The strategy you use for your texts is extremely important and can make or break a campaign.
Why Use Political Text Messaging
97% of Americans communicate via text every day. Due to texting’s popularity, political candidates and campaign consultants are capitalizing on it in order to reach as many voters as possible.
Why Use Political Text Messaging?
The text messaging app is the most used app on smartphones. With 97 percent of Americans using text messaging at least once a day, political candidates and campaign consultants are starting to utilize this service to reach voters.
Benefits of the Text Platform
Texting is one of the most effective and efficient ways to get voter engagement. Texts have an astounding 98% open rate, and within three minutes, 90% of targets have actually read the text.
Even more interesting (and good for campaigns!) is that about half of the message recipients will respond to the text within about 90 seconds of having opened it. What this does for the campaign is give instant feedback, which then gives them information that they’ll use to increase the percentage of voter turnout.
Voter Turnout Increases
Tech for Campaigns (TCF) has conducted research on voter behavior. They found out that simply by receiving a political text, the voter turnout rate actually increases by 1%. While that number might look pretty low and dismal, it’s actually going to make a big difference.
For example, when TCF studied districts in which text messaging was used, they discovered that that 1% increase in voter turnout would have made an enormous difference. In fact, that 1% would actually have been enough for the Democrats to have won five out of the seven races they lost in 2018.
Texts and the 27 – 50 Year Olds
By strategically targeting certain sets of registered voters, text messaging can significantly improve the rate of voter attendance.
An interesting fact on texting’s positive impact is that it especially effects the registered voters in the 27 – 50 age range. The turnout rate for those voters who’d received political texts was 8% higher than that of the voters who didn’t receive texts.
Texting is Simple
Texting’s simplicity is what really helps voter engagement soar. People love pictures, videos, links, and event information presented to them in a simple fashion. The electorate’s daily life is busy enough, so receiving a political text where all they have to do is click a link is extremely appealing.
How It Works
The legal requirements surrounding political text messaging are extremely stringent. Unless someone has opted-in beforehand, they won’t receive an automated text message; the text they’re receiving has to be sent by a human.
There’s a common misconception that all text messaging is automated, but like we mentioned above, that’s not the case. Many of the political texts sent to voters are actually sent by real humans in real time.
It’s a big challenge for most organizations to have humans send their texts, due mostly to time and lack of enough employees available and able to do it. But that’s not an issue for us at RoboCent. We’ve got over 30 in-house agents who manually send all outbound messages.
All of RoboCent’s agents and support staff are US-based, registered voters. They’re thoroughly vetted and operate under our nondisclosure agreement.
We know how important your private content is, and therefore, when you opt for a managed SMS Connect account, how imperative it is to have a trustworthy team handling that content.
Our agents and support staff are reliable and trustworthy. Of almost equal importance is that they’re relatable to the voting constituents, and that they care deeply about American politics.
Service users are averaging 4,000-6,000 outbound texts an hour. Comparatively, RoboCent’s in-house agents average 7,500-10,000 texts an hour. Even though our agents are fast and efficient, it’s not uncommon for some of our customers to prefer using their own staff instead.
In the case that a customer chooses to use their staff to text their constituents, RoboCent has an Agent Portal that’s set up and ready for our customers to use.
Connect With Your Constituents
Personal connections go a long way not only in people’s own lives, but in the political arena as well. Our goal is to use texting to create a personal relationship between the client and the contact.
Crafting Personalized Conversations
So how do we achieve this? We create and use conversations that are carefully crafted. This allows us to engage the voters by using topics of conversation that matter deeply to them. Because these conversations are personalized, they also present the perfect opportunity for you to mention your name.
Now, not only are your voters engaged, but they’ll also feel closer to you and your views because they feel they’ve made a personal connection.
Personal Texting Creates Loyal Voters
It’s proven that strategic, repeated messaging is one of the most effective means of communication that a candidate can use to reach their constituents. RoboCent helps you reach a huge number of targeted voters across the US. We do this by sending millions of texts containing the key information on your campaign.
Our focus on personalized texting allows the electorate to be active participants. This is so important because it’s basically building a pool of voters who feel heard and represented, thus creating intense loyalty.
The initial way you engage with your constituents via text message is the key to getting them interested and then keeping them bought in.
- Start with a simple, introductory text that lets you get acquainted with the target contact. This could be anything from wishing them a happy holiday, to a happy birthday, or inviting them to an event.
- Send a second message on the same topic a week or two after the first message.
- Since active participation is the goal, you’ll want to use a call-to-action tactic that gets the contact involved. The best way to do this is to ask them to “like” you on Facebook or to ask them to visit your website.
- Now that you’ve established a personal connection with the voter, you’re in a better position to ask them if they’d like to donate to the campaign.
Contact Doesn’t Stop After the First Few Texts
The steps mentioned above are like the hook. After you’ve hooked your contact, you’ll want to continue contacting them in order to maintain the relationship.
This continued contact will help keep your campaign at the forefront of your voters’ minds, as well as keeping them updated on any relevant political news.
Keep It Personal
Texting is a casual way to stay in close contact with your friends, and a quick and easy way to relay information.
The most successful political campaigns send out texts that are personal, like if you were talking with a close friend. People respond best to scripts that use high-energy language, direct questions, and casual tones like the following examples:
- High-energy language like, “It would be awesome to see you there!”
- Casual tones like, “A bunch of us are gonna swing by…”
- Direct questions like, “Can you make it?”
In addition to using engaging messages, also note that it’s important to do the following:
- Retain some information like the exact location of the event so you can send more messages.
- Use custom tracking links to maximize the click-through rate.
- Use a volunteer persona when messaging instead of acting as the candidate or campaign official.
- Aim to engage the contact fully before mentioning anything about donations.
- Once you are in a position to ask for a contribution, avoid directly asking for a set amount. Instead, ask the voter if you can send information on how to support the campaign by donating.
- There are many opportunities for texting voters; it’s just a matter of choosing an appropriate reason. For instance, if it is their birthday, you could send a message wishing the voter a happy birthday. From our experience, many people appreciate this, especially as nothing is being asked of them.
- We have developed a new program that facilitates communications with the electorate. So when it is their birthday month or actual birthday, they’ll receive a nice message. Something as simple as this can help to restore trust in politicians because it shows that they care.
- Other reasons for messaging voters include: holiday greetings, legislative updates, surveys, polls, election days, representative outreach, reporting issues, event invites, and fundraising inquiries.
- Whatever the purpose, we can assist you and help you achieve your goals. SMS Connect is a great tool and when utilized, you should see a maximized return on your donations.
Merge Tags Mobilize Voters
We use SMS Connect at RoboCent because it allows us to add personal touches to any outbound text. This drives home the point that every vote not only counts, but that every vote is counted.
We use unique ‘merge tags’ in order to achieve this personalized touch. Merge tags fill in the gaps in the text messages in a way that looks and reads very naturally, as well as giving the text the feel of a personal conversation.
To really get the recipient’s attention, we create a powerful text that uses their name, age, and polling location. SMS Connect also lets us add in custom links and pictures which drives up the open rate.
Merge tags are extremely powerful, but they’re not the only tool we use to attract the reader’s attention. The following are two examples of some of the powerful text scripts we use:
“Dear (contact’s name), happy birthday! Here’s to a bright, healthy, and exciting future! Congressman………..(picture attached with birthday greeting).”
“Hi! This is (agent’s name) with the……….campaign. Don’t forget tomorrow is Election Day and………..is the right choice for Richmond! Please vote for………..to continue to serve us – he would be honored to have your support.”
The correct script for the relevant occasion, combined with merge tags for personal effect, is a powerful strategy that is guaranteed to mobilize voters.