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Text Message Marketing for Political Campaigns

6 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Nov 2, 2018 6:00:00 AM

In a rapidly-changing world, in which new technologies emerge daily, text message marketing is currently experiencing an incredible growth throughout all industries of the corporate environment; yet there is more to this simple, modern, and intimate mean of communication than connecting customers with their favorite brands of products and services.

Currently, text message marketing is being implemented by more and more individuals and organizations outside of private enterprise, with non-profit foundations running their charitable campaigns via text message marketing, and politicians turning to text messaging for engaging with their voters.

It has been ten years since political campaigns and politicians have discovered the powers of the internet and of social media for interacting with voters and attracting new supporters. 2008 was also the year when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced Joe Biden as his choice of Vice-President via text message. Since then, text message marketing for political campaigns has seen a significant increase in usage with politicians and political campaigns turning to it not only in the United States, but during campaigns all over the world.

Today we will discuss why text message marketing solutions are such a good mean of engaging with voters and supporters, best practices for doing so, and what you need to know in terms of text message marketing compliancy.

Benefits of Text Message Marketing for Political Campaigns

Text message marketing can be used for an extensive array of purposes when it comes to political campaigns, such as: collecting voter information, sending campaign updates, conducting opinion polls, sending information about events, organizing volunteer campaigns, or sending reminders for increasing voter turnout. Using text message marketing will significantly increase the efforts of your political campaign. Let’s take a look at some of the most essential benefits:

  • Text messages are more effective than emails as they have a 98% open rate
  • It guarantees speed of delivery and an excellent reach
  • Any cell phone can receive text messages, as opposed to needing a smartphone for social media campaigns
  • It is an outstanding way of reaching young voters
  • You are engaging with voters and supporters based on their previous consent as text message marketing relies on an opt-in from those receiving them
  • Modern text message marketing solutions come with great features and give you complete control over your campaign
  • Text message marketing allows you to target all generations with a channel of communication used by everyone
  • With text messaging being one of the most popular means of communication, there is no limit in what you can achieve with a campaign conducted via text messaging

In terms of benefits, text message marketing for political campaigns offer a wide array of successful outcomes, depending on what your needs are, and how you choose to implement them. Make sure you are making the most of your text message marketing strategies with these political campaigns best practices.

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Text Message Marketing for Political Campaigns Best Practices

Regardless of how efficient and popular text message marketing is, when improperly implemented, it can lead to unsatisfactory results, which is why you need to have a few aspects in mind when drafting and implementing your text message marketing strategies.

Drafting a Text Message Marketing Calendar

With text messaging being such a simple and intimate mean of communication, you need to make sure you are not overburdening your voters and supporters with a lot of messages, and also that you are sending the right messages at the right time. Therefore, having a text message marketing calendar in place is of utmost importance for all political campaigns. Keep people engaged by hearing from you regularly, telling them about your goals, objectives, and intermediary results, but don’t overwhelm them with too many messages, and especially don’t send them at the wrong time, such as in the middle of the night.

Making the Most of Call-to-Action

A political campaign is oftentimes burdened by the swiftness with which voters and supporters change their mind, how polls can vary from one day to the next or from one political event to the next, which is why having text messaging at hand is a great strategy. Turn to a call-to-action when you need to change the direction in which your campaign is going by sending messages to get people to interact with you during an event, a television broadcasting of a debate, or any other relevant matters. For example, if your opponent is engaged in a live debate on radio or television, you can text your supporters to send pertinent questions and express their support for your campaign.

Conducting Opinion Polls and Surveys

A great way to understand your voters and supporters better is to conduct opinion polls and surveys via text messages on subjects of interest to your campaign. Make sure that your first message is one in which you ask for consent for participating in the poll, such as:

“Hi! We are conducting a poll to assess voter issues in your area. Answer YES to take part in the poll or NO to exit the campaign. Thank you for all your support!”

Managing Events and Organizing Volunteer Campaigns

What better way to organize and keep track of your events and volunteer campaigns than through text message marketing? Regardless of your political campaign, or the stage in which you are, using text messaging to send out invitations and identify the people who will be attending is a simple and effective way of always being one step ahead of your opponents. Being organized and gathering all the important data will help you have the well-matched response no matter the situation. Sending out invites for volunteering activities within your campaign and manage the information of how those activities are performing is easy and highly successful throughout a text messaging solution, rather than email or phone calls.

Sending GOTV Reminders

Voter turnout is a matter of great significance for all political campaigns. Even if your campaign was highly successful, having people stay at home on election day can be a disaster, which is why GOTV reminders are an important part of any political campaign. And with people dealing with so much information on a daily basis, the best way to remind them about voting is via text message. If you think of all the emails that remain unopened and of all the calls that are not answered, you will understand why a text message will always do the trick. GOTV efforts conducted via text message marketing throughout the duration of a campaign can have significant results when come election day.

Text Message Marketing for Political Campaigns Compliancy

As is the case with all text message marketing campaigns, text message marketing for political campaigns has to abide by a set of rules and regulations dictated by industry regulators. The current U.S. political campaign gives us the perfect example in terms of compliancy, with the case of Texas’ Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke and his campaign, which is now sued for allegedly sending spam text messages. The accusations refer to text messages being sent without consent, thus allegedly being in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

To make sure your political campaign text message marketing strategies are in full compliancy with the TCPA, you need to know the following:

  • you can only contact people who gave their consent to receive text messages from your political campaign
  • you are not allowed to buy telephone numbers to use for your text message marketing strategy nor accept phone number lists from people who support you as a candidate
  • you are not allowed to use the phone number of people who gave consent from other campaigns than the current one
  • you need to always give people the option to opt-out of receiving your campaign messages

As for Federal Election Commission (FEC) compliancy, you need to consider the following aspects:

  • you can only provision text message short codes in the United States, as foreigners can’t send donation messages
  • for collecting donations via text messages, you need to be registered with the FEC and other relevant State authorities
  • you are not allowed to switch short codes in the middle of the political campaign
  • donations in the amount of more than $50 a month from one mobile phone number are not allowed
  • all text messages need to have a hyperlink leading to the unabbreviated attestation

The FEC rules and regulations when it comes to political campaigns are numerous but not difficult to be in compliance with, as long as you utilize a professional text message marketing solution. For any doubts you might have, you can contact a lawyer and find out more about this.

Text message marketing for political campaigns is a simple, intimate, and highly effective way of getting in touch with voters and supporters. If you are implementing the right strategies and are always in compliance with the TCPA and the FEC, your campaign can only benefit from it.

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Topics: text message marketing