Political text messages hit the forefront of election campaigns back in 2008. That year, Barack Obama made campaign history by announcing his Vice President running mate, Joe Biden, to almost three million Americans.
With a text message.
“Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee.”
That concise little text message, sent to nearly three million Americans, defined the personal style of his winning, historical campaign. In the following election, Mitt Romney also began reaching out to the American people via text message. Each subsequent election has had an increase in candidates utilizing text messaging as a piece of their campaign, to great success. Since then, parties on all sides have personalized campaigns and connected with constituents using text messaging.
Political Phone Marketing and campaign texts are an inevitable part of the transition our country is going through as we become more and more plugged in. Already, this year’s election cycle has been so inundated with text message alerts from campaign hopefuls and parties advocating for policy changes.
Gone are the days of simply running a campaign ad on network television stations and popular radio stations. In 2017, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration performed a survey that brought to light the following statistics:
- 73% of American households had a subscription to either cable or satellite television.
- Of the 27% of Americans that did not have a cable or satellite television subscription, 60% of those Americans reported that they’d never signed up for one. The other 40% had canceled their subscriptions or “cut the cord.”
- 82% of Americans who canceled their cable and satellite subscriptions were online video streamers, using services such as (but not limited to) Netflix or Hulu.
- 46% of Americans without cable or satellite television subscriptions reported cost as a reason for not having one.
- 38% of Americans without cable or satellite television subscriptions cited a lack of interest as the reason for not having a subscription.
Three years have passed since that survey, and the usage of online-streaming over cable and satellite television subscriptions will only have grown. And now we have Disney+ as a contender!
But how does this compare with radio listeners? Streaming is also taking a far lead. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry attributes streaming services are to credit for a 9.7% increase in global recorded-music revenues in 2018. In 2019, Midia research argued that streaming contributed to 56% of all label revenues, with total global recorded music revenues at $21.5bn.
What do all of these numbers boil down to for your campaign? What does this mean? It means that the normal ways of reaching constituents through large network advertising are slowly losing ground and may even potentially become obsolete. The importance of text messaging was already making headlines in 2018, and that importance just grows.
So the question isn’t whether or not to include text messaging in your political campaign—you should. The question is: what steps can you make to get the most out of the messages you send? As voters begin to feel overwhelmed by the quantity of text messages this year, it’s more important than ever to get the most out of each text message. Quality messaging is key to successful campaign texts.
Below are some of the most effective ways to utilize your political text messages with Robocent:
Get In Touch With the Youth
Political text messaging is a great way to reach out to younger voters (think: 18-35 or even 45 year olds, depending on which statistics you look at.) In this bracket, texting is the preferred method of contact, sometimes over phone calls and even emails. The best thing you can do as a politician trying to reach voters is to know your audience and respect what you know about them.
2008’s presidential election notably had historical numbers of young voter turnouts, and that wasn’t coincidental. The mobilization of youth voters is directly correlated with the successful utilization of personalized digital communications, like text messaging.
To extend the reach of your texting campaign, make the most of your print marketing materials. Here, you can make a call to action to have constituents text you. These usually look something like this:
Text “VIOLET” to 555-555-5555 for text alerts from Candidate Violet!
Marketing this type of text messaging signup allows people to volunteer to be involved in your campaign. This makes them less likely to be annoyed by any messages they get from your campaign. They signed up, they want to be involved. Approach the younger demographic with a text messaging campaign they can be a part of and you will see the results on Election Day.
Sign Up and Show Up
You can be the best candidate ever, with the best policies and a great marketing plan, but if the voters don’t show up on Election Day, you’ll have a tough time winning your election.
Campaign text messages from a Political Robocall Company are a good way to spread awareness about important deadlines that can affect your campaign. Things like voter registration deadlines and mail in ballot deadlines are easily forgotten in our fast spinning world, and those missed deadlines can make a big difference in your ballot numbers. Make deadline reminders a part of your text messaging campaign and help ensure your constituents make it to the ballots and get their votes counted.
Another critical detail that can impact your voter turnout is making sure your voters know where all of their polling places are. Incorporating a link to local polling stations might be the difference between a win or a loss. Voters are sometimes discouraged from turning up at polls, citing traffic, long lines or inconvenient polling locations as reasons for not voting. Making every available polling location common knowledge to your constituent base can alleviate some of these common problems!
Use your campaign text messages to keep your voters informed of voting registration deadlines, polling locations and voting days to get the most out of your text messaging campaigns. Voters who know will show up.
For voters who have difficulty making it to the polls, send a link that will get them access to Lyft’s rides for voters. This will help get people with transportation challenges to the polls free of cost.
Short and Sweet
There is an important distinction between emails and text messages, and it is a distinction that makes texting the clear winner when it comes to efficacy in campaigning. The open rate of emails is about 20%, with the majority being ignored or directly transferred into junk mail folders. By contrast, the open rate of text messages sits at a gorgeous 90%.
A major element in the success of text messaging campaigns is how concise the messages are. Short messages mean a quick read, without recipients having to wade through tons of political jargon and fluff. This is important to remember when composing your texts. You want to keep them short, sweet and to the point. If you need to deliver more complex information, make your text a simple call to action, inviting recipients to go to a webpage (use a url shortener to keep it concise), to a facebook group or to a rally in order to get all the information you want to deliver.
Another key element in texting campaigns is to not overdo it. Don’t start your text campaigns by blasting your voters with 15 texts a week— that’s an excellent way to have a lot of people opt out of your messaging list really quickly. One way to keep your messages limited is to only send messages that contribute real value to your campaign. Utilize messages to make a call to action, to contribute critical information like deadlines (as mentioned above), or to organize turnout for events, rallies, and debates.
Most SMS Messaging for Political Campaign carriers limit their text lengths to a mere 160 characters. Anything over that will arrive in multiple texts, which again can lead to unsubscribers.
Make a personal statement, your call to action, and whatever critical information you need to deliver, be it a shortened URL, a date and location for an event, the broadcast time of a debate, etc. Keep it sweet and simple, and you will grow your constituency.
Going forward, we will see the importance of personalized text messaging campaigns grow more and more. Robocent can get you implemented in this transition now, so you can make the most of your campaign this year. Maximizing your texting campaigns doesn’t have to be a challenge, and for more tips you can check out the 3 Deadly Mistakes That Politicians Make With Their Political Text Message Campaigns.
Robocent’s Peer-to-Peer (P2P) SMS messaging services go above and beyond your standard opt-in lists. With real people, we can help you get going with a highly personalized text messaging campaign. We even send out a personalized message to your voters on their birthdays, keeping you connected year round— not just leading up to Election Day.