Campaign season has arrived and it’s clear that the country is divided on a number of issues. But there is overwhelming consensus on at least one fact - Americans love texting. Social networking apps are cool and exciting, but texting remains the most ubiquitous, relevant and simplest way to reach anyone. For comparison, the average person each day sends over 10 times more texts than Facebook messages and over 20 times more texts than tweets.
When it comes to campaign technology, candidates get “cool points” for using the sexiest apps, but they get elected by effectively communicating with voters. The New York Times recently published an article - Texting Comes of Age as a Political Messenger - exploring just how important text messaging is to this election cycle.
“The killer app for the 2016 presidential campaign is not an app at all. It is not even new. Texting — that 1990s-vintage technology — has suddenly become a go-to vehicle for presidential campaigns when they need to get a message out as widely and quickly as possible, and with confidence that it will be read.”
Here at SendHub we see first hand the power of SMS messages, and their ability to cut through the clutter, and digital noise. It’s the reason thousands of companies have selected our solution to deliver their most important messages and increase their engagement.
It’s no surprise to see text messaging center stage in the world of politics, where every campaign, political party, and individual candidate are competing for the same thing - the voters attention.
What are some lessons businesses can learn from texting in political campaigns?
- Treat Voters Like Customers: Make customer service a priority for your campaign or your company. If voters or customers are given the impression that you are not accessible or slow to respond, your base of support will inevitably suffer.
With limited funds and staff, texting offers an efficient way to manage high volumes of inbound communication. For example, on the campaign website and promotional materials, encourage the public to text in their questions or requests for faster assistance. A text exchange can always transition to a phone conversation if needed, and one staffer can usually communicate with up to 5-10 people at once.
We all have painful stories of being placed on hold for hours listening to elevator “music.” Don’t make voters or customers wait when you have the tools to manage real-time communication.
- Expand Your Reach: Texting makes communicating with large and small groups simple and scalable. The existing alternatives - calling or emailing - are painful and deliver a significantly lower response rate.
Take advantage of these features to make expanding your reach simple:
-Scheduling: Draft messages and schedule it to go out at a specific date and time.
-Grouping: Use the group feature to create various groups you want to communicate with and easily send messages to specific contacts within the group.
-Inbox controls: Get organized and work more efficiently with inbox controls like: Star/Delete/Mark As Read or Unread and take advantage of bulk actions and filters built right into SendHub.
-Enable/disable replies: depending on the type of message your sending, take advantage of the settings to disable or enable responses.
Sending updates to campaign supporters or reminders to volunteers will be much more efficient. Regardless of the audience - whether the target is a senior adult, soccer mom or a high school campaign assistant - your best bet is often a text.
- Enrich Your Messages: While the business sector is beginning to leverage texting more aggressively, it remains largely reserved for communicating with friends and family. As a result, if you are sending voters a text, ensure that it’s meaningful enough to interrupt their day.
Get to the point, because many carriers limit you to 160 characters. If you have more to say , you can enhance the text by embedding a short link to a video or attach a pdf file.
- Effortlessly Build Your Database: Make the most of every opportunity to get voters subscribed to your text list. It’s hard to miss the “Text to Join” promotions in most large retail and restaurant locations across the country, which look like this - “Text Pizza to 66555 to get deals during Super Bowl Weekend!” While you can’t match their massive marketing budget, you can get access to the same technology, at a fraction of the cost.
Text to Join is a low-touch way for your campaign or business to capture contact details and a low effort call to action to include during a public event or on promotional material.
- Spamming sucks, so don’t do it: The cell phone list you build can be leveraged throughout the campaign season and possibly into the future. Think about it, when is the last time you changed your cell phone number? In 2015, what’s one of the things most people - especially voters under 40 - never leave home without? Don’t upset voters by abusing their goodwill with too many texts. Similar to the business sector, the best type of voters and customers are repeats and referrals, so always insist on maintaining the highest standards in texting etiquette.