SMS marketing is a powerful tool allowing politicians and advocacy groups to communicate specific political messages. It has one of the highest open rates and conversions compared to other platforms, making it an easy marketing choice to gain more volunteers, increase donations, and drive action for political campaigns.
In 2012, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced that political parties could collect campaign contributions using political text message marketing. Since then, political SMS text messaging radically changed the way political campaigns raise funds. We have seen each political party using SMS messaging to gain even more donations.
In this blog post, we look at how one side of the political spectrum—Democrats—can use SMS marketing for Democratic fundraising. In future posts, we will take a closer look at how Republicans, political action committees (PACs), and other advocacy groups can also use political fundraising to create change.
Why Do Political Campaigns Fundraise?
Political fundraising is one of the keys to a successful campaign. Before SMS marketing, campaigners relied on the telephone, direct mail, television advertisements, email marketing, and social media to raise awareness and donations. However, a new channel has taken politics by storm, offering a more secure, reliable, and effective way to raise donations and win elections.
On average, SMS messages have a 99% open rate. Compare that to email, with only a 20 percent open rate, and you can see why political groups and candidates are leaning into SMS marketing for their political fundraising efforts.
How to Use Tect Message Marketing for Democratic SMS Fundraising
Democrats use SMS marketing and MMS marketing to help their campaigns thrive. By texting supporters about upcoming fundraising deadlines or how donations can move the needle, campaigns can increase donations. In fact, for every dollar invested in building and operating a political text marketing program with Tatango, campaigns net $5 in donations on average.
SMS marketing is one of the most effective ways for Democrats to get volunteers, distribute information and, more importantly, fundraise. Below are some important steps that Democrats can take to use SMS to amplify their messaging and campaigning efforts.
Integrate with a Democratic Fundraising Tool
ActBlue is one of the top democratic fundraising tools and Tatango integrates with ActBlue seamlessly. Political groups use Tatango to send a text message encouraging their subscribers to donate. Then, when subscribers feel moved to donate to a campaign, they click on a link in the political text message that seamlessly allows them to donate through ActBlue. Those who make donations experience the process as seamless and completely unified through the Tatango and ActBlue integration. ActBlue has a powerful mobile application, single-click payment system, and branding opportunities for specific campaigns.
Grow a High-Quality SMS Subscriber List
Building and growing a high-quality subscriber list is one of the most important things a Democratic political campaign should focus on. A subscriber list is a core function of sending bulk SMS messages. The quality and size of a campaign’s subscriber list is directly tied to the amount and quality of donations, voter outreach engagement, and a text program’s success.
To grow your subscriber list, choose a short keyword, and easy-to-text short code, and a compelling incentive to encourage people to sign up. Then, promote those three things everywhere—on billboards, podiums, flyers, campaign buses, and all of your campaign materials.
Create Engaging Messaging
Once you have subscribers, it’s time to send text messages! To get the most out of political messaging, we recommend building your text messages with four key elements in mind.
A Clear and Compelling Message
Text messaging is a brief, direct medium. Get straight to the point: communicate who you are, your reason for sending the message, and the action you need your supporters to take.
When crafting text messages, consider your supporters; they will most likely only take a few seconds to open and read your messages. The messaging should contain the language and issues that your supporters care about most. Continue reviewing your campaign’s analytics to determine which call-to-actions, images, lengths, and intros lead to the most engagement.
A Clickable Link to Your Donation Page
Your supporters WANT to help support and donate to your campaign. But they aren’t likely to look up a link to do so—you have to provide it to them. Make it as easy as possibly for your most loyal constituents to donate. A clickable link helps supporters quickly access a donation page and donate. Tatango automatically shortens your links, so they take up less space and look cleaner.
A Powerful Call to Action
Including a deadline or expiration date can create a sense of urgency and can ultimately increase donations. Since elections are time sensitive, you must convey a sense of urgency to compel your supporters to act as soon as they receive your message.
Tatango’s merge tags feature helps to further personalize the message you are sending. One of the most effective merge tags is the “first name.” The more your campaign can humanize your messaging, the more your supporters feel like they have a personal connection to their political candidate. With Tatango, you can include merge tags with every message.
Segment Your List for Greater Impact
Fundraising becomes even more powerful when campaigners segment their audience by location, interest, donation amount, or actions. Tatango makes it easy for candidates and campaigns to segment their audience by these critical factors. Using the information you’ve collected from subscribers now becomes your competitive edge, fueling your campaign and helping you gain even more donations from your supporters.
Use MMS for Greater Engagement
MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. MMS text messages can contain up to 5,000 characters and a picture, video, or GIF, whereas standard SMS text messages include only 160 characters and links.
People respond especially well to multimedia, so by including videos and images, you can increase donations. Unique to MMS messaging, the 5,000-character feature allows organizations to clearly and accurately get their message across. This is especially when you want to describe complex policy positions or dive deeper on a hot-button topic. MMS messages are a great way to set new political fundraising records, increase voter turnout in a tight race, and inspire your constituents to take action for your campaign.
Send Timely Updates About Deadlines
What’s great about SMS text messaging is that you can send messages to interested parties in a timely fashion. For example, whereas emails may sit unread for hours (or days) in an inbox, 90 percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes. Since political campaigns have strict deadlines and time is of the essence in tight races, it’s important to send these messages to subscribers as quickly as possible.
Campaign events can be a great way to gain donations at a specific time. Sending SMS text messages after important campaign events can help remind people about donation requests or surveys. Because 75 percent of consumers prefer text messages for promotions, deliveries, and surveys, you’re more likely to get a response or conversion.
Get Started with Democratic Fundraising Today
The sooner you sign up and implement SMS text message marketing fundraising messages, the sooner you can increase your donations and create a strong lead against the competition. Tatango is the industry leader for political text messaging—contact us to get started today.