The 2020 election is fast approaching and sure enough, like ads during the SuperBowl, Americans will be treated to a flurry of heart-wrenching or heart-warming messages “approved by” candidates. These messages will be filled with frightening statistics radiating candidates that interrupt the viewing experience of the constituent.
Already our inboxes are being overrun by personalized carefully crafted emails earnestly requesting just a small contribution to the cause before the fundraising deadline is reached. Are you on Facebook? As we speak, Facebook is already following you around with ads petitioning the legalization of marijuana or finally doing away with the Electoral College. These ads, as you’ve probably already come to realize, are a slick move to get you to another page that asks you to donate to a candidate’s campaign. For best political practices, review our blog about Practical Game Plan to Launch a Winning Political Campaign.
Of course, Americans voters have been on this dog and pony show before, they’ve come to expect and even learned how to avoid these political campaign communication methods all-together. But now, they’ve got to deal with a new method of political campaign communications, a method that’s been successful at cutting through the usual noise of the election season.
What’s this new method exactly? Well you probably already know about it or have been annoyed by it already...Political Text Message Campaign Service. This is perhaps the best or worst thing to happen to voters as these messages go directly into your phone’s lock screen.
Much like your standard email marketing platform that allows campaign teams to send out thousands of emails per day; peer-to-peer text messaging platforms give campaign volunteers the ability to send a large number of text messages to phone numbers on a call list. Companies, like RoboCent, give their clients the ability to purchase reliable up-to-date voter information from them.
If you have a file with voter information but no contact number, they can get those numbers for you as well. It’s simply incredible how much technology has allowed us to do.
Don’t think that you’re going to get a random text message either. These campaigns are much smarter than that. They use a combination of prior voting history and your location to send you targeted messages to ask for monetary contributions, invite you to upcoming rallies in your area, send you information about your polling locations as well as sending you messages that aim to develop a personal connection with their campaign. Like advertisements, these text messages are carefully crafted for maximum efficiency. Follow this link to SMS Connect for more Information.
Because American voters have learned to tune out TV ads, campaign emails and phone calls; campaign managers are taking advantage of the power of text message campaigns. We may tune out our phone calls but we actually check our SMS messages. To show you how effective text message campaigns are we can refer to the 70-90% open rates that vendors of this technology are boasting about.
All of this is great for the vendors and political campaigns, but what about the voters, the average person going about their business only to suddenly be sent a campaign text message asking for a campaign donation?
Let’s face it, the technology that was pioneered by Senator Bernie Sanders relied on by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and set to be heavily used by President Donald Trump’s campaign has a lot of grey areas that the federal government isn’t really clear on how to put regulations in place for it.
Initially, text message campaigns were largely automated messages. If campaign managers wanted to send these automated messages out they needed to first get your explicit consent. Now, here’s where the water gets cloudy, the campaign messages of today do not require your explicit consent via some kind of opt-in. This is because the smartphone apps and platforms that the peer-to-peer texting companies have created. Instead of auto-blasting, their message the technology auto-fills the mobile numbers of the people they want to target with messages and a volunteer spends the entire day clicking send one by one to get the word out.
Using this method of auto-filling can allow a volunteer to send hundreds or even thousands of messages per hour. You might think that this is not legal but because they are manually pressing send every time and they have the ability to engage with each message before it goes out by editing as needed they do not have to follow the same rules that automated messages do.
If a single volunteer can send hundreds or even thousands of SMS messages each hour, imagine the sheer number of text messages that political campaigns can send out during the campaign season. And remember the recipients of these texts do not need to sign-up at all to receive these messages. The only thing a campaign needs to text literally millions of people is a large number of willing volunteers to hit the send button over and over again.
Because of the ease of sending out these campaign SMS messages political groups are doing everything they can to amass a collection of mobile numbers. Some are investing millions of dollars into getting people to willingly sign up to receive their campaign messages while others are purchasing lists of contact numbers much like a telemarketing company would.
Tom Seyer’s political group NextGen America got creative and used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get the 39 public colleges in the State of Virginia requesting their student directories. Of the 19 public colleges, 18 complied. Once they were handed the directories they scraped the mobile numbers from it and turned it over to the political campaign.
In case you’re wondering if all this unsolicited texting is legal, then be advised that it is. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act that came about in 1991 was passed not taking into consideration the leaps and bounds that technology would make. So it is not surprising that companies took advantage of its limitations.
But with a guarantee of both willing and unwilling eyeballs on your messages, there is no slowing down of peer-to-peer texting companies and political campaigns utilizing this medium and pushing it to its limits. You can certainly expect to receive even more text messages to quickly organize protests, persuade, raise funds, recruit volunteers and even get out the voters on Election Day.
You might be thinking that everyone is annoyed by receiving these text messages. However, you’d be surprised to learn that volunteers have reported receiving responses from voters thanking them for either reaching out to them or reminding them to go out and vote. As one volunteer noted, people might not like receiving calls but they’ve got no problem checking their SMS messages. Plus, we need to realize that these days people prefer to communicate via text messages.
Texting can literally change the tide of the elections. Here are some of the cool ways that political campaigns are using text messaging to get the word out there:
Voting Day Reminders
You’d think that everyone would remember when it’s time to vote, but life gets in the way. People get tired, get busy with chores and children and they just plain forget. It’s made even worse for the younger generation who’ve cut the cable cord and no longer watch regular TV.
Sending a gentle text message reminder is, therefore, a key ingredient for politicians to get their constituents out and voting. What’s great about gentle voting day reminders is that you can also include a link to help them to locate their nearest polling place. You can also use SMS messages to give voters a heads up on early voting and absentee deadlines.
Also, remember that it is not just about voting day reminders, but text message campaigns can also be used to encourage those who are not registered to get registered and exercise their right to vote.
Event Information & Updates
One of the most important parts of any political campaign are the events that they organize. If a candidate has an event and no one turns up, it sends a message to the overall public that no one is interested in said candidate. Hence, politicians are turning to political text messaging campaign services to get people to come out in large numbers and support their events. Packed events signal popularity and interest.
When it comes to the political arena, one thing is clear when, what and how to release important announcements is a carefully thought out and planned process. As a candidate or political figure, you want to use a medium that will get your message heard.
Examples of important announcements are running mate decisions, updates on the voter count on election day and highlights of the debates.
Just as Political Text Message Campaign Services can be used to get supporters to come out to an event, so can it be used to recruit volunteers. Some supporters might be without the financial means to support a political cause but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t gladly give of their time to that cause. Organizing volunteers is made simple with the sending of a single text message.
Get Young People Out to Vote
Adults between the ages of 18-34 prefer to communicate via text. This is also the group of people that spend most of their time on their phones instead of watching local news or cable TV. The best way to communicate with them is to speak to their needs, their desires, their hearts by using a Political Text Message Campaign Service to send them personalized text messages.
Some might call it an annoyance, some question it’s legality and others call for industry regulations, but the one thing that is certain is that the Political Text Message Campaign Service isn’t going anywhere. It will only get better and evolve to serve the American people. Is America ready? Well, it might be too early to tell, but make no mistake, like Ads and the SuperBowl, SMS campaigns are the wave of the political future and are here to stay. Get your specialized Robocent campaign started now!