As online platforms continue to make life difficult for political marketers, smart campaigns are increasingly relying on permission-based owned audiences, like email lists, text messaging, and websites to reach voters. With open rates as high as 95% and no algorithmic filtering (like with email), text messaging is a valuable channel.
While many campaigns are taking advantage of peer to peer (P2P) texting, broadcast text messaging (sometimes called application to peer or A2P) is cheaper and faster. The most important distinction between the two types of texting is that broadcast text messaging requires explicit permission from a supporter in order to receive texts from your campaign.
Permission marketing, explains Seth Godin (who coined the phrase) is especially powerful because you can deliver “anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” Sure it’s harder work to earn permission in the short term, but the benefits take care of themselves in the form of better engagement, more conversions, and lower costs.
Here are four proven ways to increase the number of supporters opted in:
Incentivize Opt-Ins with Exclusive Information
Encourage your supporters to sign up for text messages by offering information exclusively to your SMS list first. In 2008, the Obama campaign drove opt-ins by promising to announce the VP pick by text message and 2.9 million supporters signed up.
While your campaign won’t have such highly anticipated news to share, you can preview new ads, campaign tours, endorsements, and even poll numbers to supporters first on text messaging.
Cross Promote Text Messaging on Other Marketing Channels
Getting a supporter to opt-in to receive text messages earns you a direct connection to their mobile phone making it a more valuable channel than social media, email, and website traffic. Driving a text messaging call to action on your other marketing platforms is essential to growing your SMS list.
Data collected by Tatango shows that promoting broadcast texting in marketing emails can yield opt-in rates as high as 10.5%. Similar promotion on social media resulted in a 2.9% opt-in rate.
Here’s how the Trump campaign includes its text messaging opt-in call-to-action in all of their social media:
Use P2P Texting to Drive Opt-Ins
P2P texting is a versatile tool that can be used for many calls to action, including opting in to receive additional text messages. Not only are you building your relationship with the supporter by getting permission, you’ll save money and reach them more quickly.
On average, a P2P text costs $0.11 each to send compared to just $0.0075 for a broadcast text message to an opted-in subscriber. Similarly, P2P texts are delivered at a rate of about 15 per minute, but broadcast text messages top out at 120,000 per minute.
Both are essential tactics, but must be used in tandem.
Live Candidate Call Outs
Your campaign’s most powerful messenger is the candidate. Getting him or her in the habit of making the text messaging opt-in call to action whenever speaking to a group – online or off – is how campaigns master texting.
It takes practice and lots of prompting, but the best way to convince a candidate it’s worth it is to report regularly on the growth of opt-ins after they mention your keyword and short code. Just don’t make Joe Biden’s mistake:
As with any permission-based, owned audience, there’s a lot of work that goes into building your opted-in text messaging list, but the payoff is worth it in the long-run. You’ll reach supporters directly in an instant at an incredibly low cost.
This article was written in partnership with Tatango, a leading provider of text messaging services for political campaigns. Click here to visit their site and learn more.