Once the dust settles after every election, most people will remember the victory speeches, the countless amount of ads that crowded your favorite TV shows, the zingers, and of course the notable one-liners - the things that memes are made of. However, there’s something else slowly creeping its way into our political atmosphere - Political Text Message Campaigns.
If you paid close attention to the candidates on the podium during the recent elections you’d have noticed a sign on the podium with the candidate’s name. Yes, a sign on the podium with the candidate’s name is nothing new, however, what is new are instructions on how to join the conversation by using text messaging. This all started around 2016 when most candidates started using political text message campaigns as an important part of their campaign strategy.
This is an amazing development because it has never been this easy to join the political conversation. Sure we’ve got different social media channels where people can interact with others and engage in meaningful debates. However, using a social media platform requires your potential voters to sign up for and create an account on those platforms. Simply typing in 10 keys on your mobile phone and pressing “send” gives you access to a national movement. Today phones are playing a bigger role in the political area, for more information see our blog on "Where do phones fit into politics in a PC world?"
There are so many moments that we will remember 2016 for, but at the top of any list will be the obvious increase in political text messages. SMS messaging has become a critical component when it comes to managing a successful political campaign. Right about now most politicians are using SMS messaging to spread the word about their upcoming speeches and rallies, their views and positions, requests for donations and of course their news blurbs.
So why are political campaigns so eager to use this method as an important part of their campaign strategy?
If you’re familiar with technology then this first reason for an increase in political text messages should be pretty obvious. Sending a text message cuts straight through the noise and gets right in the face of your potential voters. After all, it’s incredibly easy to avoid checking your emails or filter out certain emails from your main inbox. Political TV ads have been used in recent elections so much so that voters have become so accustomed to them that they are hardly effective. Additionally, most younger voters aren’t even watching cable so your message never had the chance to reach them.
However, almost everyone has their mobile phones with them all the time. Texting is actually what we turn to when we need an urgent response. Forget “get out the vote” now we are looking at “text out the vote”. We use our phones for so many things, shopping, work, entertainment it just makes sense to hit your potential voters right where they are.
Because we’ve been constantly bombarded by so much noise; email notifications, ads, we’ve gotten to the point where out of necessity we’ve learned to silence them. We have email filters to send the emails that we don’t want to read to the email graveyard folder (a.k.a the SPAM folder.) So try sending a political email ad you’ll soon find your open rates plummeting because it’s been filtered out.
Don’t think that you’re going to call your potential voters and get them picking up the phone either. Your voters have Caller ID and they are using it to avoid calls from unknown numbers. Let Robocent Political Phone Marketing help you with a strategy.
But the one thing that truly cuts right through the noise is text messages. Most people will read their text messages within minutes of receiving them.
Aside from being able to cut through the noise and be seen by your potential voters, another reason for the rise of political text message campaigns is its ability to connect politicians with potential voters who do not have smartphones. You’d be surprised by the number of Americans who do not own a smartphone. According to the Mobile Fact Sheet, 81% of Americans own a smartphone. This means that if you rely on connecting with your potential voters using methods that require the use of a smartphone then you are eliminating 19% of the population.
This is especially true for the voters who live in rural America.
Your non-smartphone voters might not be able to see your ads, or your Facebook posts or your Tweets on their mobile devices, but they will most definitely see your text messages.
Back in the day, we had volunteers go door to door talking to potential voters, however with the rise in political text messaging campaigns we don’t need to use this very time-intensive method of campaigning. Now, you can simply send out a text message asking for a certain response and then engage with the potential voter once they respond. Sending text messages is by far cheaper than having volunteers go door to door.
What’s great about sending out these text messages is that once a potential voter responds the volunteer can continue the conversation with that person. This makes it just as personal as having someone show up on your doorstep. For many people, text messaging is a more private and intimate method of communication; one that feels authentic and puts people in that relaxed mode to communicate on a one-on-one basis. It is no wonder that politicians are taking advantage of communicating their message via SMS.
Here are some interesting statistics that were taken from the article “From Get-Out-To-Vote To Text-Out-To-Vote: The Rise Of Peer-To-Peer Texting” that shows how just how fast political text messaging is growing.
“In 2016, Hustle worked with about 100 campaigns and organizations. And, on Election Day of that year, it sent about 5.5 million text messages. By 2018, Hustle grew to 1,300 Democratic campaigns and sent more than 200 million text messages. On Election Day of this year alone, about 50,000 volunteers were responsible for sending 20 million messages.”
Another reason for the rise in political text messages is its amazing open rates. Political SMS messages that are sent via a mobile phone typically sees a more than 90% open rate. What’s even better is that these amazing results happen within the first 5 minutes after sending out a message. The potential benefits to politicians of these super high open rates are incredible.
What’s even better is that these text messages can be used to help political campaigns send messages about their upcoming events and appearances, to share their point of view, to seek donations and importantly, to update potential voters about any last-minute polling station updates.
An example of this medium being used to communicate important information can be seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. One particular client of a robocall company such as Robocent used SMS messaging to make sure that the people who were displaced by Hurricane Michael were okay. That client was also able to send information with links to various resources that could provide them with hurricane relief. Additionally, they were also able to provide them with important information about how to vote if their ability to vote had been affected by the hurricane.
Another example of political campaigns using SMS messaging, like SMS Messaging for Political Campaign:, to provide voters with valuable real-time information can be found in Georgia with the Stacey Abrams' campaign. On Election Day in Georgia, a few polling stations were experiencing technical difficulties, as a result the opening hours for those polling stations were extended until 10:00 pm. The Stacey Abrams' campaign seized the opportunity to use this fast method of communication to send out last-minute information to voters letting them know the locations of the polling stations that had extended their opening hours.
Love it or hate it political text messaging is not only here to stay but will continue to rise and increase in its popularity. Regardless of whether you are Democrat, Republican or Independent if you’re on any election committee you need to include sending SMS messages to your constituents as a part of your campaign machinery. Sending SMS messages to potential voters is fast, easy, affordable, informative and in some instances fun for both parties alike.