Political SMS Marketing

Creating Your First SMS Political Campaign with Tatango

You’ve worked your way up the ladder in political campaigns. You started as a volunteer, moved on to paid positions within campaigns, and in your last two stints, you were assistant campaign manager. As the elections approach, you’ve been hired as the campaign manager. At the top of your list is something you’ve never directly been involved in, SMS political text messaging. Tatango is here to help you succeed.

Benefits of SMS Messaging

We’ve covered the benefits of SMS political text messaging before, but they bear revisiting, especially as you talk to the candidate and the campaign team. Everyone should be well versed in what you are doing and why you chose Tatango as your SMS partner. So, let’s review two significant benefits that make text message marketing your best political fundraising channel.

SMS Text Messaging Is Pervasive

At the close of the 2020 elections, a whopping 78% of consumers said text messaging was the fastest way to reach them. Even more incredible, that number was up from 19% in a survey done just before the 2016 elections.

Text Messages Gets Read

No other communication vehicle boasts the 99% open rate of text messaging, nor the immediacy of text messaging—90% of those messages are read within three minutes. In contrast, the open rate for email is about 20%. As for social media, fickle algorithms and distraction by other messages mean only about 2% of your audience sees the message. 

Tatango Offers the Best SMS Messaging Speed

Whether it’s debate performance, an appearance by the candidate, or a news event that pertains to your election, the ability to react is crucial. Successfully getting your message out or sending a fundraising text hinges on how quickly you can reach voters when their enthusiasm is high. Because Tatango has been in the business for so long, our technology is among the best. No other text messaging partner can match our sending times, up to six million messages per hour.

Tatango Can Help You Stay TCPA Compliant

Text messaging is governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) through the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) because a text message is, in essence, a phone call. You must stay within the limits of the law when sending text messages. Tatango has the expertise to help ensure your campaign follows the law.

Your To-Do List for SMS Political Text Messaging

As you assemble your SMS text messaging strategy, there are some important things to consider.

Creating Your First SMS Political Campaign with Tatango

Choose a Political SMS Platform

At Tatango, we’ve been doing SMS political text messaging for over 14 years, almost as long as the technology has existed. We saw the fundraising potential for the text message in political campaigns early on. We can help you craft the right campaign, addressing issues such as content, frequency, and legal questions. We have sent more than 10 billion messages to more than 50 million voters.

Select a Short Code and Keywords

Person-to-person (P2P) text messaging is accomplished with a conventional ten-digit phone number known as a long code. A short code is a five- or six-digit number commonly used in app-to-person (A2P) text messaging. Short codes are easier to remember and are often promoted on podium signs, billboards, TV commercials, and other pieces of campaign literature.

Short codes are leased from the U.S. Short Code Administration. Leasing a randomly assigned code costs $500 a month. Leasing a vanity short code (that is, one specifically selected by the organization) costs $1,000. The telecom carriers only allow short codes to deliver marketing messages, including political campaigns. The technology is also set up to deliver short code messages at a much, much quicker rate than 10-digit long codes.

Keywords allow recipients to interact with your campaign in a specific way.

For example, a recipient can use the keyword JOIN, or some version of it to opt in as a subscriber to your campaign. That would initiate follow-up emails asking for additional information useful for list segmentation.

Create an Opt-In Incentive

Consumers are more likely to engage in mobile advertising if it includes an offer. Promise them exclusive photos from the campaign trail and campaign news before anyone else hears it. For example, “Receive a signed photo from your candidate. Text VOTE to 12345 to sign up for mobile alerts.” The goal is to make people feel like insiders so they sign up for your texts.

Grow Your Subscriber List

To stay compliant with the TCPA, you must ensure your subscribers have opted in to receive text messages from you. Opt-in can be obtained by asking people to respond to a text message with a YES or some other keyword. Legally, you only need a single opt-in. Keeping a record of the opt-in satisfies the TCPA requirement for proof, should you ever need it.

At Tatango, we suggest a double opt-in in which a voter’s first opt-in triggers a second text message that asks them to opt in again in a different manner. It serves as a double record and is more likely to prevent people from being opted-in as a hoax or prank by someone else.

Begin Fundraising

SMS political text messaging has helped increase small-dollar donations ($200 and under) for political campaigns. What used to take a check, an envelope, a postage stamp, and a trip to the mailbox can now be made in seconds with just a few taps on a cell phone screen. 

Of the text messages sent by the two major presidential candidates in 2020, 45.71% were direct requests for donations. The campaigns received more than a third of their fundraising in small-dollar donations. The majority of that money came from fundraising through SMS political text messaging. Candidates in races for both the House of Representatives and the Senate also raised substantial money in small-dollar donations.

Get out the Vote (GOTV)

According to TechforCampaigns.com, recipients of a political text message during the 2018 midterms were 1% more likely to vote. TechforCampaigns.com notes: “While 1% may not seem like a lot, competitive races, especially state legislative races, are decided by just tens or hundreds of votes. In one state alone, the difference between texted and untexted voters… would have been enough to win five of the seven races Democrats lost in 2018.”

Creating Your First SMS Political Campaign with Tatango

Increase ROI With Tatango Design Studio

Things can get hectic on the campaign trail. Late nights, early mornings, long days traveling in a bumpy campaign bus. Hardly the best environment for your graphic artist to quickly create visuals for your SMS political text messaging (provided you even have the budget for a graphics designer). 

The Tatango Design Studio can provide graphics—stills, illustrations, and videos—usually within 24 hours and at no extra charge. Graphics in your messages can make a world of difference. 

Segment and Personalize Your Political Text Messages

Segment your messages with Tatango. Sort by zip code to raise awareness of a candidate’s appearance in a city or spread the word of your candidate’s stance on a regional issue. Segmenting allows you to send a message to just the subscribers in that region.

Personalize your messages using merge tags to insert a subscriber’s name and the city where they live or to customize the message according to their donation history.

Creating Your First SMS Political Campaign with Tatango

Begin Political Text Messaging Today

It’s impossible to cover everything you need to know about text messaging in a single blog post. You’re limited only by your imagination and the technology—and that technology, like your imagination, expands daily. The best thing you can do is partner with a trustworthy source of information. 

Tatango has a track record as a reliable source of information. Our Customer Success Team will walk with you every step of the way. Count on Tatango for help onboard your campaign, launch your first SMS political text messaging campaign, grow your list, and raise record-breaking donations.

Check out our website regularly for blogs, e-books and videos on every aspect of SMS political text messaging.

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