How to Run an SMS Poll (Text To Vote)

It’s campaign time, and you have a race to win, but how do you get your name out there and connect with real voters?

If you aren’t running SMS polls, then you are missing out. According to Call Hub, most text messages are read within the first few minutes, and texts are eight times more effective at reaching voters than emails. Not only that, but 95% of all texts are guaranteed to be read. That is huge! With texts, you know your targeted voters are going to open your text. We are in 2020, almost no texts go unread. Phones “beep”, “ding” or “buzz” and we jump up to see who texted us.

What can you do with a texting poll? Most of these polls are used to determine and measure the amount of support that a given candidate has or the support that a political issue has among voters. An example of a poll text might read like this: “Hello (insert voters name), this is (insert campaign volunteers name) reaching out to you regarding (insert candidates name) campaign. For the upcoming election, will you be voting for (candidates name) or (other candidates name)? Thank you.”

This is a general idea of what a text to vote might look like. The goal of this is to identify supporters, target them, and work to guarantee their vote by knowing who and what they support and intend on voting for.

There are other uses for SMS polls as well. Along with inviting people to take and complete surveys, you can promote fundraising, donor relations, events such as rallies.

Robocent makes reaching voters easy as 1 2 3! Once you have an account created with us, you can upload any contacts that you wish to reach, or you can even use our voter contact lists to reach more people. From here, you will create your personalized texts to send out, and schedule the times you wish to send out texts. Once you complete these simple steps, you can submit your payment to us and watch your results roll in. You will be able to see how your poll is doing, the responses, and other statistics.

SMS polls versus having a campaign headquarters? SMS polls allow you to do all the same things you would at a campaign headquarters, well, without the headquarters. Do you need your own volunteers to conduct these polls? You can if you would like. That is a service that we offer too, so the choice is yours! When you use our professional agents though, there is no training for you to do, and no volunteers to manage. Talk about saving time and money. Not needing a physical headquarters is so essential, especially during these Coronavirus times. Politics this year definitely has and will continue to be different than years past, and texting to vote takes full advantage of this.

Creating Texts

Once you have decided to use an SMS poll, you will start coming up with initial questions, like the previous example. Your first text should obviously have a question that needs to be answered by the recipients, but also the keyword (s) that your recipients will use to respond, i.e. YES or NO. An example text might look like this: “Today, I told [insert political party] leaders that we need to stand strong on the healthcare legislation. Text YES if you agree and NO if you disagree.” SendHub gives even more examples, like this one. The possible question formats are endless when it comes to SMS polls, and it is so easy and fast.

Your questions don’t have to be limited to yes or no responses though. You can ask questions that have multiple and complex responses to choose from. You will number these responses so that all voters have to do is reply with the number that applies to their response. Easy right?

Poll vs. Survey

To poll or to survey? That is the question. You will need to decide which one is going to work best for your campaign or political needs. A poll is usually one question with a couple of multiple choice answers. Polls are definitely a lot easier and more simplistic, as they provide immediate feedback and require minimal analysis. Whereas a survey is more detailed, it can include a wide range of multiple-choice questions, and it requires analysis.

So what is the better option? Well, it depends on what your goals are. Are you just trying to get a quick response to get a good headcount on who is supporting a given candidate? Or are you looking for more personalized responses that you want to sift through and generalize the responses of the respondents? It comes down to whether or not you are just looking for quick insights, or if you need extensive data.

Text Opt-Ins and Opt-Outs

Hold your horses though. Before you start sending out texts, you will need to have text message opt-in consent from the voters who you are sending messages out to. Which if you use our generated contact lists, you don’t have to worry about this, as we have done the work for you already. When it comes to all the legalities of SMS polls, we got you covered. All you have to worry about is creating your texts, your responses, and managing your results. That’s it! Three simple, foolproof steps. Why would anyone not want to utilize this luxury service?

If you are creating your contact lists though, it will have to be from already previously opted in. To get people to sign-up for your texts, you can use email, social media, advertisements, and more to promote your campaign’s text program.

You can also choose when you are setting up your texts if you would like to have an “opt-out” option. That is, if those that are texted wish to be removed from your political campaign texts, they have the option to do so.

Personalize It

You’ll want to include automated followup responses, as it adds a nice touch. Who like texting someone and not receiving a response? No one. If we send a message, we anticipate a response. Your voters will feel the same way. Reassure them that their response was received and not only that but that their response matters. Once the receipt responds with their yes or no, or the number that coincides with their response, an automated response will be sent back. This might look something like this: “Thanks for your response, we appreciate your feedback!”

Another nice touch is to use merge tags. What are merge tags? This is when at the beginning of your poll text, you include the receipts name. “Hi, John” or “Good evening Mary”. This makes voters feel special. Using people’s first names is part of customer service 101. Have you ever gone to Starbucks or another coffee shop? They ask your name and write it on your cup. Then when your drink is ready, they call out your name to let you know that your drink is on the bar. Other companies do this too, most major corporations have it so that their employees have to ask for customer’s first names, as a means of adding that touch of personalization.

What makes Robocent so great, is that we have real people sending out your carefully crafted texts. Once the initial text is sent out, with our services, you can give our agents several automated options to send back out once they receive a text back from a voter, depending on what the voter responds.

More Tips

Our other website has even more tips for you on how to create and formulate texts. This includes keeping your texts simple and easy to read, and how to keep them under the maximum character count. At the end of the day, if your content is too complex or wordy, not relatable, and not informative enough, then you aren’t going to get the responses that you need.

So far we have developed an initial text and a response text, how to personalize messages, and opt-in requirements. You may be wondering though, how likely are people to respond to these messages? Do they just hit the ‘delete’ button or do they actually take the time to respond?

Turns out, according to SendHub, there is a respondent rate of 45%. In reality, while it is just under half, that is an amazing percentage! Whereas people open emails at a rate of just 20%, this 45% respondent rate is huge. Imagine how many people respond to emails? Probably less than half.

In Conclusion

Text polls are easy. They are the way of the 21st century. It is the way to reach younger voters and to increase response rates and voter turnouts. We make the steps to signing up so easy a robot could do it! See what we did there?

For more on how to use texts for campaign purposes, check out the blog, Using Calls and Texts to Conduct a Political Survey. Where we go over the benefits of texting polls, the available research, and the various survey channels.

Interested as to how an SMS poll can help your political campaign? Contact us at Robocent and let’s get your poll up and running! 757-821-2121