The 2020 election proved that in narrow races, every vote counts. Political candidates and organizations need the best, most effective way to reach supporters in the digital era, and text message marketing delivers. With 99% open rates, the ability to communicate with constituents in real-time, and the technology to raise donations with each and every message, there is NO better marketing channel for political groups and organizations than text message marketing.
However, a text message marketing campaign is only as strong as its subscribers. If you’re wondering where to get those subscribers, how to get them to opt in to your SMS marketing campaigns, and what the regulations are around growing your political text messaging list, keep reading.
Create a Compelling Opt-In Incentive
Political organizations can choose from many opt-in methods to grow their phone number database. The most effective strategy is choosing an opt-in incentive—something that subscribers get when they sign up for your list. Research shows that 58% of consumers are more likely to engage in mobile advertising if it includes an offer, deal, or coupon. While you might not be able to offer a coupon the same way a retailer would, you can still offer incentives that make people want to join your list. For example:
- Be the first to know about important campaign updates. Text VOTE to 12345 to sign up for mobile alerts.
- See exclusive photos from the campaign trail. Text VOTE to 12345 to sign up for mobile alerts.
- Receive a signed photo from your candidate. Text VOTE to 12345 to sign up for mobile alerts.
What do all of these opt-in incentives have in common?
They have an element of exclusivity.
You want your subscribers to feel like they are part of your inner circle by signing up for your SMS marketing list. (Because they are!) Use language like exclusive, be the first to know, or behind-the-scenes to pique reader curiosity.
They start with the opt-in incentive.
You only have a few seconds to capture reader attention. Start with the compelling offer (what subscribers GET) instead of the technical details (what subscribers DO), such as texting in.
They are clear and direct.
You want to promote your opt-in incentive everywhere. (More on that next.) So don’t use unnecessary words, or you might run out of space on your materials. Keep your opt-in promotions short, simple, and to the point. Tell readers exactly what to text (your keyword) and where (your short code) and leave the rest of your commentary for your text messages!
Promote Your SMS Campaign On Your Campaign Materials
Now let’s get into how to spread the word about your campaign. Part one is creating an opt-in incentive that hooks attention. Part two is ensuring your constituents see it everywhere. No one can sign up for your list if they don’t know about it. As such, promote your campaigns on all of your campaign materials, including…
- Podiums at campaign events
- Campaign advertisements
- Signs at meet-ups
- Political flyers
And so on. The more places, the better. Make your SMS opt-in as much a part of your promotions as your campaign slogan or website.
Invite Supporters on Donations Pages
There is one more place you should put your opt-in incentive besides your campaign materials. Invite your constituents to sign up for your mobile alerts program when they donate to your campaign. This is an essential, underrated strategy to grow your subscriber lists and increase the likelihood of future donations. If someone likes your campaign enough to donate to it, there is no better time to invite them to be a part of your subscriber list. You can add a simple checkbox to grow your list, connect you with your most passionate supporters, and support your political fundraising.
Ensure Compliance With Your Political Campaigns
Word to the wise: as you grow your SMS marketing subscriber list, make sure you take into account the guidelines of industry organizations like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).
Mass text message marketing is strictly a subscriber-only tool. It’s against FCC regulations (including a law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or TCPA) to send text messages to users who haven’t opted in to your campaigns. If your organization uses text message marketing, you must get subscriber consent before sending text messages to their mobile devices. By giving consent, cell phone users clarify that they wish to receive text messages from your political campaign or organization.
And really: it’s the only way you would WANT to send text messages. People who want to hear from you are more likely to engage, donate, and spread the word about your mission. Watch the video or read our related post about whether it’s legal to send political text messages to learn the specifics of compliance for political groups and organizations.
Begin Growing Your Political SMS Lists Today
Now it’s your turn! Start implementing the strategies we’ve shared in this post to build your SMS subscriber list and rapidly gain more supporters. At Tatango, we have 13 years of experiencing helping political campaigns and advocacy groups raise donations and win elections. We’ve made it our mission to provide the best software for political text messaging and the guidance our clients need to succeed. Contact us today.