‹ Back to Industry Guides

SMS Marketing for Political Campaigns

Published on June 15, 2016

Introduction

A guide to text messaging for political campaigns.

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 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.

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 supporters 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 text messages for your campaign? Here are just a few common uses.

Voting day reminders

  • Send supporters a friendly text on election day reminding them to vote. You can even include a link with voting locations!
  • Give supporters notice of early and absentee voting deadlines

Event alerts

  • Invite your supporters to rallies, town hall meetings, and other campaign events
  • Alert them about important media appearances they won’t want to miss

Important announcements

  • Like Obama’s historic text message, making anticipated announcements via text is a great way to actively involve supporters

Organize volunteers

  • Text messaging makes grassroots organizing a snap. Organize rallies and recruit volunteers all with a simple text

Take a stance

  • Stay ahead of the media curve. Communicate with the public on emerging issues instantly and let your supporters know where you stand

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 votes

Getting Supporters Signed Up

Simple Texting

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: Simply text it!

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 ROMNEY to 555888 to enter for your chance to win a personal dinner with Mitt!

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 Mitt pick for his veep? Find out first! Text “ROMNEY” 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 Mitt’s fundraiser before everyone else? Text ROMNEY 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!


Recent Guides

Get Started Free!

No Credit Card, No Obligations, No Setup Fee