The Pillars of Political Text Message Marketing

In the many blogs and much commentary that we've provided so far, we've outlined the conceptual benefits that text message marketing has on your campaign. This means ideas-- things that could, in the long run and looking at a big picture, increase voter turnout in your favor. And throughout every blog, we've outlined a few of the same key concepts, concepts which we'd like to call the pillars of political text message marketing.

Without utilizing these pillars to strengthen your texting campaign, you might have a rougher time trying to build your empire.

What we aim to do in this blog post is reflect on and highlight these pillars, and develop some detail-oriented steps to help you turn these concepts into reality.

In our blog post Text Message Marketing for Political Campaigns, we went in-depth about how RoboCent can help you build these pillars. And the explanations is fairly simple for every different benefit that SMS Marketing can provide: it's an innovative tool that can help you connect with voters and nurture long lasting relationships with your constituents. In this blog post, we'll be reflecting on points made in that original blog post, and going further by providing concrete examples how you can make each of them happen.

Learn More About the Voter

"During the opt in process, be sure to collect information from the voter such as name, zip code, email, demographics, and any other appropriate information relevant to your campaign. By gathering this information right away, your campaign will be able to use the data to its advantage by creating more focused marketing strategy. Learning more about your base will give you the opportunity to personally assess their needs. In the long run, you’ll be able to represent them in the best way possible."

A few things that you could ask for in your initiating conversation with a voter are things that can help you understand their motivation in the polls. Flowing Data explains with an Economist flow chart the correlations between different voter demographics and political leanings; the proof is in the pudding. People's life experiences and "hand of cards" will likely be a huge influencer for the way that they vote. Here are a few things that you could formulaically ask for after gaining consent and participation from a subscriber:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Specific location
  • Past voting habits
  • Education status
  • Political group associations

People will be more likely to offer you this information if you are transparent with them about your intentions. You'd like to connects, and get to better understand their walk of life. Gathering demographic information is necessary so you can help people who might be in a similar predicament, and back it up with statistics. After all:

"The casual nature of texting might give your campaign a better rate of responses. Most people would be willing to offer information during an initial sign up rather than days or months later, especially if it’s just over text. However, don’t treat this effortless collection of data as an afterthought. Initial data collection will give your team the opportunity to use the information as soon as possible rather than trying to scrounge for data too late in the game."

Gain Invaluable Feedback from the Source

Demographical, statistical information isn't the only form of feedback you're able to receive. SMS gives you the unparalleled opportunity and convenience to connect with voters and make a change if needed.

"Through a simple text message, your campaign can remind voters to, well, vote! Using quick SMS messages, your campaign can easily guide voters through the entire election process. You can provide resources on how to register, locations where to vote, and relevant information concerning the election."

A few examples of some questions you can ask via text message, that might give you some valuable insight on your campaign are as follows:

Yes or No Questions:

  • Does this candidate seem down-to-earth?
  • Do you feel like this candidate is working for the benefit of their constituents?
  • Would you vote for this candidate?
  • If resources were available, would you donate money to this campaign or related causes?
  • Do you believe the candidate is prioritizing the right issues?

Open-ended Questions:

  • What do you think this candidate should focus more on?
  • What do you think this candidate does that is positive?
  • Do you think this candidate has a positive or a negative impact on the community? Explain why.
  • What could this candidate do better?
  • How would you like to communicate with this candidate?
  • How will you plan on keeping up with this election?

Your campaign can obviously plan on coming up with questions that are more fit to your needs, but these might be a great place to get started. The point is, you have endless feedback at your fingertips: make sure to take full advantage of it.

Event Management

"Using SMS Marketing, your campaign will not only be able to get the word out about campaign events, but gather feedback and a ballpark headcount as quickly and efficiently as possible ... Through setting up an RSVP campaign, you’ll be able to monitor and track the general interest in your event or fundraiser, using the responses from your initial SMS message. You’ll also want to make sure that you provide recipients with a clear and convenient way to respond. While text messaging is convenient, RSVP campaigns can quickly become complicated if you don’t provide clear steps through well-worded text messages."

RSVP campaigns are the shining star of sms when used for event planning, but there are many other ways you could use text messages to organize a campaign event.

The truth is, people don't necessarily have to register or RSVP for your event through text in order for you to get them involved. During registry, make a step that requires them or gives them the option to hook their phones up to receive alerts and notifications regarding the event. Or you could require them to text in, so they'll be able to interact with our campaign during the event itself.

Remember that you have the ability to use text message marketing during an actual event. Using live text-message marketing tactics, you'll be able to prompt event-goers to interact with your campaign; and you'll even have the possibility of sharing live data from these text interactions while at the event. Examples of these text interactions could include polls, feedback or suggestions, or even general comments about the event itself.

Employing a staff member to man the SMS tools, you could project the results after quickly processing them. The possibilities are endless, but one thing is for sure; with text message marketing, a little creativity and an excellent service can take you a long way.

Gather Volunteers and Advocates

"Texting to get volunteers expedites any tedious registration process, and makes getting involved much easier and even fun. Text-to-recruit can also enhance engagement overall because of its convenience. Some people don’t volunteer simply because they don’t know where to start. By using SMS to recruit volunteers, you’ll be able to recruit people who you wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else. Instead of waiting for volunteers to come to you, you can go to them."

As we outlined in our mobile canvassing blog, volunteers are a vital part of the campaign and election process. Without a group of people passionate about your mission, you wouldn't be able to affect the change that you hope to. This is why using text message marketing can be such a benefit in the pursuit of volunteers.

After gaining positive responses from voters via text message, be sure to slide volunteer opportunities across the table. Texting is the perfect way to casually enlist people to help you cause; and in the day and age of mobile canvassing, it will be a comfortable transition for the volunteer. They'll be able to go from talking to your campaign, to talking to others about your campaign, all in one smooth push of the send button.

Provide Useful Reminders for Registration, Voting, and Vital Legislative Events

"Through a simple text message, your campaign can remind voters to, well, vote! Using quick SMS messages, your campaign can easily guide voters through the entire election process. You can provide resources on how to register, locations where to vote, and relevant information concerning the election."

As mentioned before, text message marketing is an extremely helpful tool in reminding people about campaign events and significant dates in your campaign's progress. However, as a true public servant, you'll be able to use text message marketing to send reminders about public issues and relevant legislative dates; this will keep your constituents informed on the political discourse that you engage in.

Here are a few occasions which you can remind your voters of:

  • Day of Registration, and the days leading up to it
  • Voting day
  • Voting locations
  • Voting registration guidance
  • National holidays that pertain to your platform. For example, if you're a candidate who values renewable energy, you could send a text on Earth Day

Concrete is Key

Being concrete about your plans and objectives is key to executing the perfect text campaign. Having specific ideas with realistic outcomes is the best way to implement such an innovative strategy like text message marketing. Hopefully we've been able to provide a few examples as a runway for your campaign to take off.