yourself if you would take action if you read your own CTA as a voter.

Consistency is Key

Your SMS marketing strategy should have a game plan that includes consistency. This means, you can’t send out 10 text messages in one week and then no text messages for a month. That is inconsistent and might annoy people more than anything, The goal here is to send consistent texts that are predictable in their delivery.

When it comes to SMS marketing, you basically want to use the “three bears” method, as one might call it. That is, you don’t want to be cold in your texts (or send too little), and you don’t want to be too hot with your texts (and send too many). You want to send just the right amount. If you send too few messages and too far between, then voters are likely to forget all about you and your campaign. On the other hand, if you spam them once a day they are most likely to opt-out and send that “STOP” text. Which is exactly what you don’t want.

Be Creative

You don’t want to send out wordy, uninspiring texts. Try jazzing up your SMS marketing with pictures, videos, GIFs, etc. This provides interactive, visual content that resonates with viewers better than just a plain old text. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a short GIF or video clip has to be worth at least ten thousand words.

SMS marketing texts with a picture or video have a conversion rate of 70%, what that means, is that 70% of individuals who receive promotional texts that include some sort of interactive content, end up converting into customers or supporters, etc. A conversion is essentially what you want people to do. For businesses focused on selling, the goal is for consumers to make purchases, for service based companies, more bookings and appointments are ideal, as a political campaign you might want:

  • Volunteers
  • Votes
  • Donations
  • A pledge of support
  • Permission to place a sign in someones yard
  • Responses to SMS messages
  • Survey participation

The goal is to get voters to perform some sort of task or action, and when you get them to do that, you are converting them. Multimedia messages that include pictures, videos, and GIFs will connect with the voter and help them relate to your campaign better than anything else, and as a result, they will be more likely to comply with the CTA of your text.

SMART Marketing

Almost anyone and any marketing strategy can utilize the SMART method:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Before sending out a text as yourself and your campaign team 5 questions:

  • Will the recipients understand the purpose of the text?
  • How will we measure the success of this text? (open rates, responses, link clicks, etc.)
  • What sort of action will this text call for?
  • Is this text relevant to our current campaign needs and will it resonate with the voters?
  • Is it an appropriate time to send out this text?

SMART marketing will help your campaign create meaningful and worthwhile texts that have an impactful message on voters. If a text doesn’t pass one of the five letters, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board to make sure it does. Afterall, the goal is to convert people into supporters of your campaign and candidacy!

Conduct A/B Tests

A/B testing will become your best friend. This is how you will find out what texts are a “go” and which ones are a “no.” When applicable, try to send out two kinds of texts. Examples of how to do this:

  • Use different pictures, videos or GIFs. That is, keep the text portion the same, but change out the MMS portion and see which SMS does better. Did the one with picture A do better or picture B?
  • Mix texts with the same picture. Same concept as above but vice versa. This will tell you which text portion the voters respond better to.
  • Try different personalization techniques, i.e. using the voters name, or including a contact person in the body of the text.
  • Play around with different CTAs. Which CTA does better?

This kind of testing can help the success rates of future SMS messages by telling your campaign what voters respond better to.

Employ These Practices Into Your Campaign

Analyze your SMS marketing strategy today, and then start sending out texts on the Robocent platform today. We have the solution to your marketing needs, and we can help you get elected! Stay ahead of the game when you combine these best practices with our SMS platform.