It is not only important that you reach out to voters, but that you reach out to voters the right way. This means utilizing various methods of communication, knowing your audience, and putting customer service first. Reaching out to the masses in an appropriate manner is how the Obama campaign recruited 2.2 million volunteers during his first election campaign.
Methods of Communication
There are many ways to reach voters. Television ads, social media ads, billboards, yard signs, etc. The most direct and effective way to reach the masses is through SMS or robocalls. When you use Robocent you can send out mass texts, or you can use our robocall platform to call landlines.
Landlines are a really great way to reach older voters, who may not have a cell phone or be an avid texter. While on the other hand, SMS texts are a great way to reach busy professionals and those who are younger and constantly on the go.
Both texting and calling can help engage voters to support your campaign. These channels of communication are especially useful for getting out the vote, recruiting volunteers, and requesting donations. In part, these methods are so effective because if done the right way, they can reach voters on a personal level that is much appreciated.
There are a couple of different methods used to send out SMS texts. One way is through Text Blasts, while the other is through peer to peer texting. The important thing to remember when choosing one of these methods is the level of personalization and needs of the voter in response to your text.
Text blasts are more useful for last minute GOTV texts and campaign updates. The goal here is if you are sending out a mass text or automated blast, to make sure that the receiver will have minimal questions. When using blasts, make sure that the text blast has readily prepared automated responses. An example of this would be an RSVP test with a request of “Reply 1 for yes and 2 for no,” and a follow up message of “Thanks for your reservation! See you soon!”
Peer to peer texting is going to be better if you are trying to gauge a voter's level of support, connect with them so that they feel more open to volunteering or donating, and answering any campaign related questions that they may have.
By answering asking what your campaign goals are, this will help you decide the best channel of communication.
RVMs are ringless voicemail drops. This method is specifically for mobile phone users and is a great way to contact voters without being intrusive. The concept here is that the phone never actually rings, but goes straight to voicemail leaving a message. Once the recipient receives a voicemail notification they can listen to it and choose to follow-up with your campaign if a follow up is requested. In the voicemail you can provide voting information, call back information, and reminders. RVMs allow for more information to get across, information that you wouldn’t be able to get across in a quick and simple text message.
This method of reaching the masses can be good for voter identification, voter persuasion, and last minute GOTV. There is a lot you can do with RVMs.
Defining Your Target Audience
Defining your target audience is one of the #1 ways to reach the masses the right way. The way to do this is by understanding your voters in order to reach your main objective which is gaining their support and their vote.
- Look into your voter’s demographics, where they live, their age, their educational level, etc. This kind of voter data is all made readily available to you through our website
- Know their past political affiliations and voting behavior. This will help gauge their likelihood of supporting your campaign, and how you can try to win their votes and support.
Be Prepared to Answer Voters Questions
Make sure that when contacting voters, you have all the answers. People like when knowledgeable people can answer their questions immediately and without delay. Some questions that a voter may ask are:
- How and where to vote
- Sample ballot questions
- Important dates
- Campaign contact information
- Key issues that the candidate/campaign supports
When you use our platform, you can choose what number the recipients see. This is important because you will want to ensure that voters see a local number if possible. A local number ensures the likelihood of them picking up the phone or opening up the text message. Unknown numbers and 800 numbers tend to be spammy and are often ignored, so try to avoid these kinds of numbers. You can even choose to get a new number through us if you do not already have a number you would like to use.
Another thing to remember is to never leave a voter hanging. Make sure volunteers are replying to the incoming messages and answering the voters questions first before requesting anything. At the very end of the conversation is the best time to provide donation links and website links. Before you do this you want to ensure that you have engaged and earned the respect of the voter. This kind of communication is done best through peer-to peer (P2P) texting.
One of the reasons why RVMs can be more beneficial than text messages is you can get across more information in just a short time span. When texting, you want to keep text messages minimal and length, capture the reader, and get to the point. If your campaign message is too long, the receiver might not even bother reading it, so to avoid being sent to the trash, make sure you don’t overwhelm the voter with lengthy texts.
Craft the Perfect Message
You don’t just want to be sending out any old message. You want to be sending out messages that are crafted to perfection in order to elicit the response that you want from voters.
- Use a greeting like “Hello Anna.”
- Have something exciting to say, “Are you ready for this week's upcoming event?” Something like this will get the recipient to keep reading the message.
- Provide some meaningful information, links, or campaign contact info.
- Close out the message with a sincere thank you or other similar message.
- Keep the fluff and extras to a minimum.
The goal is to inform and persuade them, not to annoy them. Send a couple or a few messages, but if you aren’t getting responses, then it is time to move on. Persistency is good, but not at the risk of coming on too strong. Plus, if they feel overwhelmed by the volume of texts they are receiving from your campaign, then they will opt-out anyways.
While you do not want to overwhelm voters, you also want to make sure that you are adding value and being strategic in your political communication game plan.
It is important to understand that your campaign is most likely not the only campaign voters are hearing from. Especially during election season, voters are bombarded with information on candidates. Having a strategic game plan as to how you campaign will come out on top is important. What sets you apart from the others? What kind of community outreach are you doing? How are you connecting with local voters?
The next part is to send texts strategically. College students might not want to be woken up by a text at 7 in the morning on a Saturday. That is more than likely to upset them and not result in support of your campaign. At the same time, sending messages too late is not good either. Some people wake up at 3AM for work, and thus are in bed by 7 or 8PM. You don’t want to disrupt them either. This is another reason why RVMs are great because people can listen to your voicemail on their time without any sort of ringing notification that is disrupting their daily life or sleep schedule.
If you are choosing to send out texts, either via blasts or P2P, try to aim for afternoon hours. You aren’t going to be able to accommodate everyone's schedule, after all you aren’t psychic, but at least you can accommodate the masses.
When in doubt of which method to choose, texting or RVMs, do them both–but not simultaneously. Combine RVM or robocall communication with SMS texts. You can introduce your campaign using an RVM and then followup at a later date via text message, or vice versa. The important thing is to cover all of your bases.
Sometimes, political marketing is a trial and error type of thing. Try multiple methods of marketing your campaign, decide which method works best, and run with it. Robocent has marketing options for every campaign. Try one, try them all! The important thing to remember is to consider your audience, be respectful in your tactics, and remember that a little bit of personalization goes a long way.