Text Message Marketing for Political Campaigns

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Political Text Messages for Campaigning

It’s been called the most important text message in history.

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama announced his VP pick of Joe Biden to nearly 3 million Americans via text messaging.

Obama went on to use those 3 million contacts to organize rallies, inform supporters, and generate record-shattering donations from grassroots contributors. Many analysts credit Obama’s win to this strong engagement through emerging media.

The efficacy of text message campaigning is one issue both parties can agree on.

The Romney campaign championed texting as well, stating that “the American public has embraced texting as an important form of communication and commerce.”

When you’re running for political office, whether it’s the Oval Office or a spot on city council, staying closely connected with voters is the key to victory.

Texting can turn the tide of an election. Read on to learn how.

Using Text Messages for Political Campaigns

Prominent politicians have used texts to their advantage. What are the best ways to use political text messages for your campaign? From voter registration to sharing your politics, here are just a few common uses.

1. Voting day reminder

Send registered voters a friendly text on election day reminding them to cast their vote. You can even include a link to help them find their polling place! Leading up the election, be sure to give constituents notice of early and absentee voting deadlines.

There are millions of U.S. citizens who still aren’t registered to vote. Regardless of your party or beliefs, texting can also be a great way to encourage people to get active and exercise their 15th amendment right. Use your voice to encourage voter registration. That way, win or lose, you’ve made a difference!

Today 11:34 AM
Atlanta! The polls are open until 8 p.m. Get those votes in and have your voice heard! Find your polling place here: http://txt.st/LUKRBX #VoteForStreep

2. Event alerts

The campaign trail keeps your calendar packed with events. The success of each one is often related to how many people you can get in the room. Maximize your success and invite your supporters to rallies, town hall meetings, and other campaign events all via text message! If they can’t make it, be sure to alert them about important media appearances they won’t want to miss as well.

Today 2:00 PM
#TeamRollo Charlotte. We’re hosting a rally in Myers Park this Saturday @ noon. Wear your purple and come on out to support your next Mayor 🤝💜!

3. Important announcements

Like Obama’s historic text message, making anticipated announcements via text is a great way to actively involve supporters. Releasing information in politics is always a carefully crafted process, and you want to make sure your message is heard when you want it to be. With 90% of text messages read within three minutes of receipt, you can take control of your narrative when you need to.

Examples of political announcement text messages could be: election day vote count updates, running mate decisions, debate highlights, and event reminders.

Today 4:02 PM
Breaking News! Presidential hopeful Bobby Flay has chosen Rachael Ray as his VP pick.

4. Organize volunteers

Text messaging makes grassroots organizing a snap. If your constituents can’t donate money, a great alternative is asking them to donate time. Organize rallies and recruit volunteers all with a simple text.

Today 11:30 AM
30 volunteers needed to go door to door in South Philly this Sunday. Please sign up if you’re available 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️ http://txt.st/WBWEIQ #Doit4Dukoff

5. Take a stance

Stay ahead of the media curve. Communicate your politics on emerging issues with registered voters instantly and let your supporters know where you stand. You can even text out guides or infographics via MMS that let your supporters know a rundown of your opinions on key issues. This will help keep them educated and your political text messages understood.

Today 9:55 AM
#TeamRothfuss supporters: Tonight’s debate on affordable housing will be heated 🏘. Follow along by reading more about why I support initiatives related to the cause: http://txt.st/WBWEIQ

6. Mobilize the youth vote

Among young adults 18–34, texting is the single most preferred channel for personal communications. Connect with young people personally to win their hearts, minds, and ultimately their votes.

Today 3:19 PM
You spoke and we listened: tune in to Senator Ojukwu’s podcast on creating a green clean state here in MA. Search #ReElectOjukwu anywhere you stream.

Rules and Regulations For Political Text Messages

Text marketing is guided by all things compliance . But when it comes to political text messages, extra precautions should be taken to ensure no campaign regulations are broken.

First and foremost, ensure that you’re advertising the fact that replying to messages with STOP will unsubscribe someone at any time. Additionally, know that it is illegal to buy phone numbers or contact lists and send them messages without consent. But outside of those guidelines, you’re free to interact with your audience per campaign rules!

Getting Voters Signed Up

You’ve seen how powerful text messages can be to a political campaign. By turning supporters into subscribers, you can better engage the public, organize rallies and events, and ultimately mobilize the vote. Below, we share strategies to help your campaign get as many subscribers as possible.

While there are many ways to collect your supporters’ cell numbers (a digital or physical sign-up form, for example), there’s one method that consistently gets the most subscribers: ask them to text you!

Just have your supporters text your keyword to our short code. They’ll be subscribed automatically—no paperwork and no forms. This makes for a concise call to action and encourages impulsive subscribers.

Examples:

  • Text “ROMNEY” to 555888 to get messages from Mitt!
  • Text “OBAMA” to 555888 for text alerts from the President!

Get the Word Out

With such a simple sign-up, the only thing left to do is spread the (key)word! Before anything else, you should integrate your keyword into any existing campaign materials. Here are just a few places to include your call to action:

  • Lawn signs
  • Bumper stickers
  • Flyers and handouts at events
  • Buttons
  • Campaign bus design
  • Campaign website
  • Rallies and events
  • Media appearances

A Little Motivation Goes a Long Way

Tons of supporters will subscribe to your text campaign simply because they support you. But there’s even more who need just a bit of motivation to get interested. Maximize your subscribers by employing one or more of these enticing incentives.

Sweepstakes

A classical marketing strategy, sweepstakes have been used by politicians to generate interest, donations, and valuable contacts.

Text WASHINGTON to 555888 to enter for your chance to win a personal dinner with George!

Anticipated announcements

As Obama did with his announcement of running mate Joe Biden, an anticipated announcement is an excellent incentive. Offer supporters who subscribe the chance to hear it first.

Who will John pick for his veep? Find out first! Text “ADAMS” to 555888 to get an alert the minute of the pick!

Early access

Give subscribers early access to fundraiser tickets, front-row spots at rallies, and other promotional perks.

Want a chance to get tickets to Abraham’s fundraiser before everyone else? Text LINCOLN to 555888 for early access to tickets and other opportunities!

Try Texting for Free

If you’re ready to give text marketing a try, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial account with us.

You’ll get 50 messages plus your own custom keyword.

And yes, it’s really free. No credit card, no contract, just free.

When you’re ready to upgrade to a paid account, just change your billing plan from the dashboard. Simple!

Send your first message in minutes. Try SimpleTexting free for 14 days. No credit card required.

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