During the 2020 election cycle, even before campaigns became primarily virtual due to the pandemic, text messaging was a critical channel for reaching voters in races up and down the ballot. SMS combines the dynamic, personalized messaging of online platforms with the reliable, unfiltered delivery of analog voter contact methods like phone calls and direct mail.
Email, social media, and online advertising are essential channels for campaigns – there’s no arguing that – but algorithmic filtering and pricing make it hard to guarantee that you’re reaching all of your targets. Additionally, big tech companies continue to make it more difficult for campaigns to take advantage of all the features available to other online marketers. These factors contribute to the importance of SMS marketing.
In this post, you’ll learn why your campaign needs to be taking advantage of text messaging ahead of election day.
Get the complete guide to text messaging for campaigns.
1. Text messaging is unmatched in open and click through rates
Your supporters are more likely to open and engage with a text message than other digital channels. According to the research firm Gartner, “SMS open and response rates as high as 98% and 45%, respectively — in contrast to corresponding figures of 20% and 6% for email.
Critically, for political marketers, supporters respond quickly. Tatango, a leading provider of text messaging services to campaigns, sampled 2 million texts and found that 54% of total clicks occurred within 5 minutes, 81% in 45, and 95% within two hours.
2. There’s no better channel for live conversions
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.
It’s the easiest and quickest way to translate attention into action.
3. Text messaging is a versatile marketing channel
Donate. Attend an event. Volunteer. Go Vote. Text messaging is a versatile digital marketing channel, but you always have to “make the ask” with a clear call to action.
4. It’s the easiest content creation of any marketing channel
Writing an effective marketing text message requires an understanding of the platform and how supporters interact with text messages generally. The copywriting tactics for text messaging are similar to email, but with a lot less screen real estate. They should be brief, personalized, urgent, and have a clear call to action.
5. You earn supporters’ permission (and get more conversions)
Perhaps the most important benefit of broadcast text messaging over P2P is the opt-in you receive from a supporter. As online platforms continue to experiment with their policies for political marketers, smart campaigns are increasingly relying on permission-based owned audiences, like email lists, text messaging, and websites to reach voters directly.
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 that investment pays dividends in the forms of better engagement, more conversions, and lower costs.
Click here to download our guide, SMS Marketing for Campaigns, to learn everything you need to know about getting your text messaging program set up, how to write the perfect text, and reach your campaign’s goals.